Blockchain is one of the major breakthroughs of the past decade.
A technology that allows large groups of people and organizations to reach agreement on and permanently record information without a central authority, it has been recognized as an important tool for building a fair, inclusive, secure and democratic digital economy. This has significant implications for how we think about many of our economic, social and political institutions.
As a key component of the next generation World Wide Web, blockchain is also expected to become an important industry in its own right, catalysing new, decentralized, and highly automated digital markets that will create new businesses and be an ongoing source of innovation and economic growth.
As they did from the first and second generation Internet technologies (so-called Web 1.0 and 2.0), Europe and its citizens should benefit from a prospering, blockchain-driven, Web 3.0 industry in many ways. It can be expected to create new jobs, both directly related to the industry and in ancillary products and services. The highly-efficient, multi-sided, open and flexible digital markets that can be built with blockchain should also catalyze new business models and thus open new opportunities for business and economic growth throughout Europe.
Areas where blockchain can be particularly transformative include in the public sector, where it can contribute to greater efficiency and transparency in government, as well as reduce or eliminate data redundancies, while also better protecting data and individual privacy. Blockchain technology can also be used to improve life-essential supply chains such as those for food and medicines by providing transparency and traceability throughout the chain, as well as to improve efficiency, trust and transparency in other important sectors of society, from energy and land registries to health care and e-voting.
Finally, by focusing on blockchain (along with other important emerging technologies), Europe can ensure that it defends its position as a leading location for technological and economic innovation, helping to ensure Europe’s continued competitiveness on the global stage.