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Cybersecurity General Counsel and In House Counsel International Law Privacy Regulation Technology Media and Telecom

Blockchain and GDPR — Frenemies?

In a nutshell, GDPR mandates that individuals have access and control over the use and maintenance of their data in certain circumstances, while the foundation of blockchain relies on the immutability of data. On the surface, these concepts seem in direct conflict with each other. This article discusses the points where GDPR and blockchain share common ground, where conflicts may exist and possible approaches for mitigating those conflicts.


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Emerging technologies and regulations have the power to create, shape, or kill businesses. The European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — a privacy regulation with worldwide implications, and blockchain technology — such as Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT), each embody forces that have the potential for such profound impact. Taken in tandem, the GDPR and blockchain highlight the possibilities and pitfalls of disruption and the importance of cross-organizational collaboration in compliance and innovation initiatives.

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