The agreement, signed by 22 countries, will serve as a vehicle for cooperation among member states on the exchange of experiences and know-how required in the creation of blockchain applications within Europe.
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology,” said European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said during the signing of the agreement, which is born out of the desire to unite efforts among member states with the aim of ensuring a key role for Europe in the future development and application of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), or blockchain.
Spain is one of the 22 European Union (EU) member countries that have committed themselves to working together to create services that benefit citizens, society and the economy. “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,” Gabriel added.
Projects in sync
The decentralized and collaborative nature of blockchain is of special interest for the EC, which views this technology as a lever to take advantage of opportunities offered by the Digital Single Market. European cooperation as witnessed by this and other initiatives can help avoid a fragmented focus and guarantee the interoperability and maximum reach of blockchain-based services created in the future.
According to the EC, this agreement will contribute to the creation of a development environment in the line with the compliance needs of the EU and with clear governance models that will help platforms that have been developed to flourish throughout Europe.
The document signed by the member countries commits them to helping the EC in the preparation of specific techniques for the initiative before the end of 2018. It also defines the need to identify before the end of the year an initial set of cross-border public services that could benefit from the value added by infrastructure based on blockchain. Once the initial steps have been taken, the document includes the aim of launching the first blockchain-based cross-border actions at the end of 2019.
A road map
This accord strengthens the EC’s commitment to this technology and serves as a guide that lays down the next landmarks and how they are to be achieved. The EC this year has already set in motion other initiatives that should serve to give shape to what was agreed in the accord.
The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum launched in February will serve as a platform to identify the most important developments in this technology and promote the role of European players in blockchain-related projects and activities. The ultimate goal is to “make Europe a benchmark in this exponential technology”. The EC has already invested more than €80 million in projects focused on supporting projects based on blockchain and will allocate around a further €300 million between now and 2020.
The EC also recently published its fintech action plan to promote the digital transformation of the financial sector, which includes information and oversight efforts on the potential challenges and opportunities offered by DLT and crypto-assets through the Blockchain Observatory and Forum.