The European Push for Blockchain Technology


What is Blockchain technology?

Blockchain is an advanced record-keeping technology that was known to be the support system behind bitcoin. The technology digitally stores and secures verified transactions that are processed in any created network. The main benefit of Blockchain is its ability to improve transparency in a given network by easily recording all parties involved in the transaction. Blockchain has also been described as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The implementation of this technology has become a popular topic for the supply chain industry due to the vast amount of transactions happening every day between businesses. The illustration below demonstrates an example of the flow of a transaction through Blockchain.

The Beginning of Blockchain in Europe

The European Commission (EC) introduced a forum called the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018. The creation of this forum was to engage European countries in open discussion about the technology and how it would help unite economies by increasing transparency, security and exploring new innovative ideas for overall improvement. The forum soon received support from the European Parliament for its groundbreaking idea to help unite the EU. Several reports were published as a result, such as: the first one in July, “Blockchain Innovation in Europe”; the second one in October, “Blockchain and the GDPR”; and the third one in December, “Blockchain for Government and Public Services.” The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum discussions helped educate countries on the benefits of Blockchain and a few months after, 21 EU member states and Norway collectively created the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) in April 2018. Since then, more countries have joined and even vouched to help continue to promote the technology’s implementation.

The Mediterranean Seven

Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain have become the Mediterranean Seven that have vowed to be advocates for blockchain technology. These countries all signed a formal agreement earlier this month on December 4th to join forces and advocate together for distributed ledger technology (DLT). Each country strongly believes that various technologies like DLT will help enhance and expand their digital networks. In addition, they also believe this technology could improve democratization in the EU. Overall, the European adoption of Blockchain has proven to be successful so far, but the fight to promote this technology worldwide is still an ongoing battle.

Will the United States join the race to adopt Blockchain technology?

The United States is currently struggling to implement regulations for Blockchain technology. This is proving to be difficult because the government is still attempting to define the technology and set guidelines for various industry sectors. However, there have been recent developments made by Congress in regulations, such as the establishment of two bills that aspire to prevent crypto price manipulation. Congress introduced the following bills on December 6th: The Virtual Currency Consumer Protection Act of 2018 and the U.S. Virtual Currency Market and Regulatory Competitiveness Act of 2018. So, in retrospect, while other countries are already immersed in Blockchain technology, the United States is taking more precautions to fully understand the technology and set regulatory boundaries before fully adopting the technology.