Category Archives: European Regional Development Fund

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Aragon Government Invests $13 Million Into Industry 4.0 Development

Earlier this week, local news outlet La Vanguardia reported a USD 13 million fund allocation by the Government of Aragon for the development of emerging technologies, including blockchain.

The source reports that the sum was co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and was double the amount initially intended in the original plan, hence, meeting the needs of up to 320 Argonese companies.

According to the news outlet, the specific objectives of the program dubbed Aragón Industria 4.0 under the Strategy of Economic and Industrial Promotion of Aragon 2017-2019 initiative, were designed to explore concepts and applications of emerging technologies in the industry 4.0 such as artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology as well as promote synergistic tech companies’ growth within its industrial sector.

Moreover, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) will be given an opportunity through the program to incorporate digitalization into their processes.

Blockchain exploration in Spain has had tremendous successes, and more ambitious prospects for blockchain within the country continue to spring up. Developments had included the proposed use of blockchain in resolving corruption and fraud within its economic system., the exploration of the distributed ledger use case in the logistics industry. In finance, a clear distinction was the successful completion of a USD 150 million syndicated loan through the blockchain. More exploits have covered other areas including agriculture, and the energy industry.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for Spain to mark its territory in the blockchain industry and also in other emerging technologies as it scales up funding into research and development, and attempts an SME inclusion system for the industry.

Other governments and institutes seem not to be slacking in the pursuit of prospects within the blockchain industry. Most nations and non-government related funds have invested large sums for research purposes into the emerging technology of blockchain.

Last year, the Chinese government was reportedly involved in blockchain related funding despite their stance on cryptocurrencies. One specific event that stood out was a USD 1.6 billion investment into startups by a blockchain fund and co-sponsored by the government of Shenzhen.

As nations and tech companies continue to race to become an all-encompassing entity on the subject of blockchain and other emerging technologies, the frontier of blockchain continues to expand while adoption slowly gains traction.

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Spain Vows to Tackle Corruption and Fraud with Blockchain and AI

Spain is amending its anti-corruption laws and updating its existing Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) measures by developing blockchain and AI solutions, writes Cointelegraph.

Since the OECD measures came into force in 2015, Spain has continued to struggle with high-profile corruption scandals, marking a period of 18 months in 2016/2018 with 1,379 officials prosecuted for corruption.

Again this year, the Gurtel scandal in May saw another 29 officials convicted, finally resulting in the ousting of Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy. The High Court stated that Spain’s Popular Party (PP) participated in “…an authentic and efficient system of institutional corruption via mechanisms to manipulate public tenders at the national, regional and local level.”

In order to combat the recent surge of corruption, Angel Gurría, OECD secretary-general, has suggested that “integrity, transparency and the fight against corruption have to be part of the culture. They have to be taught as fundamental values”.

In February, the EU invested more than EUR 80 million into projects. As a member of the European Blockchain Partnership with other members, Spain is developing blockchain and AI applications to fight digital crime and cooperate on developing blockchain projects. Along with Spain, 21 European countries signed the declaration earlier this year to establish the partnership, including other EU nations Germany, France, and the UK.

Spain is further stepping up its fight against corruption in the cryptocurrency space with another project supported by the European Regional Development Fund. In order to add more clarity to tracking crypto transactions and clamp down on fraud, a Spanish blockchain company is working on an Ethereum-based programme which eliminates the need for intermediaries, as it transfers verified tracked funds using electronic time stamps and certified electronic delivery services.

Researchers from the University of Valladolid have developed an AI application which is an ingenious early warning system which calculates the probability of corruption in Spanish provinces. The system calculates data from various sources as to where corruption has taken place historically over a period of 12 years, between 2000 and 2012. It then predicts public corruption based on economic and political factors.

In a positive development for the country, Spain’s Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) or National Securities Market Commission, recently stated that investment funds could interact with Bitcoin, which has given a significant boost to the Spanish market in terms of giving more credibility to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The EU promised that another EUR 300 million more is to be allocated to blockchain support by 2020.

 

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