Eva Kaili, the youngest elected member of the Greek Parliament, now serving as a member of the European Parliament, gave the opening speech today in a session examining blockchain technology at the EU Parliament.
Kaili said she was introduced to blockchain technology in 2015 when the then Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, started talking about hacking every citizen’s account and transferring euros to bitcoin – triggering a discussion on what bitcoin might mean.
So I questioned Mario Draghi, the current President of the European Central Bank, she said, who told her that bitcoin is not a currency, but he was following it, monitoring bitcoin developments.
Well, the European Court of Justice had a ruling which said bitcoin is a currency and is tax exempt, Kaili said. In 2008, “when the crisis started in EU and especially in Greece, people lost trust in banks and politicians, we couldn’t protect them, we transferred the cost to taxpayers.” Kaili continued.
However, “young people discovered this technology that made it unnecessary to have banks, politicians, intermediaries,” the member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, told the European Parliament.
This is all still in process, she said. Even developers do not know its true potential, but it’s a way to regain trust, without a central authority, decentralizing everything, not just transactions, but also contracts, voting, even exchange of energy, she stated.
Blockchain is not just bitcoin and bitcoin is not just blockchain. We need to protect citizens because if we help them trust this technology they start using it, Kaili told the parliament, further mentioning we could have a bankless society in a few years.
Mentioning some use cases, she used identification online as an example. Blockchain can make it easier to have strong ID and verification, she said. Your data can’t be altered because if it’s altered the whole community is watching.
She concluded by saying that blockchain technology could be something maybe even bigger than the internet. The EU Parliament will protect the technology, she said, not stop it, because it’s unstoppable.
In potentially the most radical statement of any parliamentarian across the world as far as this space is concerned, Kaili urged her colleagues to “give control back to the citizens,” because, she says, “maybe this way we can re-gain some trust.”
Her remarks were followed by a German member of parliament who was more focused on the practical application of blockchain’s invention. Giving us a high level view of this technology. The passion or vision, on one hand, and the more complex zooming into details to figure out how we get there.
No one quite knows, but such supportive statements at the very highest levels suggest everyone sees the benefits and now are willing to encourage the millennial generation in their millennials long quest to improve our wealth, productivity, and the wider world.