A Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Eva Kaili has been writing about the benefits of the blockchain in a blog post hosted by Ripple. The Greek politician first attended a blockchain conference in 2014 and came away with the aim of getting more people to understand the benefits this new technology could offer.
She told an interviewer that the conference attendees treated her with suspicion, because of being a politician, and that they didn’t want her at the conference. But it made her more determined to understand the blockchain: “I believed that if we were not positive, the resistance of the traditional players would only increase and could even kill a technology that had so much potential for good.”
In 2019, she got a different reception at the Ripple Regionals event in London: bankers, financial service managers and fintech entrepreneurs wanted to know what Kaili had to say, because they know that there is growing mainstream adoption of the technology and the EU is taking a positive approach to regulation.
Central banks have too much control
One of Kaili’s concerns is the amount of control central banks have over people’s deposits. As a Greek, this became all too apparent to her during the Greek debt crisis.
She believes that blockchain technology will permeate all sectors of life: “[b]y its nature, blockchain technology doesn’t recognize borders, […] It’s unstoppable,” she said. She also urged people at the conference to get to grips with the blockchain, because if they don’t they will face disruption in their industries.
Kaili is also passionate about the benefits to citizens that blockchain-based systems could bring to cross-border payments, pointing out, “If there are benefits for European citizens, there are no banks that can stop us from using [blockchain].” She also remarked on the expense attached to using the traditional banks for cross-border payments and gave a personal story to illustrate the problem: “Recently, I had to send €2,000 to my mother in Greece from my account in Brussels,” she recalls. “She needed the money that day and I couldn’t use the bank because it would take three working days. If I could send it to her using RippleNet, she would immediately receive the payment.”
Kaili is a prominent figure in the European Parliament when it comes to blockchain initiatives and regulations. In December 2017, Kaili argued at the European Parliament for a policy in which cryptocurrencies will increase decentralisation and make intermediaries less relevant. And in May 2018 she proposed a European Parliament Resolution that calls on the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) to look into the sources of crypto-volatility, identify dangers and consider the possibility of incorporating cryptocurrencies into the European payment system.