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Of data strategies, new frontiers, and blockchain-based banks

Credits: Microsoft

Here is our personal choice of interesting insights from the digital landscape in Europe and beyond.

First, data

During her address at the State of the Union 2020, President of the European Commission, Ursula von den Leyen, has explicitly recognised that as far as personalised data (i.e. business to consumer) is concerned, Europe has been too slow and is now dependent on others, that is, on US-based companies.

With industrial data, this scenario is simply not an option. European companies, SMEs, start-ups, and researchers must be given the opportunity to draw on their full potential by leveraging the humongous quantity of data that industry generates, 80% of which is wasted.

As with natural resources, the lifecycle of data must be increased, and value must be extracted as much as possible. Which implies, of course, a strong semantic basis (ontologies, knowledge architectures, linked-data paradigms) but also fully-fledged interoperability and the technological capabilities to compete with cloud providers worldwide. GAIA-X, the new pan-European federated data infrastructure, will become the keystone of a digital sovereignty for Europe.

New frontiers

The Arctic is definitely becoming the new frontier for digital infrastructure and digital heritage alike. GitHub has long launched its own Archive Program, a large-scale, multi-tiered storage architecture to allegedly preserve open-source projects. The ultimate archival facility is located 250 meters deep in the permafrost, more precisely in a decommissioned coal mine in the Svalbard archipelago, closer to the North Pole than the Arctic Circle.

As to Microsoft, no later than three years ago they came again into the limelight as their experimental data center deployed 117 feet deep undersea in spring 2018 off the Northern Isles (Scotland) has proven to be a success as far as sustainability strategy around energy, waste and water is concerned. “As we are moving from generic cloud computing to cloud and edge computing, we are seeing more and more need to have smaller data centers located closer to customers instead of these large warehouse datacenters out in the middle of nowhere”, quoth Spencer Fowers, a principal member of technical staff for Microsoft’s Special Projects research group.

It might be high time for countries in northern Europe to witness a bevy of small-to-medium scale data centers off their coasts.

Blockchain-based banks

The line between crypto exchange and bank just got even blurrier, as Decrypt aptly put it. Yesterday, the state of Wyoming awarded the well-known crypto exchange Kraken a license to create what can only be described as a crypto bank. What this means is that both private and corporate customers, for the first time ever, will enjoy a rich slew of traditional banking services built around crypto assets instead of fiat money. As copy & paste of policies is a thing, we may expect other countries and other financial operators to follow suit.

In the meantime, central bankers within the Eurosystem gathered in Berlin on September 11, and Central Bank Digital Currency were the talk of the town, needless to say. Digital currencies, whether crypto-based or not, are definitely going to gain momentum.

Do you have questions or suggestions? We are here to help.

At Tanglegence, we are always keen to provide guidance for companies and public entities to navigate the intricacies and the uncertainties of the transition, whilst doing our best to turn challenges into opportunities.




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