Blockchain technology continues to attract a lot of attention from diverse groups ranging from government to corporate organizations, and even entrepreneurs. While cryptocurrency might have an altogether bad reputation in mainstream circles, blockchain technology is looked upon with keen interest as it has the potential to transform many aspects of human life. To this end, a lot of time and money has been invested in research activities targeted at discovering innovative blockchain solutions for some of the biggest issues affecting the world today.
Europe has always prided itself on being a centre of innovation and technological advancement. For a number of years now, blockchain has been identified as having the potential to transform the lives of people up and down the continent. In keeping with this tradition, 22 EU member countries have formed a partnership under the aegis of the European Blockchain Partnership. This is according to a press release issued by the European Commission (EC) announcing the new partnership. The signing of the partnership was part of the Commission’s Digital Day 2018 summit that took place in Brussels, Belgium, on April 10, 2018. The summit was organized by the European Commission in conjunction with the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The Blockchain Partnership
In a speech delivered by Frans Timmermans, the EC Vice President, during the summit, he called on EU member nations to make the region a center for global blockchain innovation. The blockchain partnership is expected to be used as a vehicle for sharing experience and expertise pertaining to blockchain implementations among the 22 countries. The partnership is expected to put modalities in place for the launch of a catalog of EU-wide blockchain applications targeted at both the public and the private sectors.
Commenting on the partnership, Mariya Gabriel, the Commissioner for Digital Economy said that:
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and [its] Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies. The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”
The 22 countries that signed the blockchain partnership are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK. Other member countries of the EU have been invited to join the initiative. The partnership is a continuation of the efforts being made by the EU to foster region-wide cooperation in the field of blockchain technology. In February 2018, the EC launched the EU Blockchain Observatory Forum which has already invested EUR 80 million ($98 million) in a number of blockchain-based projects. The forum is expected to invest another EUR 300 ($371 million) in other projects within the next two years.