On the 1st of February 2018, the Commission launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum. The Blockchain Observatory and Forum is going to be a powerful tool in order to better showcase key developments of the blockchain technology, promote European actors and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities.
Blockchain technologies, which store blocks of information that are distributed across the network, are seen as a major breakthrough, as they bring about high levels of traceability and security in economic transactions online. They are expected to impact digital services and transform business models in a wide range of areas, such as healthcare, insurance, finance, energy, logistics, intellectual property rights management or government services.
This is what Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said about it: "Technologies like blockchain can help reduce costs while increasing trust, traceability and security. They have 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 startups to become a leading world region that will develop and invest in the rollout of blockchain."
The European Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union's research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020 since 2013. Up to 2020, it will fund projects that could draw on blockchain technologies for up to €340 million. The main goal is to encourage governments, European industry and citizens to benefit from blockchain opportunities.
European innovators and entrepreneurs are already offering blockchain-based solutions. Major players from traditional sectors, like banks, insurances, stock exchanges, logistics or companies are engaged in pilot projects. Many Member States have announced initiatives as they seek to reinforce their use of blockchain technology. The European Commission wants to build on the existing initiatives, ensure that they can work across borders, consolidate expertise and address the challenges created by the new paradigms enabled by blockchain (such as disintermediation, trust, security and traceability by design).
The brand new EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum will play an active role in helping Europe to seize new opportunities offered by blockchain, build expertise and show leadership in the field. It will be gathering information, monitoring and analysing trends, addressing challenges and exploring blockchains' socioeconomic potential. It will enable cross border cooperation on practical use cases, bringing Europe's best experts together and promoting an open forum for blockchain technologists, innovators, citizens, industry stakeholders, public authorities, regulators and supervisors, to discuss and develop new ideas in order to learn, engage and contribute in an open way.
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