The European Commission has launched an EU blockchain observatory and forum
The European Commission has launched an EU blockchain observatory and forum to highlight developments, promote European actors and inform policy.
Blockchain technology is a network that stores blocks of information that are identical across the network.
The body was launched on Thursday and is expected to play an active role in building expertise, showing leadership in the field of blockchain and helping Europe seize opportunities created by blockchain.
It will focus primarily on gathering information, monitoring and analysing trends, addressing challenges and exploring blockchains’ socioeconomic potential.
As an EU body, it will enable cross-border cooperation on practical cases, bringing together experts in Europe and promoting an open forum for blockchain for all stakeholders. The forum and observatory will partner with Consensys, which will support the observatory’s outreach in Europe.
Commissioner for the digital economy and society Mariya Gabriel said she saw blockchain as “a game changer”. She said the observatory and forum were an important step 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 European Commission has been funding blockchain projects through the European Union's research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020 since 2013. It will release €340m in funding up to 2020 for projects that could draw on blockchain technologies.
Blockchain technology is commonly associated with cryptocurrencies, but it offers a number of other actual and potential digitally enabled services.
The European Commission says that in future, it plans to explore its potential to improve cross-border European services in taxes, VAT reporting, customs, title and business registries, environmental, financial and company reports, health records management, clinical trials report, medicines registration and identity management.