EU hitches its cart to the blockchain bandwagon

Let's set up an observatory, maybe think about governance

By Rebecca Hill

Posted in Emergent Tech, 1st February 2018 16:41 GMT

Not wanting to be too late to the blockchain party, the European Commission has launched a forum to keep an eye on developments and pool ideas on governance.

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum has the lofty aim of being a centre for discussions about the tech and how it can be used, as well as a link between regulators, entrepreneurs and industry.

"I see blockchain as a game changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development," said digital economy commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

"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 Commission said the observatory would "play an active role" in helping the EU "show leadership" in blockchain – although arguably other nations have taken the reins when it comes to threatening extra regulation.

The EU observatory, though, appears to be suggesting a less aggressive, regulatory-focused approach, which might win friends in the industry.

It said that the aim was to offer an "open forum" for technologists, citizens, public authorities and regulators to "discuss and develop new ideas... in an open way".

The observatory, meanwhile, will be"gathering information, monitoring and analysing trends, addressing challenges and exploring blockchains' socioeconomic potential".

The Commission said that it planned to work with member states to try to "consolidate" initiatives, and promised to work on mapping blockchain initiatives across the bloc.

It also promised work on governance and interoperability, as well as pledging to broaden EU financing of pilot projects in areas beyond the finance sector, such as health, government and transport.

The Commission said, up to 2020, it will fund projects "that could draw on blockchain technologies for up to €340m".

ConsenSys – a group of technologists and entrepreneurs – has been chosen as a partner to work with the Commission in developing the observatory. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily


More from The Register

Chief EU negotiator tells UK to let souped-up data adequacy dream die

'We cannot, and will not, share decision-making autonomy with a third country'

US startup wheels out EU-compliant drone traffic management app

And takes a swipe at American UAV regs

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

Bureaucrats break internet norms by vowing to ban Blighty-based bods from Euro TLD

Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

Brit industry, military locked out

Schrems' Facebook case edges closer to ruling over EU-US data flows

Irish court issues questions to top Euro judges in long-running scrap between privacy activist and Facebook

EU-US Privacy Shield not up to snuff, data tap should be turned off – MEPs

Civil liberties committee votes: US has until Sept to comply

Creaking protocols are threat to EU's telecom infrastructure security

Y'all better bake in safeguards before 5G rollout, says ENISA

EU lawmakers seek coordinated hand-wringing over AI ethics

Rules created in isolation will drive AI makers to operate in areas without restraint

European Commission proposes more powers for EU's infosec agency

Cross-border cybersecurity certification scheme planned

Blighty: If EU won't let us play at Galileo, we're going home and taking encryption tech with us

UK stomps off in a sulk, mumbling something about its own satellite constellation