Are EU’s Attempts To Embrace Blockchain Bearing Fruit?

Nearly a year after when the European Union set up its EU Blockchain Observatory (in February 2018), where does Europe stand in terms of the spread of blockchain industry? It seems to be doing rather well, especially as it was revealed recently that the Senate of Italy has given its seal of approval to an amendment concerning blockchain regulations this week.

Italy’s new amendment is rather poignant, given that it is the first time the country has made a regulatory move with regard to the blockchain industry within the country. The amendment was approved on 23rd January, 2019 by the Senate Committees of Constitutional Affairs and Public Works and is known as the “Decreto semplificazioni” in Italian.

What this brand new amendment does is it provides definitions for basic terms used in the blockchain industry like blockchain smart contracts and distributed ledger technology (DLT). This is definitely a start with regard to Italy’s tryst with blockchain.

The amendment also lays down that the registration processes will be facilitated by a blockchain-based record of data that will have the status of legally validated documents.

If this decree is further approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of The Republic, it will become law and take Italy into a smart, digitized future, where, as per how blockchain expert Fulvio Sarzana (member of the working group created by the Ministry of Economic Development) sees it, there will be a way to eliminate centralised certification institutions and middlemen.

Italy is not the only country in the EU to be taking significant steps towards blockchain adoption. In December 2018, Italy joined six fellow EU countries (Malta, France, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Greece) in signing a declaration that called for the increased adoption of the technology in the region.

Given that the declaration itself was signed at a meeting of transport ministers from various EU countries gave greater credence to EU’s overall influence on and role in the same.

EU’s efforts to bring blockchain technology to its members is clearly working. In April 2018, the European Blockchain Partnership was launched with Norway and 21 EU countries. Eventually, more members joined in, with Italy being the latest entrant in September 2018.

In October 2018, the European Parliament even formed a resolution entitled “Distributed ledger technologies and blockchains: building trust with disintermediation”.

Malta has long been touted a “blockchain island” and Switzerland, a non-EU European country, has managed to attract a great deal of crypto companies, which are essentially based in blockchain itself.

Clearly, EU and Europe as a whole are well on their way to establishing a firm blockchain base in the continent.