Following the trend of regulators across the globe, the United Nations Office for Project Services’ (“UNOPS”) issued a request for information regarding the application of blockchain technologies on April 24, 2017.  The UNOPS has formed a blockchain group within the United Nations to analyze the possible applicability of blockchain technologies to the international assistance area.  The Request for Information explains that the UNOPS seeks “information widely from the industry of blockchain space and to identify potential partners / suppliers for the future work in the area of international, humanitarian, development or peacekeeping assistance.”

The document requests information regarding, among other things, the use of blockchain technologies to facilitate payments in multiple currencies, monitor and control the movement of goods and products across geographically dispersed and fragile security areas, and provide identity to those who do not have identity management tools through another means.

The Financial Conduct Authority, European Commission, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have issued similar requests for comments regarding the use of blockchain technologies in their respective jurisdictions.  The Request for Information issued by the UNOPS demonstrates that regulators are working hard this year to understand blockchain technologies to be better situated to utilize and regulate them.

If you or your company is interested in helping craft the direction of blockchain and digital currency, now is the time to engage with regulators and those seeking information. 2017 is shaping up to be the year for education, before we begin full implementations.  If you wish to submit comments to the UNOPS, you may do so by emailing them to RFI@un-blockchain.org. Comments must be submitted by May 14, 2017.

The Request for Information is available here.

Reed Smith has posted numerous articles on distributed ledger technology. They can be found below.

Consultation Document Published on FinTech by European Commission

ESMA Publishes Report on Distributed Ledger Technology

FINRA Issues Report on Distributed Ledger Technology

Regulators Prepare for Innovation in Distributed Ledger Technology