Category Archives: EC

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EU Commission “Pleased” with Blockchain Enthusiasm from European Parliament

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gathered today in Strasbourg, France for plenary meetings are currently debating the use of blockchain technology, with Digital Single Market Commissioner Andrus Ansip saying minutes ago that he was “pleased” to see MEPs on the same page as the EU Commission in its enthusiasm for blockchain potential.

Sandwiched between a session on human rights violations in Chechnya and economic support for remote regions, the debate on blockchain sought to discuss how the EU Commission would provide “legal certainty” for the use of the technology.

Earlier, MEP Dario Tamburrano from Italy urged the European Parliament members to move towards legislation to avoid “losing control” of new technologies, echoing French MEP Christelle Lechavalier’s statement that regulators should give blockchain adequate time to provide evidence and maturity for use across multiple sectors.

Both Italy and France have been making fervent moves towards cryptocurrency especially in recent months. The former last week became the 27th nation to enter the European Blockchain Partnership, which seeks to foster blockchain cooperation between member nations. France this year axed income tax on cryptocurrency and has a pro-crypto finance minister in the shape of Bruno Le Maire, who maintained that blockchain was “a revolution”.

MEPs from Eastern European nations – themselves keen to establish blockchain hubs in the region – were also vocal in the debate, with Lithuanian centre-right MEP Antanas Guoga asking fellow Parliament members to accept that blockchain is “here to stay”. He warned that laggards would have to “live with” not being able to have “much say” over the technology, pointing out that decentralized systems would be highly resistant to external attempts for control.

Romania’s Cristian-Silviu Busoi cautioned the EU against “rushing prematurely” into regulation or face stifled innovation.

Ansip closed the session, saying that blockchain should not be seen as a “panacea” but stressed that it was an opportunity that “cannot be overlooked”. The assembly is expected to vote tomorrow on 2 October on a non-binding motion which will mandate the Commission to conduct an impact study of a “wider update” of blockchain in the EU.


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European Commission to Use Blockchain to Curtail Fake News

According to a recently published press release by the European Commission (EC) on 26 April, the European Union (EU) executive plans to employ distributed ledger technology (DLT) to fight so-called “fake news”, the transmission of false information online.

The EC’s first step will be to introduce a plan as part of what will become the “Code of Practice on Disinformation”, an EU-wide program scheduled for publication by July 2018.

The commission says blockchain applications can help provide transparency, reliability, and traceability of news on the internet. It also added that DLT can be combined with other identification processes:

“Innovative technologies, such as blockchain, can help preserve the integrity of content, validate the reliability of information and/or its sources, enable transparency and traceability, and promote trust in news displayed on the Internet.”

The press release is a response the commission’s recent High-Level Expert report which revealed a need for more transparency online in order to fight the current surge of internet disinformation.

Earlier this year the EC announced the signing of a declaration to create a European Blockchain Partnership Initiative made of up 22 countries including Germany, France, and the UK.

A significant project is also underway is in the field of healthcare. The EU’s My Health My Data (MHMD) project “aims to use blockchain technology to enable medical data to be stored and transmitted safely and effectively”.

The latest plan to embrace blockchain technology to combat fake news can be seen as part of a larger plan to integrate fintech into the inner workings of EU administration. Vice president of the EC Andrus Ansip made a speech earlier this month urging EU governments to invest in blockchain technology both “politically and financially” as it emerges “out of the lab” and goes mainstream.

Blockchain development forms part of the EU’s research funding body Horizon 2020 Work Programme, and is considered by the EC as “the biggest EU research and innovation funding programme ever”. It is investing nearly EUR 80 billion of funding over seven years and promises “breakthroughs, discoveries, and world-firsts, by taking great ideas from the lab to the market”.

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