Regulators usually think of new technologies as headaches, as they try to adapt old legal systems to new realities. Blockchain technology and the Bitcoin digital currency that introduced it have definitely been in that category. But regtech (regulatory technology) entrepreneurs turn this assumption on its head by using blockchain as the basis for new compliance software, assisting companies in complying with their regulatory obligations. In other words they may have changed blockchain from the regulators' headache to the regulators' solution.
Blockchain contracts may someday take over the business world (hopefully a few years off for the sake of lawyers like me) but in the near term blockchain will likely become an irreplaceable tool for your compliance team. Tech startups like Gecko Governance and Cambridge Blockchain are using blockchain to assist companies with AML, data protection and other compliance obligations, typically with a focus on financial institutions. The appeal of blockchain is the ability to verify that information is authentic and correct, for anything from the details and authorisations on a financial transaction to an individual's identity or personal data.
As new regulations like the 4th Money Laundering Directive and GDPR are implemented across the EU, don't be surprised when the best software solutions for these new compliance obligations come from regtech entrepreneurs using blockchain.
As the prevalence of regtech increases, so too does the importance of entrepreneurs and developers taking advantage of the technology.