With Europe taking serious steps towards adopting blockchain, it has become one of the most-watched continents. Unlike certain countries that react as though this technology will not exist in our future, the EU has been on top of the game by evaluating the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The first major step took place in February 2018 when the European Commission (EC) launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum to support European engagement with DLT and to unite the economy around blockchain. Since then, the European Parliament-supported organisation released three reports:
2. Blockchain and the GDPR (October)
3. Blockchain for Government and Public Services (December)
The second major step was taken in April 2018 when 22 countries signed a Declaration that created a European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). The partnership’s objective is on cybersecurity, privacy, energy efficiency and interoperability. Since then, 5 more countries have joined the partnership.
“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.” — Mariya Gabriel
Europe proceeded to take several steps in favour of blockchain technology when a report predicted an increase in EU’s investment into blockchain to $386 million by 2020 and when the European Parliament formed a resolution, stating that DLT “could potentially affect all sectors of the economy”. These achievements further prove that EC is liberalizing the industry’s regulation.
The EU began discussing how adopting blockchain in health care will improve data efficiency, as well as transferring the control into the hands of patients. This is also a part of their General Data Protection Regulation (a.k.a. GDPR) that is aimed at giving people control over how their personal data is stored and managed, not only in health care but other sectors too.
EU has also gone over implementing blockchain in the financial sector. There is an obvious advantage, which is that using the blockchain technology will improve transparency and security while reducing costs. However, with this, a number of concerns are raised such as the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies or digital tokens, and the risks and dangers surrounding scamming ICO projects.
Four major blockchain companies, including Ripple and NEM, formed a “Blockchain for Europe” Association, according to a press article published in December. The association promotes the understanding and proactive regulation of blockchain technology across Europe. Another declaration was signed by seven EU states in December to promote the use of blockchain technology. Unlike other continents, Europe’s ambitions when it comes to blockchain are clear from the initiatives taken place from the new year until the end of 2018.