On the 1st of February 2018 the European Commission launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum with the aim of focusing on fundamental developments relating to blockchain technology, to support European entrepreneurs and boost European participation with several stakeholders that are currently actively working on blockchain technologies and offering blockchain-based solutions.
It is pertinent to note that blockchain trailblazers that operate in traditional sectors, like banks, insurance companies, trading companies, and stock exchanges, are currently involved in various pilot projects. Furthermore, recently several Member States have publicised various initiatives in order to reinforce their use of blockchain technology. Consequently, the European Commission wants to advance existing initiatives, focus on Europe’s significant talent base and to provide start-ups with the necessary support and tools in order for the European Union to be at the forefront of the rollout of blockchain technology.
Indeed, the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was set up to assist EU Member States and their respective actors and entrepreneurs to seize new opportunities presented by blockchain, develop proficiency amongst industry players, and to provide them with the opportunity to present their ideas and ambitions on the international scene. The Observatory and Forum will also be collecting information, keeping an eye on and evaluating trends, and tackling challenges. Regulatory and legal challenges, in addition to interoperability issues, will also feature on the Observatory and Forum’s priority list.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union was quoted in the official press release saying that “Among the many technologies that are driving digital innovation, blockchain has the potential to be truly transformative for financial services and markets. The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will monitor developments and also inform our policy making.”
Moreover, Fintech is high on the European Commission’s policy list, since it is willing to develop its digital single market, Banking Union, the Capital Markets Union and retail financial services. Malta is also aware of the importance of this industry and it has recently announced that it will be promulgating a legal framework that will regulate blockchain based businesses, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.