The European Union is taking steps to become one of the leading economic blocs in the blockchain race. Therefore, it would be interesting to have a closer look at what the plans and initiatives are from the various European Institutions related to blockchain.
1. EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum
On February 1, 2018 the Commission launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum with the support of the European Parliament, with the aim to highlight key developments of the blockchain technology, promote European actors and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities. The project will bring together various sectors, including regulators and politicians, to develop new use cases of the blockchain technology for the EU. European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Ivanova Gabriel believes that the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum will become the world’s most comprehensive repository of blockchain experience and expertise.
2. Digital Single Market
In 2015 The European Commission has established Digital Single Market to ensure access to online activities for individuals and businesses under conditions of fair competition, consumer and data protection, removing geo-blocking and copyright issues. One of the policies under the European Single Market is to develop a common approach on blockchain technology for the EU in the international arena. The Commission highlights blockchain, along with artificial intelligence, as key emerging trends. In May 2017, in the Digital Single Market mid-term review, the Commission recognised blockchain-inspired technologies as having huge potential for the EU administrations, businesses and the society in general.
3. Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good
Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology launched Horizon Prize worth 5 € million “Blockchain for Social Good” which is open until 2019. The challenge is to develop scalable, efficient and high-impact decentralised solutions to social innovation challenges leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology), such as the one used in blockchains. This challenge is targeted at a wide range of actors: individuals, social entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, research centres from technological and social disciplines, creative industries, students, hackers, start-ups and SMEs.
4. European Digital Currency and Technology Forum (EDCAB)
EDCAB was established as a public policy platform for virtual currencies and distributed ledger technology with the aim to shape a sound regulatory and policy agenda in the blockchain space. Membership is open to businesses, non-profit organisations, think tanks, academic and research institutions, and anyone with an interest in virtual currencies and distributed ledger technology. EDCAB organises roundtables, seminars and workshops in Brussels throughout the year and responds to consultations and provides briefing articles on live issues and policies on virtual currencies and distributed ledger technology.
5. European Directive on Payment Services
In 2018 the European Directive on Payment Services (PSD2) comes into application and enhance electronic payment security and consumer protection but at the same time facilitate a new era of open banking. Under the new rules, banks will have to share client information with licensed third parties if the client asks it to do so. This will favour fintech companies and benefit blockchain projects by broadening business opportunities. For example, financial institutions could end up offering blockchain-based payment services through partnerships with fintech companies.
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