June 30, 2019

The European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum, an EC initiative, published its June newsletter, which offers an update on the entity's activities. The newsletter covers the activities and events in EU on topics such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. This issue of the newsletter contains reports on the recent workshops on governance and on digital assets, covers the current technology-related issues in focus, and announces the publication of the final version of the academic research paper on digital assets. Prepared by the University of Southampton, one of the Observatory’s Academic Partners, topics covered in the paper include tokens and transactions, fungible and non-fungible token standards, initial coin offerings, and digital asset ecosystems.

The research paper on digital assets highlights that regulators at the EU level have been working on clarifying the situation with respect to the link with legislation applicable to traditional securities. Allowing the "intrusion" of regulators might be considered an attack to the decentralized principles of blockchains that could slow down the impact EU companies and organizations could get from the technology. However, it is believed that this is not the case here, and that appropriate regulation is positive and will benefit all actors. On this topic, an interesting research and development direction is the implementation of regulatory frameworks in blockchains—in the same way that other approaches have explored the use of blockchains for verification and compliance (immutable records for e-government, ownership of real-world assets, GDPR compliance). If the rules of compliance can be encoded and deployed into a blockchain, it would be possible to leverage the transparency and trust capabilities of blockchains beyond the implementation of a closed economic system and into the interaction of these ecosystems with regulatory frameworks.

As mentioned in the newsletter, the issues of interest among the community during the month include the following:

  • Facebook unveils Libra cryptocurrency, targeting 1.7 billion unbanked
  • Italy’s banking sector will boost reconciliations with blockchain
  • Iceland’s currency will be first in Europe to be traded as e-money
  • Russia’s central bank is considering launching a digital currency
  • French retail chain Carrefour registers sales boost following blockchain integration
  • EU stimulates digital innovation by increasing the availability of publicly funded data

 

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Keywords: EU, Banking, Insurance, Securities, Blockchain, Newsletter, Blockchain Observatory, Fintech, Regtech, Digital Assets, Blockchain Governance, Compliance, EC

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