European Commission Launches EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum

February 01

On 1 February the European Commission announced the launch of a new EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum.

The aims of the Observatory are to:

  • map key existing blockchain initiatives in Europe and beyond;
  • monitor blockchain developments, analyse trends and address emerging issues;
  • become a knowledge hub on blockchain;
  • promote European blockchain actors and reinforce European engagement with multiple stakeholders;
  • be a communications channel to set out the EU’s vision and ambition with respect to blockchain on the international scene; and
  • inspire common actions based on specific blockchain use-cases of European interest.

The Commission has selected ConsenSys as its partner to support the Observatory’s work, following a call for tenders launched in 2018.

This is the latest EU initiative focused on blockchain. It builds on other recent developments.

  • The European Commission has been funding EU blockchain projects since 2013 and has announced it will commit up to €340 million on blockchain projects between 2018 and 2020.
  • It has launched a €5 million prize for “Blockchains for Social Good”, open until 2019. The challenge is to develop scalable, efficient and high-impact decentralised solutions to social innovation challenges leveraging DLT.
  • On 19 January 2018, the Commission closed its call for tender on a feasibility study to assess the opportunity to pilot a EU Blockchain Infrastructure (EuroChain) for the advent of an “open, innovative, trustworthy, transparent, and EU-law compliant” data and transactional environment. The study will start in the second quarter of 2018.
Sue McLean is a partner in the IT/Commercial Practice Group in Baker McKenzie's London office. Sue advises clients on technology, sourcing and digital media business models and deals, as well as the legal issues relating to the implementation of new technologies. Sue advises clients (both customers and suppliers) on a wide range of technology matters including outsourcing, digital transformation, technology procurement, development and licensing, m/e-commerce, cloud computing, AI, FinTech, blockchain/DLT, social media, data privacy and cybersecurity. Sue also advises on commercial agreements and the commercial, technology and intellectual property aspects of M&A transactions and joint ventures. Sue has experience across various business sectors, including the financial services, consumer, TMT, travel and life sciences industries. She regularly speaks and writes about the impact of disruptive technologies and has a regular blog for Computerworld.