INATBA aims at developing a global framework for blockchain technology – a step in the right direction. Blockchain businesses need stronger lobbying and more cross-industry collaboration

INATBA – The International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications – was launched last week in a ceremony in Brussels. More than 100 members have signed the charter, including IBM, Accenture, and Deutsche Telekom.

Among the prominent blockchain-related members are Iota, Ripple, ConsenSys, and the Sovrin Foundation. Liechtenstein’s most prominent member is Bank Frick, which is listed as one of the founding organizations.

The goal of the association is to bring together startups, established businesses, and regulatory bodies to lead blockchain technology into the mainstream.

The official announcement reads, “INATBA aims to develop a framework that promotes public and private sector collaboration, regulatory convergence, legal predictability and ensures the system’s integrity and transparency.”

Blockchain businesses need stronger lobbyist groups

Stronger unity among blockchain businesses will help when pushing for blockchain-friendly regulations. Switzerland’s blockchain industry, for example, has greatly benefited from the Crypto Valley Association, which continues to lobby the Swiss government for favorable regulatory changes.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse says about Ripple’s founding membership in INATBA, “It’s critical that as an industry we come together and engage with regulators and with governments globally. The work we’re seeing with the European Commission is pivotal and can be leading in this effort.”

Likewise, Julie Maupin from Iota, says, “Developing a regulatory framework around distributed ledger and blockchain technologies is essential to their widespread adoption and growth. We have established our own Public Regulatory Affairs team to lead this effort.”

Clearly, a key focus of the work of INATBA will be to influence lawmakers regarding the introduction of industry-friendly regulations. And indeed, the European Commission seems to be open for the technology.

During the Brussels ceremony, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel noted, “In today’s economy, there is less and less time to build trust in the way it happened in the past. To fight cancer, to balance renewable energy, to trace the authenticity of goods, actors must be able to trust one another without meeting face-to-face. And how can we achieve this? Of course, with the help of blockchain.” 

Enhanced collaboration will enable cross-industry blockchain solutions

Although regulations and lobbying are a focus of INATBA, the formation of industry associations also matters for other reasons.

A core aspect of blockchain technology is to establish a network that organizes information across a large number of entities which are not always interconnected.

Take for example a blockchain startup that aspires to create blockchain-based health records. Such an undertaking would involve a wide range of health care providers, hospitals, health organizations, government bodies, and potentially even insurance companies.

Thus, many blockchain projects will require exchange and cooperation of multiple stakeholders in different industries. Associations and industry clusters can help in fostering these cooperations.

Industry associations will also shift more power to blockchain companies. That’s particularly important for a blockchain industry that takes on the current economic and political power structure. Businesses that aim at disrupting a sector as powerful as the financial industry better have some allies.

The formation of INATBA and the profiles of its members demonstrate how big the blockchain industry has already become and how many powerful interests are involved. INATBA is one step more into the direction of mainstream adoption. But creating the organization is just the very first step. Now it will have to prove its worth.

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