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The European Commission is so enamored with Blockchain that it has launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum to help make sure industries and citizens are taking advantage of its uses.

Called the Blockchain Observatory and Forum, it is dedicated to highlighting key developments in the Blockchain space. This includes promoting European actors, and reinforcing European engagement with multiple stakeholders involved in Blockchain activities.

In making the announcement about the formation today, the Commission included comments from a variety of players who will play crucial roles in the success of the operation.

Let’s discuss.

What is the European Commission?

The European Commission was created to promote the general interest of the European Union by proposing and enforcing legislation, as well as by implementing policies and the EU’s budget, notes its website. It is considered to be the politically independent executive arm of the EU.

Among its duties are to:

  • Propose new laws
  • Enforce EU laws
  • Manage EU policies
  • Allocate EU funding

About the Blockchain Forum

The European Commission’s was formed to provide more visibility to Blockchain actors and build on existing initiatives, consolidate expertise and address the challenges created by the new paradigms enabled by Blockchain. This includes as supporting the European Industry, improving business processes and enabling new business models, according to the statement.

The Forum was created as a European Parliament pilot project, and is intended to support the Commission's FinTech efforts.The Commission has been funding Blockchain projects through the European Union's research programs since 2013. Plans are to continue this funding for projects through 2020.

Targeted players

The players that have been targeted to benefit from the Forum are governments, European industry, and citizens.

Many European innovators and entrepreneurs are already offering Blockchain-based solutions, according to the Commission. Major players from traditional sectors, like banks, insurances, stock exchanges, logistics or companies are engaged in pilot projects.

Many Member States have also announced initiatives as they seek to reinforce their use of Blockchain technology.

According to the statement:

The European Commission wants to build on the existing initiatives, ensure that they can work across borders, consolidate expertise and address the challenges created by the new paradigms enabled by Blockchain (such as disintermediation, trust, security and traceability by design).

The Forum will be busy. It will play an active role in helping Europe seize new opportunities offered by Blockchain, build expertise and show leadership in the field.

It will be gathering information, monitoring and analyzing trends, addressing challenges and exploring Blockchain’s' socioeconomic potential.It will also be working to enable cross border cooperation on practical use cases, bringing Europe's best experts together and promoting an open Forum for Blockchain technologists, innovators, citizens, industry stakeholders, public authorities, regulators and supervisors.

The process will be open so that these players can discuss and develop new ideas in order to learn, engage and contribute their ideas.

Top officials weigh in

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said:

"Technologies like Blockchain can help reduce costs while increasing trust, traceability and security. They have huge potential for making social and economic transactions 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."

Another key figure with the Commission is Valdis Dombrovskis. As a vice president, he is responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. He said:

“Among the many technologies that are driving digital innovation, Blockchain has the potential to be truly transformative for financial services and markets. The Blockchain Observatory and Forum will monitor developments and also inform our policy making.”

Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said:

"I see Blockchain as a game changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development. We need to establish the right enabling environment - a Digital Single Market for Blockchain so that all citizens can benefit, instead of a patchwork of initiatives. The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is an important step in that direction."