The EU Commission will launch an EU blockchain development fund in partnership with the developer ConsenSys, it announced on Thursday.
Called the Observatory and Forum, it will fund selected projects that utilise blockchain technology for up to €340m. The Commission hopes the Observatory, which will have an initial run period of two years, will help developments in blockchain technology as well as promoting European businesses.
In a press release, the Commission said:
“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.”
To support the Observatory, the Commission has formed a partnership with ConsenSys, a startup which primarily develops software for the ethereum blockchain. ConsenSy signed the two-year contract on the 29th of January according to the Commission.
Fintech development has been a major priority area for the EU executive. The Commission has funded blockchain projects through the European research programmes, FP7 and the Horizon 2020 project since 2013 and had announced preliminary plans for the Observatory in April 2017. A report published in 2017 by the EU Parliament said blockchain would “change the lives” of EU citizens.
Thursday’s announcement marks one of the biggest steps taken by any political authority in recognising and adopting blockchain; the Observatory will enable blockchain developers to work with regulators and politicians to understand how the new technology could be used more widely.
Many EU member states have already set up initiatives to further explore and utilise blockchain technology. In December 2017, France said it will allow blockchain for the trading of unlisted securities, allowing banks and fintech companies to trade instantly.
On Tuesday this week, Taipei City announced it had formed a partnership with the IOTA Foundation to use its Tangle technology for its data-sharing smart city projects.
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