The European Union is no stranger to blockchain technology. The discussion of the uses and benefits of blockchain in the EU has been a prominent topic of discussion and this week has a been a particularly eventful one for the state of the technology. Here are some of the positive outcomes that have emerged from the agreements of various EU agencies and collaborations.
A Call for a Commitment
On April 10th, 2018 The European Commission held their annual Digital Day in Brussels, offering an opportunity for country leaders to gather and discuss a united digital policy to build more cooperation within emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
In his opening remarks on Digital Day, European Commission Vice President, Andrus Ansip asked for more commitment from Europe’s towards their digital and data-based future, of which the blockchain will be integral. Ansip, called out to the region to place more focus on blockchain in the EU as it moves out of the abstract ideas from the lab and into the mainstream society.
An Environment for Development
Another promising move was the that 22 European countries joined forces to sign a Declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership. The countries that are involved in the declaration are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK.
The initiative of the partnership is to create an enabling environment for sharing experience and expertise in the development of applications of the blockchain in the EU for the benefit of the public and private sectors. The decentralized, shared nature of blockchain applications will help create a strong Digital Single Market, which is the European Commission’s strategy to break down developmental barriers and make digital opportunities more accessible to people and businesses. The European Blockchain Partnership also aims to help member states establish the digital development in Europe for businesses and economies within the region in full compliance with EU laws.
A “Blockathon” for Justice
In June this year, several EU agencies are joining forces to facilitate an EU blockchain hackathon–called a “blockathon”–where participating developers will compete to create a blockchain-based solution to combat counterfeiting. The blockathon is organized by the combined partnership between the European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office and its Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights as a preventative response to the active counterfeiting industry in the region. Applications are open for the competition until the end of April, and the most successful team will a grand prize of €100,000.
The EU has been setting their sights on further digital technology initiatives besides the ones mentioned above. Other blockchain-inclusive ventures of the European Commission include their investment in more than EURO 80 million in societal and technical areas within the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018. The commission also has plans to allocate another EUR 300 million to the cause by 2020.
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