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The EU Wants to Hear Your Questions About Blockchain

An organization established by the European Commission to focus on blockchain research and development is soliciting questions from the general public about the nascent technology.

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum announced through a Tweet on Monday that it is hosting a 90-minute AMA (Ask me anything) session on June 18, to address any concern from the public about blockchain and the organization’s future plan on the emerging space.

The session marks a notable move by the European Union’s executive arm in a bid to educate the public about the basics of blockchain technology and its real-life applications, according to the session’s agenda listed on the Observatory’s website.

Formally launched in February this year by the European Commission and ethereum startup ConsenSys, the Observatory focuses on developing blockchain-based applications, such as cross-border remittance, that can contribute to the single European market.

The European Commission announced in April that it plans to invest around $400 million in blockchain related projects over the next two years since the agency thinks blockchain technology is going “mainstream,” as CoinDesk previously reported.

Earlier this year, Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank also hosted an online session where he addressed questions posted by the public through Facebook and Twitter that related to blockchain and cryptocurrency.

EU flag image via Shutterstock

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EU Agencies to Offer €100K Prize at Blockchain Hackathon

Several European Union agencies will collaborate to facilitate an EU developer event – what they’re calling a “blockathon” – in June in a bid to explore applications of the tech for intellectual property rights enforcement.

The European Commission has partnered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office and its Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights to launch the Brussels-based hackathon, in which competitors will aim to develop a blockchain-based “integrated solution to combat counterfeiting,” the agencies announced on Wednesday.

The successful team will win a €100,000 (about $124,000) prize.

The agencies estimate that around 43 million EU citizens unknowingly purchased counterfeit products in 2017. However, existing preventative systems “are scattered, often working in silos, and criminal networks use this to their advantage,” they explained in the statement.

As a result, EUIPO executive director Antonio Campinos said, the agency is turning to blockchain as a potential tool to help combat this issue.

He explained:

“The EUIPO is determined to explore the potential of blockchain to interconnect systems and ensure security and immutability of data in order to add trust to our legitimate ecosystem for the benefits of citizens, enforcers and companies alike. We believe a strong networked alliance can be built to secure logistics, ensure the authenticity of goods, protect consumers and combat criminal and illegal activities.”

The intellectual property use case for blockchain was established during the early days of the industry, with companies using the bitcoin blockchain to store and track digital certificates of ownership. Since then, a number of startups and projects have sprung up applying the tech to networks that aren’t based on bitcoin.

Last year, for example, a project facilitated by the American Society for Composers started developing a platform to track the ownership of legally protected musical works.

E.U. flags image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.