Blockchain and electronic distributed ledger technologies - ISO new field of technical activity

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Standards New Zealand is seeking feedback on a proposal for a new field of technical activity on blockchain and electronic distributed ledger technologies. Standards Australia has proposed this activity. 

The scope of the proposal is the following: 

Blockchain and electronic distributed ledger technologies are an emerging peer-to-peer data base tool for managing and recording transactions. The technology behind blockchains is open source. This new disruptive technology offers the prospect for sharing financial, legal, physical, and electronic information more readily across multiple sites (nationally and internationally) and from government to business or business to business.

Blockchain has the potential to support efficient and secure transactions and reduce process management issues across a range of economic sectors including:

  • government
  • consumer products and services
  • health
  • minerals and precious stones
  • financial services
  • real estate
  • business 

The proposed work will focus on technical solutions including protocols and interoperability. There are currently a number of different blockchain protocols in use. The technical committee will consider key protocol differentiating elements including permission models (private and public), smart contracts (contracts whose terms are recorded in computer language rather than legal language), application programming interface, and other elements.

The proposed work is to:

  • define this standard
  • create the mechanism to be a gateway to multiple blockchains
  • create the governance framework
  • have interoperability and compatibility with existing financial standards
  • provide legal and regulatory compliance to each transaction across blockchains
  • work towards a regulatory framework that provides a mix of legal and technical rules

The following are intended to be excluded from the scope of this committee: 

The work will exclude legal obligations and regulatory matters addressed by government jurisdictions. 

Standards New Zealand is consulting with stakeholders in this area to determine New Zealand's response. There is more information on our International Engagement page. To submit comments including support for, or opposition to, the proposal, please email isoadmin@standards.co.nz. Comments received will be used to form a New Zealand position on this proposal. Please provide your comments by Friday, 1 July 2016.

Published in international.