June 2018 will see major changes for cryptocurrency, as the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation law (GDPR) will be applied to every company across the continent. It will work as a guideline on how they should be handling client data. Out of 9 rules, 1 collides head on with blockchain technologies and the 1,384 cryptocurrencies currently on the market, as it goes to state, “Users should be having the rights of updating or deleting their data in the blockchain.”
While the GDPR does provide customers with protection from corporations, data theft and abuse, its right to be forgotten can mean the swift end of cryptocurrencies in the EU. The right to be forgotten means that every user has to have the right to permanently delete their data from any company’s system. Blockchain technology doesn’t give this option, in fact it’s immutability is one of its most important and sought after factors.
That said, any company currently using a distributed ledger to store data will need to find new means of storing data. Companies that fail to comply with the GDPR law will be fined 4% of their annual global turnover or up to €20 million.
Prominent figures in the cryptocurrency community have spoken out against the EU’s GDPR law. In reference to the matter John Mathew, the Chief Financial Officer with Bitnation said that GDPR was outdated. He further stated, “GDPR was present under the speculation that one would have a centralized service which controls the authority of the client’s data – with exception of a public blockchain”.
Jutta Steiner, the former head of security at Ethereum Foundation went to say, “From a practitioner’s perspective, it sounds to me that it was drafted by trying to implement a certain perspective of how the world should be without taking into account how technology actually works. The way [public decentralized network] architecture works, means there is no such thing as the deletion of personal data. The issue with information is once it’s out, it’s out.”
She further went to express that the GDPR needs to take a second look at things. “I can’t see the regulators being so stubborn as to not adjust the regulation. … They’ll just see the other countries will use the technology and Europe is at a disadvantage.”