Off and running
All great journeys, it has famously been said, start with a first step. So in this edition of the #EUBlockchain newsletter, we'd like to bring you up-to-date on the launch of our platform and some of the Observatory and Forum's early activities, including our initial workshops and the status of the first reports.
As always, if you want to monitor the conversation or have your say, you are invited to join our online community. We look forward to seeing you there!
A platform for all
A main goal of the Observatory and Forum is to provide a platform for debate and knowledge sharing. Here we've achieved several milestones:
- Online community. As mentioned above, we have launched an online community at eublockchain.mobilize.io. Conversation covers all aspects of blockchain in Europe. Discussion channels currently include innovation, GDPR and data policy in general, government services and identity, and scalability and interoperability. The community already counts over 700 members, but there is plenty of room for more, so if you're not yet registered, we encourage you to do so.
- Website. In May, we launched the new design of our website at eublockchainforum.eu. Here too you will find the running bits of news and views as well as our reports, educational materials, an ever-growing collection of FAQs, and other resources all around blockchain in Europe.
- EU Blockchain Map. We also released the genesis version of the EU Blockchain Map . The initiative is intended to support a better understanding of the blockchain technology and innovation landscape by dynamically mapping existing blockchain projects, initiatives and events in Europe. The map is being crowdsourced, so if you have a project or initiative, be sure to add it. The process happens easily using this form.
- Ask me anything. On Monday, June 18 we ran our first online "Ask Me Anything" Session for all those who want to know more about blockchain. As the name implied, questions were accepted – and answered – on and any all blockchain-related topics. If you missed it, the video is available on our YouTube channel.
Getting to work
Another goal of the Observatory and Forum is to explore blockchain in Europe in all its aspects. Here too we achieved a number of important milestones.
- Working groups. One of the main means by which the Observatory and Forum will carry out its work is through its two working groups - "Blockchain Policy and Framework Conditions" and "Use Cases and Transition Scenarios". The working groups identify and research existing blockchain initiatives within the EU and in other countries and seek to draw lessons and formulate potential areas for action at European level. Each group consists of 30 thought leaders chosen from the more than 350 applications received during the open call for contributors that took place between March 15 and April 9, 2018. More about the working groups here.
- Defining themes. We have also drafted an initial list of themes to be researched in details by the Observatory & Forum. As blockchain technology changes quickly, this list is not set in stone. But for now, the draft list of themes includes:
- Blockchain innovation in Europe
- GDPR, data policy and compliance
- Government services and digital identity (including legacy aspects)
- Scalability, interoperability and sustainability
- Use cases in financial services
- Legal recognition of blockchain registries and smart contracts
- Use cases in energy and environment sectors
- Tokenization of physical assets and IOT
- Launch and trading of utility tokens
- Use cases in the education and non-profit sectors
- Blockchain and cybersecurity
- Producing content. The Observatory and Forum is also keen to delve deeply into its subjects. We have two academic papers in the works, one on GDPR by the University of Southampton (can be downloaded here), and one on Government services and digital identity by the Knowledge Media Institute at the Open University (you can follow progress in our online forum). Along with the academic reports, we will be producing 13 "thematic" reports, which provide broad overviews of the various themes geared more to the general public. The first thematic report, on blockchain innovation in Europe, should be available within the next few days here.
Last but not least, we held our first three European-wide workshops. Open to working group members and selected invitees, the workshops also provide a forum to delve more deeply into topics and provide comment and input for the reports. As of this newsletter, we have held three workshops. Here are the details:
Blockchain Innovation in Europe - Vienna
The grand, stately city hall in the center of Vienna may stand as an elegant reminder of Europe's long history, but on May 22 it also hosted a look into Europe's future as the site of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum's first workshop.
Under the motto "Blockchain innovation in Europe", the Observatory and Forum invited members of its two Working Groups as well as selected thought leaders to examine the state of the blockchain industry in Europe, explore Europe's strengths but also uncover and suggest remedies for its weaknesses.
GDPR - Brussels
The General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force in the EU on May 25, is one of the most sweeping pieces of data protection and dissemination legislation in Europe in a generation.
On June 8, the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum held a workshop to examine the tensions and correlations between blockchain technology and GDPR, and to provide as far as possible some guidance to technologists, lawyers, entrepreneurs and citizens looking to understand the implications of GDPR on the nascent blockchain industry.
Government Services and Digital Identity – Brussels
Blockchain technology has the potential to transform an almost list of industries and sectors. Government is no exception. On July 5 the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum held a workshop in Brussels to take a close look at blockchain in government services as well as the intimately connected, and highly important, issue of digital identity.
Upcoming events and next steps
In September, we will be covering our fourth theme: Scalability, interoperability and sustainability. Join the discussion happening in the dedicated channel on eublockchain.mobilize.io and be alerted when our next workshop will be announced.
None of this would have been possible without the active contribution of many of you.
The EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum