Technological innovation has been a driving factor in much of the positive change we have seen in our world. Think beyond the uber convenience of iPhones to the great strides made in modern medicines as proof. Today, blockchain technology promises to make our virtual world more democratic, secure and private. Its progress though faces hurdles that are impeding advancements. One of the biggest challenges blockchain developers face is the opaque and ever-changing regulatory landscape.

What’s so great about blockchain anyway? So-called “Web 3.0” technology that has gained a foothold is completely different from the still-predominant Web 2.0 developed over decades. It relies on decentralized technology. That means it doesn’t use legacy companies’ app algorithms (Facebook, ahem) and their hack-prone data-storage servers. Instead of Google suggesting a great new restaurant you might like (and then storing your preferences), impartial machine learning and artificial intelligence are two of the primary features of Web 3.0. That’s a far more democratic internet that truly values the individual.

Blockchain today is at a crossroads. There is grudging acceptance of the technology from the federal government, with Wall Street firmly jumping in. But still others associate related cryptocurrencies with hype, booms and now busts. There lacks a mainstream and unified voice espousing the true benefits of this technology. That is on the industry. But the industry also needs help.

The regulatory landscape has been starting to solidify in the last couple years, with the EU passing bills such as the provisional agreement on the markets in crypto-assets (MiCA) and new legislation such as the Responsible Financial Innovation Act being introduced in the United States Congress.

But we also see across the globe a patchwork of other regulations and laws. At the extreme, in countries like China and Russia, we have seen harsh orders banning large aspects of the technology as a whole. In the US alone, we have seen extremely expensive enforcement actions levied against companies that were allegedly breaking rules that were far less than clear to them.

One glaring misconception that many people have in regards to the blockchain space is that it is “shady” or “speculative” and that actors in the space do not act in good faith. This could not be further from the truth. A vast majority of participants are committed founders and developers working to create technologies that are capable of solving some of the most glaring issues our society faces today. Whether it is cheaper and faster cross border payments, instant settlements, affordable remittances or simply better financial services, a vast majority of this space is working towards the goal of empowering people with new technology.

In order for this lofty goal to be achieved, and for this technology to realize its full potential in the mainstream, there must be legal and regulatory clarity for the industry. Most serious projects realize this, and have for some time, which is why there is so much willingness from the industry to work with those in charge of making the rules.

The best way to ensure that the regulations guiding this industry stimulate further innovation is through collaboration in which industry players, regulators and legislators work side by side. Although this type of widespread cooperation may seem like a dream in today’s hyperpolarized world, it is not at all out of reach. In fact, it is a necessity.

About the author: Guilhem Chaumont, Co-Founder and CEO of Flowdesk, a regulated Paris-based crypto custodial market-maker

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

By AKDSEO