European Commission wants EU to take the lead in blockchain

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The announcement came after the speech of the EC's Vice President Andrus Ansip, in which he praised the nascent blockchain technology as well as artificial intelligence.

"22 European countries signed today a Declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership".

Ansip recognized blockchain technology and artificial intelligence as being two of the fields which the continent must commit to work on collectively.

Ansip further said that these are "the areas where Europe is best positioned to play a leading role".

Part of this push for standardization is the General Data Protection Regulation, which will govern the treatment of European Union citizens' personal data beginning in May.

The Commission also revealed it is laying the groundwork required to establish a European Blockchain Partnership in order to promote "interoperable infrastructures", presumably between EU nations, to enhance and foster trusted digital services. The EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum was initiated in February 2018 to accelerate the implementation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) across Europe.

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The European Commission believes that the decentralised and collaborative nature of blockchain and its applications will allow member states to exploit the "full scale of the Digital Single Market from the outset".

Blockchain, it is suggested, makes it possible to share on-line information, agree on and record transactions in a verifiable, secure and permanent way.

The EC said that close cooperation between member states would help in avoiding fragmented approaches and ensure interoperability and wider deployment of blockchain-based services. The technology is already being successfully tested, mostly in financial services, and will become more operational and integrated into increasing number of digital services, such as regulatory reporting, energy and logistics in the coming years.

"In the future, all public services will use [Blockchain] technology. Whilst we have supported more than 500 funds to date, this is the first time that the European Union has created such a unique programme".

The European Commission and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have launched a venture capital programme aimed at resolving the size problem that has deterred many investors from allocating to the asset class. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and 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.