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Lebanese joint parliamentary committee to ratify the Electronic Transactions Law

As soon as the Lebanese Parliamentary session is held, a draft law on electronic transactions will be approved. The draft Law part of Decree No. 9341 issued back in 2012 will be ratified by the joint parliamentary committees.

Once the law is ratified it is expected to reflect positively on the economic situation in many sectors most notably the banking sector. The Lebanese Banking sector is one of the most established and geographically diverse sectors within the Lebanese economy. Banks have and still play a pivotal role both in Lebanon as well as across borders given the large expatriate community. Delays in ratifying the Electronic transaction law, has created hurdles in the development of this sector given the strong correlation between digital identity, and e-banking. This has setback the Lebanese banking sector years behind its counterparts across the globe.

Despite the fact that the draft law is considered a positive move amidst Lebanon’s tense political situation, it is a far run from what is needed today as it lacks integration with the latest technological developments that have occurred over the past four years.

It would have been more effective had the Lebanese Parliament Committees instated a law governing digital identity in its entirety given its strong correlation to digital signature and the protection of personal data. Estonia for example developed Digital Identity law in 2012. Digital Identity legislation and implementation is especially useful in countries with high number of expatriates and also eliminated the need to discuss magnetic electoral cards.

Even further, states such as West Virginia in the USA, which became the first state to roll out a Blockchain mobile voting solution, are also using the latest technologies to enhance their electoral system.

Moving forward this law could also trickle into and change outdated procedures for land registry, personal status and judicial processes amongst others.

Finally, although the Draft Law under ratification touches upon the topic of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology in the electronic banking and financial services sector, in article 61, it states that all regulatory issues pertaining to this will be left to Lebanon’s Central Bank authority to tackle in terms of definition, usage, and issuance. As such the Lebanese Parliament has chosen to put the crypto, digital and Blockchain related financial issues in the ball court of the Central Bank. We are hopeful that this will lead to a more pragmatic approach.

As we await the Lebanese Central Bank’s stance on the topic of Blockchain, as a Patron for the Knowledge Economy in Lebanon, we look to learn from what other countries have done such as Japan, Malta, Gibraltar, USA and Switzerland, as well as Singapore.

Walid Abou Zaki

Founder and CEO of Unlock Blockchain Executive Director of Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Co.

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