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European Commission eyes blockchain opportunity

The European Commission is aiming to get the most out of blockchain technology in a wide variety of sectors

The European Commission (EC) is committing resources to support the development and use of blockchain technology in the European Union (EU) through a new organisation.

The EC has set up the Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which will monitor blockchain developments and ensure EU organisations are engaged in the industry.

Distributed ledger technology blockchain allows data to be securely stored and shared with certain parties through a network. It is best known as a financial services technology because it underpins the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

In finance, blockchain is already mature. For example, two years ago a global banking consortium, including Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC in the UK, had already completed cloud-based tests of five different blockchain technologies.

Robert Half Financial Services said recently that most financial services business leaders are already convinced about blockchain’s position in the sector. “Overall, 85% of financial services executives believe blockchain will have made a genuine impact on the financial services industry by 2022,” said a report from Robert Half. “Those that have implemented blockchain already report experiencing benefits, including empowered users (54%), increased transparency (54%) and faster transactions (42%).

The EC expects this appeal to be mirrored in a wide variety of sectors. “Blockchain technologies are expected to impact digital services and transform business models in a wide range of areas, such as healthcare, insurance, finance, energy, logistics, intellectual property rights management and government services,” it said.

Examples of the technology’s use outside the finance sector include Sweden’s land registry authority, Lantmäteriet, which is using blockchain in a pilot system for recording property-related transactions.

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Meanwhile, the Dubai government is introducing a biometric border checking system that uses blockchain technology to ensure sensitive data can only be seen by the digital passport holder and the relevant authorities.

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

The EC is bringing all this activity under one roof through the Blockchain Observatory and Forum to avoid a patchwork of separate initiatives, said Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for the digital economy and society. “I see blockchain as a game-changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development,” she said. “We need to establish the right enabling environment – a Digital Single Market for blockchain so that all citizens can benefit, instead of a patchwork of initiatives.”

The EC has been funding blockchain projects since 2013 through the EU’s research programmes FP7 and Horizon 2020. ........................................................................................................ .....................................................................................................................................................

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Most countries in Europe will be using Blockchain Technology in the next few years as its beneficial for business and protecting customers records: Blockchains will become the norm in the next few years as more industries and countries will utilize the Technology to boost business and secure all transactions. Plus, Blockchains can be used to secure stock and customer records:
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