The European Union Has Launched A Blockchain Observatory And Forum, And Here's What That Means

In case you were wondering what that is and why the EU is getting involved in all of this

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It is estimated that in less than 10 years, around 10% of the global GDP could actually be stored digitally through blockchain technology. 

The potential of this ‘disruptive’ technology has been well recognised by Malta. The Government announced the setting up of Malta’s very own Blockchain Task Force in a Press Release published last September to build a National Blockchain Strategy and roadmap. 

This Press Release also mentioned Malta’s support to the establishment of an EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum.

But what is blockchain exactly?

Blockchain has recently emerged as the best known distributed ledger technology: a database which stores a record of final transactions in a network without the need for intermediaries’ services, such as banks. Its success is attributed to the fact that it provides trust, traceability and security in these systems which exchange data and assets.

The EU has sought to involve itself in Blockchain and promote it to citizens for several years, already having invested €83 million in blockchain related projects, and can potentially allocate up to €340 million from 2018-2020. 

Yesterday, the European Commission announced the most hands-on step yet: launching an EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which will ‘unite’ the economy around the new digital technology.

"Technologies like blockchain can help reduce costs while increasing trust, traceability and security," Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said. "They have huge potential for making social and economic transcations more secure online by guarding against an attack and removing the need for any middleman. 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 rollout of blockchain."

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The Observatory and Forum shall map relevant initiatives, share experiences and best practices on blockchain and the challenges related to it, and encourage more open-dialogue at an EU level. The project aims to give visibility to blockchain actors, bringing together various stakeholders, such as regulators, innovators, citizens, and politicians, to discuss and define new directions.

Blockchain has already been used in many different sectors of the economy, and has the potential to open new avenues. It is 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 or government services.”

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Ivanova Gabriel, said that this project could be "one of the world's most comprehensive repositories of blockchain experience and expertise."

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This project aims to facilitate cross-border cooperation on the practical side of Blockchain cases, to create the right enabling environment for all citizens to benefit from. 

The Blockchain Observatory and Forum stems from a European Parliament pilot project proposed by MEP von Weizsacker, intended to support the Commission's work of FinTech.

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