A Southern European Blockchain Bloc Has Formed. What Next?
December 9, 2018 by William Peaster
This week, officials from seven European Union nations issued a joint statement declaring their intentions to individually and collectively undertake further embraces of blockchain technology. The officials hailed the “enormous potential for growth in the digital sector” as a principal driver of the campaign. Will the new European blockchain bloc inspire other E.U. nations to follow suit?
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European Blockchain Bloc Forms, What to Expect?
Throwing their political weight together, transportation ministers for seven southern E.U. members released a joint statement this week titled, “Southern European Countries Ministerial Declaration on Distributed Ledger Technologies.”
Therein, the represented E.U. nations — France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus — announced their commitment to further researching and deploying blockchain technology in a coordinated bid to make the participating Southern European countries global leaders going forward in the digital sector.
The Ministers of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain have issued a joint statement on their intent to make Southern Europe a leader in blockchain tech. No mention yet of Bitcoin or public chains, but a positive reference to privacy.https://t.co/gfQekW8vqB
— Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) December 7, 2018
“We believe that [blockchain] can result in further democratization of the European economic model,” the ministers said.
“We strongly believe that the use of such a technology may lead to more cooperation in the Mediterranean basin.”
Notably, the joint statement is perhaps the most direct political and economic call-to-action regarding blockchain technology adoption seen on the world stage to date.
France, Spain, and Italy alone account for three of the current top 10 E.U. economies, and thus some of the major political bloc’s most influential member states are represented in this new, lesser European blockchain bloc.
That reality means other powerhouse E.U. member states like Germany and the Netherlands won’t be able to avoid at least formally considering the statement, regardless of what actions they take as a result.
With that said, the blockchain bloc’s numbers may swell, or its current members may remain alone as loud European proponents of distributed ledgers. Either way, it’s clear blockchain tech is beginning to gain increased focus — and become a political issue — in the E.U.
If a powerhouse like Germany does eventually decide to pile into the new bloc, look for blockchain advocacy to become par for the course administratively in Europe.
Privacy on the Brain
The E.U.’s controversial GDPR regulations have made privacy among the top contenders for topic of the year in the political bloc.
In that context, the Southern European countries noted in their joint announcement that distributed ledger solutions might provide some ways forward in Europe’s privacy debates.
“Due to its nature, we are of the view that Distributed Ledger Technologies can result in enhanced transparency, accountability and privacy for the end-users,” the ministers said.
“In this sense, we believe that the promotion of privacy through blockchain enhanced solutions could be a way forward, empowering citizens to be in control of their own personal data.”
It’s a storyline worth keeping an eye on in the years ahead as E.U. officials continue to wrestle with aggressively protecting their citizens’ privacy.
On Transparency, America’s Dept. of Homeland Security Apparently Has Some Similar Ideas
The Southern European countries cited transparency and auditability as areas where blockchain solutions could provide superior administrative experiences.
In that vein, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the public security department of the America’s federal government, recently issued a solicitation via its in-house startup accelerator seeking blockchain implementations that could bring further transparency to government sector operations.
“Blockchain […] from a government perspective holds the potential for enhanced transparency and auditing of public service operations, greater visibility into multi-party business operations, and automation of paper-based processes,” the DHS solicitation said.
Accordingly, blockchain and government melds in Europe and America may be in vogue in the years ahead. Bitsonline will continue to track these threads as they develop.
What’s your take on the European Blockchain bloc? Is it empty PR, or progressive and worthy of undertaking? Sound off in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay