In the UK, we are constantly faced with news of Brexit and the pressures of the EU referendum, to be honest, it is rare that we hear of any positive movements within negotiations and deals, this one however stands out as something both important and progressive.
Yesterday, 22 European Countries met in Brussels on what has been called ‘Digital Day 2018’.
According to the European Union website:
“Digital Day 2018 will aim to reach joint commitments related to the digital future of Europe in order to encourage investment in European digital technologies and infrastructures. A digitally strong EU will contribute to a competitive and socially secure society, better public services and security.”
Since discussions began, the European Union have published a press release which discusses the results of the Digital Day talks and discusses plans for the new European Blockchain Partnership.
You can see the full press release here- https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/european-countries-join-blockchain-partnership
The countries that have signed up to the European Blockchain Partnership include; Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK thus far, but the EU have reached out and informed other members of the EU and the European Economic Area that they too are eligible to join.
According to Mariya Gabriel, the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society stated that:
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies. The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”
The partnership aims to establish an environment through which legal blockchain technologies can flourish throughout Europe and are already involved in projects which have seen millions of Euros invested into schemes that are currently supporting the use of blockchain technology.
I believe that the establishment of this partnership not only ensures that member states will be at the forefront of blockchain technology, but it also ensures that Europe on the whole has the power to keep up with Asia and America in terms of their rapid blockchain technology progression.
What might this mean for the UK?
As we are still members of the European Union until the Article 50 process has passed, I assume we would remain within the European Blockchain Partnership. Moreover, I believe there are a number of benefits included within membership. Post-withdrawal from the EU may mean that actually, we are required to leave the partnership, this seems unlikely however as honestly, there would have been no point in signing up from the outset, therefore I expect that this has already been discussed and a contingency plan to keep the UK as a part of the European Blockchain Partnership is already in place.
By working with our European neighbours, we will be able to foster more positive attitudes to blockchain technology in the UK and should hopefully establish some more common ground for cryptocurrency use in terms of where it stands within our laws and of course, where it stands in the grand scheme of things. Membership within this partnership may see our banks and infrastructures develop further interest in blockchain technologies and thus a safer, more simpler industry may present itself before us.
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