Category Archives: EU

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Small Business Boost from EU Blockchain Committee

Members of a European Parliament committee voted on Wednesday to recommend that small businesses look into blockchain payment systems. The positive news was reported recently by one of the leading crypto news sites.

The EU Commission’s Industry, Research, and Energy Committee specifically suggested non-monetary uses for the technology, specifying data controls and supply chain management in order for a more cost-effective way of making payments in order to democratize the energy market. The commission believes that small businesses could benefit from integrating blockchain technology into small business.

Eval Kaili, committee member believes that DLT is “cutting edge” commenting:

“Today the Industry Committee voted univocally in favor of a forward-looking technology that we expect to change the quality of our life, empower SMEs and improve business models in most industrial sectors … and we aspire to make EU the global leader in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The proposed model covers blockchain use in many areas:

Monitoring

Monitoring the origin of goods, offering greater certainty that, e.g., diamonds are ethically sourced, clothes are not made in sweatshops and a bottle of champagne comes from Champagne,

Democratizing

Enabling households that produce energy to exchange and consume it without the need to pay an intermediary agency, and

Recording

Creating records such as land registries, birth certificates, and business licenses, with less dependence upon lawyers, notaries and government officials.

“Citizens could use blockchains to gain full control of their own data and decide what to share, and small firms and innovative start-ups could use them to cut intermediation costs and ensure that transactions are executed efficiently the committee,” a European Sting report says.

The press release suggests that the committee called on the  EU commission to start a regulatory process for various blockchain scenarios which could be deemed “ innovation-friendly and technology neutral,” and request more funding for projects from the EU.

Kaili attended the NY Blockchain Week Consensus Conference last week and commented there that the EU was in favor of Blockchain, but that education was a major issue regarding the new technology, joking that, “we don’t have too many scientists within the European Parliament”

She calls for “harmonization, sandboxes, and regulation,” over the next few years to progress the technology towards mainstream recognition.

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New KYC Regulations in EU Validate Crypto Trading

In an effort to prevent financial transgressions, the European Union now requires cryptocurrency exchanges to apply know-your-customer (KYC) policies, similar to that required by traditional banks in a move beneficial to the legitimacy of cryptocurrency trading.

Crypto crime prevention

The anonymity surrounding cryptocurrency trading is viewed by many as an enabler of fraudulent activities, money laundering, and terrorist financing. As reported by Reuters, increasing the transparency required by exchange platforms is valuable in countering any negative perceptions around the usage of cryptocurrencies.

With all investors in the industry now required to provide proof of identity when joining exchange platforms in the EU, this will make it significantly easier for law enforcement to trace any cryptocurrency users involved with illicit activities. It also increases the difficulty for potential hackers to access online wallets or exchanges.

The regulation from EU legislators should not be interpreted as a condemnation of cryptocurrencies; on the contrary, it is a move to legitimize and regulate the market for the benefit of investors, and the economy.

Not all those in the crypto sphere are a fan of KYC barriers though, as it goes against the concept of anonymity, the philosophical foundation behind blockchain technology. With incognito transactions being conducted, however, there always runs the risk of fraudulent activity, despite less than 1% of Bitcoin transactions to exchanges found to be guilty of this.

Pursuing blockchain

The EU signed a Declaration on the Establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership on April 10, with the aim of establishing the continent as an international leader in blockchain technology. As reported by Bitcoinist, the partnership claims to be a ”vehicle for cooperation amongst Member States to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields”.

The regulatory move from the EU follows the continued pursuit of anti-money laundering and terrorist financing policies targetting many areas of finance and traditional banking, not merely restricted to cryptocurrencies.

 

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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”.

image source: https://pixabay.com/en/fake-fake-news-media-laptop-1903774/ – pixel 203

 

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€100K Prize to Be Won at EU Blockchain Hackathon

The European Union (EU) is offering a EUR 100,000 prize to the winning team of an upcoming blockchain hackathon.

The event is scheduled to take place June this year in Brussels, jointly held by the European Commission, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and its Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights. Participants will compete to develop the best blockchain-based integrated solution to counterfeiting.

Dubbed the “blockathon”, the EU agencies have worked jointly to assemble the event, with the premise of discovering the most talented developers. The blockathon will focus specifically on tech applications that enforce intellectual property rights, with the winner entitled to a prize of EUR 100,000 (approximately USD 124,000).

The EU agencies involved in organizing the event stated that the competition is necessary to find a solution to the issue of counterfeit products in the European market. They estimate that 43 million EU citizens purchased counterfeit goods unknowingly last year, with current preventive systems inefficient and working in silos that criminal networks use to their advantage.

The executive director of the EUIPO, Antonio Campinos, believes that blockchain could be the solution to this problem: “The EUIPO is determined to explore the potential of blockchain to interconnect systems and ensure security and immutability of data in order to add trust to our legitimate ecosystem for the benefits of citizens, enforcers and companies alike”.

Prospective applicants have until 30 April to apply.

The idea exists in the private sector already

Blockchain technology has been utilized as an effective tool to establish and protect intellectual property rights since the early days of its development. A number of private sector companies and startups have developed platforms for just this use.

IPCHAIN Database is one such platform. It claims to protect intellectual property through a decentralized system that provides proof of authorship, while securely protecting shared content and transferring intellectual property. It is advertised as serving the needs of scientists, artists and inventors.
Bernstein is an alternative option that is available in the private sector. The platform is promoted predominantly to companies looking to secure intellectual property assets and innovation processes through the blockchain.

 

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EU Urged to Embrace Blockchain Technologies

Vice president of the European Commission (EC) Andrus Ansip has called for Europe to become a world leader in blockchain technology. Ansip said this at the EC’s Digital Day 2018 convention in Brussels on 10 April.

Ansip, who is also European Commissioner of the Single Digital Market, told the convention that Europe’s position as a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) positions the EU to take a prominent role in blockchain technology.

He urged EU governments to invest in blockchain technology both “politically and financially” as it emerges “out of the lab” and goes mainstream as other regions outside of Europe are clearly positioning themselves as business competitors. He pointed out that financial investment would be key and that “none of this comes for free”.

Talking specifically about blockchain technology, the conference’s Blockchain Partnership Initiative referred to “impressive investments in blockchain start-ups” in its preamble. It read:

“A significant number of member states have already started to pioneer blockchain initiatives with the aim of developing and reinforcing local innovation ecosystems and aiming to create governmental services on the blockchain.”

In total, 22 European countries have signed a declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership, including Germany, France, and the UK. A significant project 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”.

Another blockchain project, DECODE, is “exploring and piloting new technologies that give people more control over how they store, manage and use personal data generated online”.

The Digital Day event aimed to bring together professionals from across the spectrum of digital technology and communication to promote the building of a “digitally strong EU”.

The EU has already invested more than EUR 80 million in projects supporting the use of blockchain in technical and societal areas. It promised that another EUR 300 million more is to be allocated to blockchain support by 2020.

 

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