Countries around the world are starting to recognize the value that blockchain technology brings to the table. It not only has the potential to improve governance and the delivery of public services but it can also help tackle key problems and inefficiencies across many industries. Recently, seven European Nation (EU) members have decided to put pen to paper and commit to the development of blockchain technology in their respective countries. According to the Financial Times, these 7 EU states have signed a declaration to promote the adoption and advancement of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) well beyond cryptocurrencies.
The Mediterranean Seven
This Europe blockchain initiative was purportedly introduced by Malta during a meeting of EU transport ministers in Brussels. It was then signed by six other member states including Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Together, these countries were dubbed the “Mediterranean Seven.” These governments hold a strong conviction that DLT could be a “game changer” for the EU, offering new ways to boost the economies of southern European nations.
The agreement singles out “education, transport, mobility, shipping, land registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare” as key sectors that will be transformed by the integration of distributed ledger based technologies. The group also identified another use case for blockchain technology in governance which involves the protection of the citizens’ privacy; it was also touted as a platform to help improve bureaucratic processes by providing “e-services.”
The Financial Times report states that blockchain tech could provide innovative solutions that transcend digital government services. According to the report:
“This can result not only in the enhancement of e-government services but also increased transparency and reduced administrative burdens, better customs collection and better access to public information.”
European Blockchain Exploits
Europe has been seeking ways to promote blockchain development across the continent. Back in February, the European Commission (EC) with support from the European Parliament launched the European Blockchain Observatory and Forum; a platform for mapping key initiatives and monitoring blockchain development and trends in Europe and beyond. The forum will facilitate the interaction and sharing of ideas amongst members of the blockchain community.
Last April, member states also came together to sign a declaration known as the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). This agreement is expected to enable the delivery of cross-border digital public services while meeting the highest standards of privacy and security. Partners under this declaration also collaborated to establish the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI). Five more member states, as well as Norway, have joined the initiative increasing the number of signatories to 27.
Not too long ago, four prominent blockchain companies including Ripple, NEM, Cardano, and Fetch.AI partnered to launch the “Blockchain for Europe” association; an initiative which seeks to create a credible and “unified voice” for blockchain across the continent. This association will help influence the creation of favorable regulations for blockchain and cryptocurrency in the EU.
Malta leads European Blockchain Adoption
It was no coincidence that Malta initiated the Mediterranean Seven declaration. Aside from its large temples and rich culture, the island is also known for its progressive position on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, earning it the nickname “Blockchain Island.” Malta has been quite persistent with its blockchain development endeavors. Its blockchain strategy includes a series of projects like the migration of its public records and services to the blockchain to promote transparency and allow easy public accessibility, the establishment of E-Residency and blockchain identities as well as the appointment of a blockchain regulator.
The island has also been very open-minded towards cryptocurrencies as it became the first country in the world to officially pass crypto bills into law. These blockchain friendly laws have attracted many blockchain companies, developers and entrepreneurs to Malta. These developments aim to transform the island into an economic super power in the emerging crypto-economy.