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EU Parliament Touts Blockchain to 'Empower' Businesses and Citizens

Members of the European Parliament believe small businesses could benefit from integrating blockchain technology.

The Industry, Research and Energy committee voted Wednesday to recommend that small businesses look into blockchain payment systems in a move aimed at relieving some of the costs associated with intermediary payment facilitators. In addition, an oral question will be posed to the EU Commission about the technology during a plenary session next month, according to a press release.

The committee specifically suggested non-monetary uses for the technology, specifying data controls, supply chain management, land registries and in democratizing the energy market, according to the release.

Committee member Eva Kaili, who reported on the meeting, said the technology is “cutting-edge,” adding:

“Today the Industry Committee voted univocally in favour of a forward-looking technology that we expect to change the quality of our life, empower SMEs and improve business models in most industrial sectors … and we aspire to make EU the global leader in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

According to the release, the members have called on the EU Commission to set regulatory rules for various blockchain use cases that are “innovation-friendly and technology neutral.” They have also asked to include funding for emerging blockchain projects in the post-2020 EU long-term budget .

Speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference Monday, Kaili noted that the EU was beginning to encourage blockchain adoption, saying “in the next few years we’ll have harmonization, sandboxes and regulation.” That being said, she further noted that “It’s really difficult to educate every politician on blockchain technology … And plus we don’t have too many scientists within the European Parliament.”

EU Parliament office image via Shutterstock

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China's State Media: Blockchain Needs Regulation to Grow

People’s Daily, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is calling for domestic regulation as part of an effort to foster the development of blockchain technology.

In a full-page feature entitled “Three Questions to Blockchain” published Monday, the CCP’s official media doubled down on the government’s commitment to supporting the use of the technology, while also warning about the growing risk associated with some of its use cases.

The report reads:

“Blockchain technology is still very immature. We must be cautious about speculation on this concept and separate technology-based innovations from those with a fund-raising purpose. In order to better promote and utilize the blockchain technology, the government should implement strengthened policies and regulations.”

The article further gives elaborate explanations on blockchain’s applications in various industries such financial services, charity, anti-counterfeit and financial regulation.

It marks a notable move by China’s official mainstream media to bring blockchain to the public’s attention while staying in line with the country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, which has ordered a ban on domestic initial coin offerings.

In an interview with the People’s Daily, Hu Danqing, a technology product specialist from Alibaba’s Ant Financial Service said: “Most of the current blockchain hype is focusing on fundraising and speculation instead of genuinely solving real-world problems with the blockchain technology.”

Hu further suggested that regulators should be more proactive in stepping up its efforts to initiate frameworks that help the public to distinguish technology innovations from those with a fund-raising substance.

People’s Daily Online image via Shutterstock

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SIA Group, R3 Team Up for Blockchain Finance App Network

Technology infrastructure provider SIA Group and distributed ledger technology (DLT) consortium R3 have teamed up in an effort to get banks and corporates using blockchain applications.

Under the partnership, so called CordDapps – blockchain apps based on R3’s Corda technology – will be available for clients over a new “secure and protected” 600 node network to be built by SIA. The project is expected to go live from Q1 2018, according to a press release.

Massimo Arrighetti, CEO of SIA Group, said;

“We will integrate on SIAchain, which rests on roughly 600 nodes of the SIAnet network throughout Europe, the most advanced technologies available and we will develop innovative applications for financial institutions, corporates and public sector.”

Applications built on Corda use common code and protocols that allow interoperability, according to R3.

David E. Rutter, R3’s CEO, said, “We are growing a diverse ecosystem of interoperable applications on the platform, each providing a unique solution to the challenges faced by financial market participants.”

Connecting with existing networks such as SIAnet has the potential to help speed up adoption of DLT across the financial industry, he added.

Network image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.