Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank president backs blockchain for gov’t transparency
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank President Luis Burdiel Agudo said Tuesday the pace of economic activity in Puerto Rico is already at the level it was before Hurricane Maria hit the island last year and that he expects it to continue to grow steadily.
“There will be sustained growth. It is an upward trend. Puerto Rico is recovering,” he said in an aside to reporters during an event Tuesday, titled “Blockchain and other Disruptive Technologies: The Competitive Advantage for Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation,”
Burdiel Agudo said that despite the fact that María “was a disaster and a tragedy,” the hurricane put Puerto Rico on the world map. “Most of the people who visited us realized that Puerto Rico has a huge future,” he said, while acknowledging that much remains to be done to complete the recovery of Puerto Rico.
About 90 percent of the federal funds expected from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have not been paid out. Also, the amount of funding expected to prop the economy from insurance payouts did not materialize.
Regarding blockchain, the digital ledger that allows transactions to be recorded on a network, Burdiel Agudo said regulations are going to have to align with the right to privacy.
A lawyer and professor on the digital economy, Juan C. Rodríguez Maseda, said blockchain technology clashes with privacy and the “right to be forgotten” stipulated in the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. He also argued that it is very difficult to correct information about a person because blockchain is not a centralized technology.
“The same was said about the Internet,” Burdiel Agudo said, noting that privacy has already been sacrificed with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. He argued that blockchain would give the government certainty and transparency.
“If you are going to use this technology, it is just so there is a trace of everything and everything is put out there,” he added.
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