Blockchain in Bangladesh: Policy Roadmap for Innovation and Adaptation

May 31, 2020

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Dhaka University Central Students Union Law and Politics Review (DUCSU LPR) organised a webinar titled 'Blockchain in Bangladesh: Policy Roadmap for Innovation and Adaptation' on May 31, 2020. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, the Honorable State Minister for ICT Division, Ministry of Post, Telecommunication & Information Technology of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh was present as the Chair of the webinar. Barrister Morshed Mannan, PhD Researcher and Lecturer in the Department of Company Law at Leiden University in Netherlands and Mr. Sami Ahmed, Policy Advisor, LICT Project, Bangladesh Computer Council, ICT Division were also present as the panelists. Saddam Hussein, Assistant General Secretary, DUCSU and Arif Ibne Ali, Science and Technology Secretary, DUCSU also graced the event with their presence.

In the webinar, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, gave the audience a presentation on the inception of block chain, how it functions and its model for the Bangladesh economy. He cited the four digital pillars on which Bangladesh developed itself over the last 11 years as “Human Resource Development, easy internet accessibility for all, vital governments services delivered electronically and lastly utilizing ICT for generating economic revenue”. He further said that, “Bangladesh youth population pyramid in terms of human resource development can be divided into three parts; the smallest portion yet the ones with a major positive impact on the economy is known as innovators such as founders of Pathao, Shohoz etc, the second portion are the achievers who represents the fresh graduates entering job sector and the third portion with the highest numbers represents the aspirers who represents the SSC / HSC graduate students who necessarily do not pursue a higher education at home or abroad other than the ones seeking a specialized profession. There have also been major digital steps taken by the government to promote digitalization, innovation and entrepreneurship among the youth such as the Sheikh Russell Digital Labs, Sheikh Hasina Institute of Frontier Technologies (SHIFT) etc.” He credited Sajeeb Wazed, ICT advisor to the Prime Minister as the architect of implementing global vision of Digital Bangladesh and because of his guidance Bangladesh has been able to come so far in the journey of pursuing block chain mechanisms in our country.

Mr. Sami Ahmed discussed the basics of block chain and its various aspects. He mentioned how it came in 2008 in the form of bit coins and its close association with TCPIT technology. He also emphasized on how highly secured block chain is because of its multi node system. He said, “Block chain model of modern countries is not compatible with the culture and infrastructure of our country so we had to build the model from the ground up. The ICT division took up many initiatives and just last year we collaborated with IBM at the center of excellence where we developed several block chain applications with the support of global experts.”

Barrister Morshed Mannan touched on multitude of legal aspects of block chain method by simultaneously drawing parallel and comparisons between existing legal apparatuses of different countries. He shed some light on the usage and dissemination of crypto currency and the complications associated with it being a form of intangible property and he also referred to a very recent related case in India regarding this. He also further highlighted on imposition of sanctions by Russia and China and what implications those sanctions have on the future block chain economy. Barrister Mannan discussed the need for amending Bangladesh's Registration Act, 1908 and Transfer of Property Act, 1882 to accommodate blockchain-based land registers as well as the need to amend the Companies Act, 1994 to introduce blockchain-based share registers.

The event was hosted by Shahrima Tanjina Arni, International Affairs Secretary, DUCSU and Md. Azhar Uddin Bhuiyan, Editor-in-Chief, DUCSU Law and Politics Review.

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Muksetul Islam Alif is a member of the Editorial Board, DUCSU Law and Politics Review.