Posted on

+CityxChange and IOTA Join Forces on a Massive Project Funded by the EU

The European Commission formally invited the +CityxChange team to be part of the Smart Cities and Communities Project. The project in question belongs to the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020.

+CityxChange team

The +CityxChange project uses IOTA to facilitate connectivity between devices as a means of promoting “climate-friendly and sustainable urban environments.” Such a large-scale implementation leads to what the team refer to as “Smart Cities”.

The +CityxChange team explains the concept of Smart cities on its official website. The long-term prospects are quite promising, possibly explaining the European Union’s interest in its research and development:

“In the future, municipalities must handle a completely different complexity in society. In order to have well-functioning cities, cities must improve how they utilise their resources and how they engage with technologies in different ways. A smart city will use digital technologies to enhance performance and wellbeing, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.”

The Project has evolved satisfactorily and the experts have positively evaluated it. It not only attracts the attention of technology enthusiasts but has also received significant support from high-level policy makers, universities, enterprises, SMEs, Non-Profit Organizations, etc.

+CityxChange and IOTA: A Great Team For a Better Life

IOTA NonProfit CurrencyThe IOTA team is enthusiastic to see how their network can contribute to the successful development of the +CityxChange project. On the official IOTA blog, the satisfaction of its Head of Business Development, Wilfried Pimienta, is evident:

“Smart cities is one of the fastest growing cross-sectoral arenas of innovation for IOTA. Building on our work and partnerships across mobility, energy or data marketplace, these smart city ecosystems bring it all together. The +CityxChange consortium gathers many public and private partners around an ambitious open innovation and co-creation initiative.”

The consortium project will receive initial funding of 20 million Euros from the European Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020; however, it is important to stress that this will not be the only source of income for the project.

It is estimated that around 10 million euros could be received immediately from partners interested in the rapid development of such solutions. The project is expected to start on January 1, 2019.

Additionally, The cities chosen for implementation are: Trondheim, Limerick, Alba Iulia, Pisek, Sestao, Smolyan, and Voru.

The chosen cities interconect 7 countries across Europe

It is also important to take into consideration that the project interconects 7 countries all around Europe. It is possible to envision global interconection as IOT evolves into a massive phenomenon just as communications did decades ago.

loading…

Posted on

22 European Nations Form New Blockchain Partnership

A group of 22 European nations has formed a new blockchain partnership aimed to exchange information on the technology.

The countries, including the U.K., France, Germany, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands, signed a declaration on Tuesday establishing the new group, dubbed the European Blockchain Partnership, according to a release from the European Commission.

The collaboration is aimed to avoid “fragmented approaches” to the technology by sharing technical and regulatory expertise among member states, as well as creating ways to promote blockchain applications across the EU-wide Digital Single Market.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, stated that all public services will use blockchain technology in the future, and that the partnership would turn the “enormous potential of blockchain into better services for citizens”.

As well as enabling member states to work together, the partnership also aims to facilitate the interoperability and implementation of blockchain services.

Gabriel continued:

“Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and member states to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies.”

The news comes soon after the EU launched the Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February. Soon after, the European Commission said it would host a Fintech Lab to foster emerging technologies including blockchain starting from the middle of 2018.

The new partnership follows a study conducted by the EU last November that assessed potential of an EU-wide blockchain infrastructure.

EU Commission flag 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.

Posted on

Blockchain Is 'Going Mainstream' Says European Commission Official

Blockchain technology is entering mainstream applications, says a European Commission vice president.

EC vice president Andrus Ansip highlighted blockchain technology in a speech Tuesday, calling it one of “the areas where Europe is best positioned to play a leading role” – with the caveat that the continent needs to invest much more in its technology sector. During his opening remarks at the EC’s Digital Day 2018 in Brussels, he asked the EU to “commit to Europe’s digital and data-based future,” noting later that:

“[Blockchain is] now moving out of the lab and going mainstream. As with [artificial intelligence]: we should make the most of this new opportunity to innovate.”

He mentioned the EU’s investment in blockchain, as well as in artificial intelligence and digital healthcare, the conference’s other focus areas. He made it clear, however, that the EU cannot provide sufficient funding on its own.

“We need hard cash,” he said, imploring governments and the private sector to increase investments in Europe’s tech sector.

Ansip’s remarks come two months after the EC took a larger role in encouraging blockchain work. In February, the commission, which serves in an executive role within the larger European Union, launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in partnership with the ethereum startup ConsenSys. The commission said Monday that the Blockchain Observatory would invest €300 million in blockchain-related projects.

Further, the EC announced that it will form a European Blockchain Partnership to “promote interoperable infrastructures,” though no further details are available at this time.

More broadly, Ansip positioned the EU’s investments in blockchain and other emerging technologies in the context of the Digital Single Market, with the goal of extending the EU’s uniform regulatory structure to the technology sector. Part of this push for standardization is the General Data Protection Regulation, which will govern the treatment of EU citizens’ personal data beginning in May.

“The Digital Single Market creates the right conditions and infrastructure for a functional digital Europe,” Ansip said Tuesday. “But none of this comes for free.”

Andrus Ansip image via Magnus Fröderberg / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Posted on

EU Eyes Blockchain Push With New FinTech Action Plan

The European Union is beefing up its efforts to foster work around new technologies like blockchain.

According to a 2018 Fintech Action Plan released on Thursday, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – plans to form a new Fintech Lab in the second quarter in 2018.

The new initiative will see participants from EU-level and national authorities, as well as technology providers in Europe, seek to raise the “regulatory and supervisory capacity and knowledge” around new technologies, including blockchain.

“Technologies like blockchain can be game changers for financial services and beyond. We need to build an enabling framework to let innovation flourish, while managing risks and protecting consumers,” Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said in a statement.

The report identified areas of possible development, including legal clarifications around smart contracts, initial coin offerings, and other jurisdictional issues raised by the tech.

Indeed, the new plan marks the latest move by the European Union to foster work around blockchain within in a regulated environment.

Currently, according to the document, the European Union has already revised its Payment Services Directive since January this year, which requires banks in the region to open up their communication channels, such as API, to blockchain applications that require payment account integrations, for instance.

The Commission’s FinTech plan also highlighted work already done within its Blockchain Observatory initiative, which was launched last year as part of an effort to create a common framework for use of the tech within the economic bloc.

EU 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.

Posted on

EU Official Floats New Rules for Crypto Assets

New rules around cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based assets could be developed in the months ahead, a European Union official said Monday.

In remarks made after the event, European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis suggested that the bloc’s leadership could pursue additional oversight, though he said such an outcome “depends very much on the facts and circumstance around specific crypto-tokens” and that more work will be performed by the Commission on this front.

He told reporters:

“This depends very much on the facts and circumstances around specific crypto-tokens. Based on the assessment of risks and opportunities and the suitability of the existing regulatory framework for these instruments, the Commission will determine if regulatory action at EU level is required.”

By contrast, Dombrovskis struck what appeared to be a positive tone about initial coin offerings (ICOs) while also acknowledging the risk for those investing in some of the blockchain projects which conduct token sales.

“[ICOs] have become a way for innovative firms in this field to raise substantial amounts of funding,” he was quoted as saying. “This is an opportunity, but there are also problems that expose investors to substantial risk, such as the lack of transparency regarding the identity of the issuers and underlying business plans.”

The vice president noted that a relatively small amount of cryptocurrency trading occurs within the EU and that, as a result, Europe needs to work with other G20 nations to address these possible risks.

In a way, he echoed a call by officials from France and Germany, two G20 members who said cryptocurrencies could “pose a substantial risk for investors” in a letter earlier this month.

Valdis Dombrovskis image via Johannes Jansson / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Posted on

EU Regulators to Discuss Crypto Regulation Next Week

A group of European Union regulators will meet next week to discuss the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis said that the meeting would involve representatives from central banks as well as the bloc’s market supervisors. Though unnamed, Dombrovskis said that “market players” would also be invited to speak.

He said at the presser:

“Next week, on [Feb. 26] I will chair a high level roundtable on virtual currencies. The Commission has invited key authorities, including central banks and supervisors, as well as market players to share their insights.”

“The aim is to look at long-term trends linked to virtual currencies, and examine if current regulation is fit for purpose,” he added.

The timing of the event is a notable one, given that some European leaders – including France and Germany in particular – have called for more discussions around the topic. Monday’s “roundtable” also comes on the heels of discussions among U.S. lawmakers and regulators about the potential need for expanded oversight of the market (though other officials have said that any move in that direction won’t happen anytime soon).

It’s possible that at least some of those at the round-table will skew toward a harsher stance on regulation, as perhaps evidenced by the warning issued earlier this month by three market watchdogs – the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) – that was aimed at investors in cryptocurrencies. Whether representatives from those specific agencies will be in attendance is not known at this time.

EU flag 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.

Posted on

Opportunities and the Potential of Blockchain Technology – European Commission

Despite how strong or speedy the general market dip is taking place, the technology which stands below cryptocurrencies is being tested and used by many governments, financial institutions and individuals in a global-range.

Riding the same train, resources are being committed by the European Commission for developments support of Blockchain Technology in the EU forming a Blockchain Forum and Observatory.

And just to know, this is not the first time that the European Commission pays attention to blockchain technology. Since 2013 that the EC is funding different projects through various research programs. We can mention the FP7 and Horizon 2020.

The European Commission has set up a Blockchain Observatory and Forum that will closely follow and monitor Blockchain projects in the EU.

The technology itself as mentioned above is finding use in various sectors – mostly in the financial world. National Bank of Abu Dhabi [NBAD] is the first UAE region bank to use Ripple for completing cross border payment transaction which secures cost effectiveness and higher level of security.

Related Posts

Following up, HCBS, the Royal Bank of Scotland and many more are using blockchain to deliver different services. The shift has been chosen for increased trust, security and traceability.

According to Robert Half Financial Services, ‘85% of financial services executives believe blockchain will have made a genuine impact on the financial services industry by 2022.’ In addition to it, enterprises using blockchain technology have reported benefits compared to these who did not invest in it.

The primary target of the Commission could be to bring all initiatives under the Observatory and Forum so the formation of a patchwork of separate initiatives is deviated.

Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for the digital economy and society said:

“I see blockchain as a game-changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development. We need to establish the right enabling environment – a Digital Single Market for blockchain so that all citizens can benefit, instead of a patchwork of initiatives.”

Posted on

EU Launches Blockchain Observatory in Partnership with ConsenSys

ConsenSys, one of the most prominent startups in the ethereum ecosystem, will work with the European Commission on its EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, which officially launched Thursday.

The two-year endeavor will fund up to 340 million ($425 million) in blockchain projects. The Commission first announced the initiative last spring, citing its desire to expand institutional knowledge of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. 

“As an important actor in the blockchain community, ConsenSys will bring strong commitment to blockchain development, solid expertise and connections with the global blockchain ecosystem, and an entrepreneurial approach to engage with stakeholders and experts in the EU and worldwide,” the EC said Thursday in a statement revealing the partnership.

ConsenSys, a global “venture production studio” that develops software primarily for the ethereum blockchain, was founded by Joseph Lubin, whom CoinDesk profiled for its Most Influential in Blockchain 2017 series.

[embedded content]

Singular focus

The Commission’s announcement specifically emphasized its desire to mobilize the blockchain for the benefit of the single European market, and noted that a primary objective of the Observatory and Forum is to build on existing projects to make sure they work across borders.

Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel commented:

“I see the blockchain as a game changer and I want Europe to be at the forefront of its development. We need to establish the right enabling environment – a Digital Single Market for blockchain so that all citizens can benefit, instead of a patchwork of initiatives. The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is an important step in that direction.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, an EC vice president in charge of financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union, among other projects, who has previously commented on the EU’s interest in blockchain technology, said the Observatory will also guide EU policymaking. 

He praised the idea of blockchain technology, saying “among the many technologies that are driving digital innovation, blockchain has the potential to be truly transformative for financial services and markets.”

EU flag 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.

Posted on

Europe's Executive Arm Issues Report on Blockchain For Education

The executive arm of the European Union has issued a new report on the potentials of blockchain technology in the education sector.

Called “Blockchain in Education,” the European Commission report explores the feasibility, challenges, benefits and risks of applications of blockchain technology in schools and universities. Aimed at policymakers, the study represents an exploratory review of the topic, focusing on the state-of-the-art of the field in Europe.

The report explained:

“This exploratory study addresses the value… blockchain may bring to stakeholders within the educational sector, with a particular focus on its potential for digital accreditation of personal and academic learning.”

The report goes on to propose eight scenarios in which the authors believe blockchain can be applied to challenges in the industry, including digital certification, multi-step accreditation, the recognition and transfer of credits and student payment transactions.

On a concluding note, however, the study cautioned that blockchain applications for education are still in their infancy, stressing that only “fully open” implementations can achieve the real goals and the promise of blockchain in education.

That said, blockchain interest is growing among educational institutions.

MIT, for instance, recently issued digital diplomas to over 100 graduates as a part of a pilot project using blockchain technology. This project was followed closely by a pilot focused on digital certifications and led by a U.S. non-profit medical board group for medical graduates.

Likewise, governments are showing an interest in pushing the tech forward here as well, with Malta’s government even trialing blockchain to track academic certifications.

Disclosure: CoinDesk advisory board chair Michael J. Casey contributed to this report.

EU 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.

Posted on

European Commission to Assess Potential of EU-Wide Blockchain Infrastructure

The European Commission (EC), the economic bloc’s legislative body, is launching a study aimed to assess the feasibility and potential of an EU-wide blockchain infrastructure.

The study, which is set to cost €250,000, will focus on whether blockchain can assist the commission’s objective of creating the conditions for a reliable, transparent and EU law compliant “data and transactional environment.”

In a call for tenders, the EC said:

“This study will assess, in the first place, if, when and how blockchain technologies may help public authorities to deliver European services and implement policies in an optimised way.”

While not providing much detail, the document said “a range of options” will be examined, including existing initiatives at national or local levels. It will further will look at how to scale such an infrastructure at the EU level, and which services might run on such a system.

The EC has called for tenders to conduct the study in a process that will remain open till Jan. 19, 2018.

Binary code EU map 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.