On 1 February 2018, the European Commission’s EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was launched under the supportive wing of the European Parliament and represented by Jakob von Weizsäcker who is responsible for the recent report on virtual currencies. It was highlighted that key developments of blockchain technology are set to generate an impact in digital services and transform business models in a wide range of industries.
Blockchain technologies store blocks of information which are distributed across the network of online economic transactions, bringing with it high levels of traceability and security set to benefit sectors including healthcare, insurance, finance, energy, logistics, intellectual property rights management and government services.
With a promise to promote European actors and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities, the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is said to play an active role in helping Europe seize new opportunities offered by blockchain technology, build expertise and show leadership in the field.
Recognising these events as major breakthroughs, vice president, European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, explained: “Among the many technologies that are driving digital innovation, blockchain has the potential to be truly transformative for financial services and markets. The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will monitor developments and also inform our policy making.”
Vice president, Digital Single Market, European Commission, Andrus Ansip, similarly asserted: “Technologies like blockchain can help reduce costs while increasing trust, traceability and security. Such technologies inignite huge potential for making social and economic transactions more secure online by guarding against an attack and removing the need for any middleman. We want to build on Europe’s substantial talent base and excellent start-ups to become a leading world region that will develop and invest in the rollout of blockchain.”
Commissioner, Digital Economy and Society, European Commission, Mariya Gabriel also said: “I see blockchain as a game changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development. We need to establish the right enabling environment – a Digital Single Market for blockchain so that all citizens can benefit, instead of a patchwork of initiatives. The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is an important step in that direction.”
Since 2013, the European Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union’s research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020, and up to 2020, it will continue funding projects that could draw on blockchain technologies with costs of up to EUR 340 million.
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