European Commission launches EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum

US-based software firm ConsenSys selected to support new European blockchain expertise hub. 

The European Commission (EC) has launched a new initiative to monitor and engage with the development of European-based blockchain projects, in conjunction with the European Parliament.

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum will operate as a European expertise hub to highlight key developments of ongoing blockchain technology projects, promote European players in the space and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in blockchain activities.

“Among the many technologies that are driving digital innovation, blockchain has the potential to be truly transformative for financial services and markets,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. “The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will monitor developments and also inform our policy making.”

Blockchain collaborations and initiatives have blossomed across Europe over the past few years as groups of technology vendors and sell-side institutions have teamed up to develop various distributed-ledger technologies which can potentially disrupt the established market structure.

US-based ConsenSys, a blockchain software specialist established by Etherium co-founder Jospeh Lubin, has been selected to support the project in Europe and fulfil its fundamental objectives.

The European Commission has already funded blockchain projects through the European Union’s research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020 over the past four years. Up to 2020, it will fund projects that could draw on blockchain technologies for up to €340 million.

The project will also support the EC’s ongoing work regarding financial technology. In November last year the European Commission established an internal Task Force on Financial Technology as part of its formation of a comprehensive strategy for fintech, while the EC is expected to present its Fintech Action Plan in Spring this year.

“Technologies like blockchain can help reduce costs while increasing trust, traceability and security. They have huge potential for making social and economic transactions more secure online by guarding against an attack and removing the need for any middleman,” said vice-president for the Digital Single Market at the EC, Andrus Ansip.

“We want to build on Europe’s substantial talent base and excellent startups to become a leading world region that will develop and invest in the rollout of blockchain.”