This is the official newsletter of the European Union Blockchain Observatory & Forum (EUBOF).
We are pleased to present our monthly update of EUBOF activities.
This edition of the #EUBlockchain newsletter includes a brief roundup of upcoming workshops and publications.
Press Release - Blockchain for UN Charter values and the SDGs action plan 100+ (BC100+) Initiative
BC100+ is a global initiative, under the High Patronage of H.E. Csaba Körösi, President of the 77th UN General Assembly, that aims to join the blockchain ecosystem to the broader efforts of UN Agencies and global initiatives in support of UN Charter values and the SDGs by mapping global ‘blockchain for sustainability’ ecosystems.
BC100+ is an initiative that brings together a variety of organisations across different sectors. The initiative’s main goal is to raise awareness of the potential of blockchain for social impact and sustainability. BC100+ explores the potential of blockchain technology to address systemic issues such as inequality, poverty and climate change by rebuilding trust, empowering communities, asserting accountabilities, and re-distributing value on the global level. With its core features, blockchain technology could play a role in the acceleration of much-needed changes within our global food system, energy infrastructure and biodiversity protection among other issues. At the core, BC100+ intends to promote quality debate, raise awareness and clarify the opportunities of blockchain’s role in realising the UN Charter values and the 2030 Agenda.
In the coming years, the BC100+ initiative will be building a manifesto and running and participating in a series of online and in-person events in various regions of the world in order to inform and gather feedback on the manifesto from various communities. BC100+ aims to also develop a comprehensive roadmap that will address critical social and sustainability challenges and drive systemic transformation using blockchain technology.
Read the full text of the press release here!
For more information about BC100+ please contact Raymond Van Ermen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Launch of the European Blockchain Regulatory Sandbox
Source: European Blockchain Sandbox
The European Blockchain Regulatory Sandbox for innovative use cases involving distributed ledger technologies (DLT) is an initiative of the European Commission. The sandbox establishes a pan-European framework for regulatory dialogues to increase legal certainty for innovative blockchain technology solutions.
Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies are innovative developments and are deployed across industry sectors such as energy and utilities, education, healthcare, mobility, finance and insurance, and logistics and supply chains.
The European Blockchain Sandbox has been set up and is being operated to facilitate the dialogue between regulators and innovators for private and public sector use cases. Legal advce and regulatory guidance will be provided in a safe and confidential environment. The dialogues will be held across industry sectors and geographic regions, which will help to identify and communicate best practices in the interest of the wider EU/EEA blockchain community. The sandbox is open to use cases based on any blockchain infrastructure.
Read more about the application process here.
Follow the EU Regulatory Sandbox on Social media:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/EuropeanSandbox
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/european-blockchain-sandbox/
TRUSTCHAIN is open for applications
Source: NGI TrustChain
The internet has brought us into the digital era, revolutionising our health, our wellbeing, our social life, our education, our information. However, multiple threats related to truthfulness, trust and identity have been identified when people interact in this digital world: delusion and manipulation, personal privacy violation and personal data exploitation, unknown provenance of information, anonymity that favours criminal activity, biases in AI algorithms, the spread of fake news, skills mismatches, and serious breaches of security, to mention just a few.
TrustChain will tackle several challenges pertaining to trustworthy and reliable digital identity, to resilient, secure and reliable data pathways, to economics and the trading of data, to energy efficiency for data storage, transport and sharing, to seamless services and data flows. A new trustworthy data governance and sharing model will be developed in line with the European regulatory framework, taking into account European values while ensuring trustworthy data ecosystems.
Through its five open calls, TrustChain will support top internet innovators (academies and high-tech companies) with a total of EUR 8.8 M, distributed with a focus on topics of:
- decentralised digital identity,
- user privacy and data governance,
- economics and democracy,
- multi chain support for NGI (next generation internet) protocols,
- green scalable and sustainable DLTs.
TrustChain welcomes applications from developers, innovators, researchers, SMEs and entrepreneurs working on different NGI-related topics and application domains at the intersection between the technical field (e.g., software engineering, network security, semantic web, cryptography, blockchain, digital twin, blockchain security, digital identity, blockchain protocol), social sciences and humanities (e.g., social innovation, not-for-profit sector, social entrepreneurship, public goods) as well as any others including economics, the environment, art and design, which can contribute to the NGI TRUSTCHAIN vision.
The evaluation process is composed of three phases:
- Phase 1: Admissibility and eligibility check
- Phase 2: Proposals evaluation
- Phase 3: Online interviews
The evaluation period will last until the end of May 2023. Up to 15 selected projects will participate for a duration of nine months, actively developing interoperable and sustainable digital identity management applications that are transparent and address the needs of the future decentralised internet.
As part of the TRUSTCHAIN action, experts in diverse fields will also provide third-party innovators with technology development guidance and working methodology as well as access to technical infrastructure, training in business model development and data-related topics, coaching, mentoring, and visibility and community building support.
Application are open until 10 April 2023, at 17:00 CEST - You can apply here!
- For more information on the TrustChain open call go here.
Join the CHAISE Alliance
Source: CHAISE Project
The Blockchain Skills for Europe Alliance (CHAISE) opens up giving you the opportunity to engage and contribute to its work as a CHAISE Associated partner. This special status will allow you to be part of different project work streams and will enable to build a long-term cooperation supporting the project goals.
Read how you can become member - there are two membership packages available - and check out the benefits for your organisation and your network here!
Commission presents new initiatives with gigabit infrastructure act proposal
On 23 February, the Commission presented a set of initiatives aiming to make gigabit connectivity available to all citizens and businesses across the EU by 2030.
The initiatives are in line with the objectives of Europe's Digital Decade and enable the transformation of the connectivity sector in the EU. They consist of the following.
- An adopted proposal for a gigabit infrastructure act, a regulation that will put forward new rules to enable the faster, cheaper, and more effective rollout of gigabit networks across the EU.
- A draft gigabit recommendation that seeks to provide guidance to national regulatory authorities on the conditions of access to the telecom networks of operators with significant market power, in order to incentivise faster switch-off of legacy technologies and the accelerated deployment of gigabit networks.
- The Commission has also launched an exploratory consultation on the future of the connectivity sector and its infrastructure, to gather views on how increasing demand for connectivity and technological advances may affect future developments and needs.
NextGenerationEU: Two years since its adoption, the Recovery and Resilience Facility continues to be a central driver of the EU's green and digital transformation
On 21 February, the European Commission issued a communication marking the two-year anniversary of the creation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of the EUR 800 billion NextGenerationEU recovery plan for Europe.
The communication takes stock of the concrete results achieved so far through the RRF's unprecedented double-push for green and digital reforms and investments in Member States. It also outlines further steps for supporting the continued successful implementation of national recovery and resilience plans. The annexes to the communication clarify certain technical aspects of the way in which the Commission assesses Member States' progress.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said:
Our recovery plan NextGenerationEU has become even more than a vital response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years after the creation of the fund, we have already disbursed more than EUR 140 billion and we overachieved our initial investment targets for the green and digital transitions. Now, with Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine and a global energy crisis, the fund has become a key element of our Green Deal Industrial Plan. It will support our Member States on the road to net-zero, with the additional financial boost of REPowerEU. NextGenerationEU has proven to be a capable instrument to address many different challenges our Union is being confronted with. The transformative reforms through Member States' national recovery plans are key to modernise and strengthen our European Union. Speedy implementation should continue.
More information can be found in the Press Release.
European Citizens' Virtual Worlds Panel - A new phase of citizen engagement
What vision, principles, and actions should guide the development of desirable and fair virtual worlds?
Many people believe that virtual worlds, also referred to as metaverses, might bring about change comparable to the appearance of the internet and will transform the way we work and engage with each other in the future. In the last couple of years – and particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic – numerous public and private actors have been investing massively in these so-called ‘extended and augmented realities’, speeding up changes in our workplaces and habits.
Despite this increased attention, such a transformation will not happen suddenly. Virtual worlds will take many years to develop into a high-quality, realistic digital environment, and there is no clear picture yet of what metaverses could and should become.
The EU and its Members States are committed to harnessing the potential of this transformation and understanding its opportunities but also the risks and challenges it poses for safeguarding the rights of European citizens. The European Commission has therefore decided to convene a citizens’ panel to formulate recommendations for the development of virtual worlds.
The expected outcome of the panel is a set of guiding principles and actions for the development of virtual worlds in the EU, based on citizens' experiences, perceptions, and wishes for the future. It will take the form of recommendations addressed to the European Commission to feed into an initiative on the topic.
Review of previous events
Hisstoric First Edition of INATBA Awards Honours Blockchain Excellence with Ground-breaking NFT Awards
The International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) turned heads at the recent INATBA Awards Gala, which took place on 31 January 2023, in the heart of Brussels. It honoured the top contributors, special awards recipients, and most exciting projects of 2023. INATBA made history by presenting the awards using cutting-edge non-fungible tokens (NFTs), offering a secure and unique way of recognising and celebrating achievements, and adding a new level of prestige to awards. The awards ceremony was hosted by Steven Decraene, journalist at VRT News, who served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.
The top contributors honoured were:
- Education Working Group Top Contributor – Katarina Adam (HTW Berlin, member of the Academic Advisory Body)
- Finance Working Group Top Contributor – Max Bernt (Blockpit)
- Identity Working Group Top Contributor – Maarten Boender (Sphereon)
- Privacy Working Group Top Contributor – Giacomo Fedele (DNV)
- Social Impact and Sustainability Working Group Top Contributor – Laura Kajtazi (IOTA Foundation)
- Standardisation Committee Top Contributor – Monique Bachner (thinkBLOCKtank)
The recipients of the Special Awards from the Board of Directors were:
- Special Award from the Board of Directors to a Governmental Advisory Body – Government of Canada, European Commission, Abu Dhabi Global Market
- Special Award from the Board of Directors to the Academic Advisory Body – Dr Milly Perry (Chamber of Information Technology, Israel), Prof. Dr Volker Skwarek (Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany)
- Special Award from the Board of Directors to the Leadership of the Working Groups – Chiara Ventura (Blockchain Italia), Wim Stalmans (The Blockchain Academy), Dimitrios Psarrakis (XReg Consulting), Jean-Christophe Mathonet (FeenPOP), Daniel Bachenheimer (Accenture), Kai Wagner (Jolocom), Paola Heudebert (Archipels), Ash Costello (TechGDPR), Joerg Walden (iPoint-systems), Mariana de la Roche (IOTA Foundation), Gilbert Verdian (Quant Network), Ismael Arribas (Kunfud).
The Most Exciting Projects of 2023 honoured were:
- Award for the Most Exciting Project of 2023 in ReFi – EthicHub by EthicHub, Spain
- Award for the Most Exciting Project of 2023 in DeFi – Folks Finance by Folks Finance, Italy
- Award for the Most Exciting Project of 2023 in Social Innovation – LACChain by the Innovation Lab of the Inter-American Development Bank, Multilateral Organisation
- Award for the Most Exciting Project of 2023 in Education – Meta 511 by University of Nicosia, Cyprus
- Award for the Most Exciting Project of 2023 in Corporate Innovation – Smart Refund by Trenitalia & Trakti, Italy
INATBA used the Bitbond platform and a Blockchain.com self-hosted wallet to create the NFTs and present them as awards.
The evening also featured a panel discussion on the topic Decentralisation: Risks and Opportunities, Public and Private Sector Perspectives. The discussion was attended by a distinguished group of guests, including Benedetto Biondi of Folks Finance, Ondrej Kovarik of the European Parliament, Nicolas Louvet of Coinhouse, Pierre Marro of DG CNECT, Joachim Schwerin of DG GROW, and Koen Vingerhoets of Fujitsu.
Previous EUBOF Publications
The reports below were published at the end of 2022:
- Report on PoW Energy Consumption in the E.U. Proof-of-work (PoW), a technique for achieving consensus in blockchain networks, has attracted the interest of regulators, policymakers, and the public because of its energy intensity. The case of Bitcoin in particular, which consumes electricity comparable to a small country, has also raised environmental concerns. The EU has been perceived by the public as a minor contributor to PoW activity and energy consumption, yet no studies exist to support or refute this assumption. In this report, we investigate the energy consumed by Bitcoin mining in the EU by looking at secondary resources. Using the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, we consolidate panel data on the Bitcoin hashrate (which measures the ‘intensity’ of PoW) for EU Member States between 2019 and 2022, as well as for the years 2020 and 2021. Specifically, we examine the mining activities of each Member State for each month, as well as across each year, and we present various comparisons. At the same time, we use the energy consumption databases of the open knowledge repository datacommons.org to connect hashrate at national and EU level to the respective level of electricity consumption.
- Report on Blockchain Applications in the Automotive Sector. Beyond the world of cryptocurrency, blockchain is finding its way into the automotive sector. Blockchain might serve innovations in communication and data transaction security, component origin and location tracking, and opens up access to an entirely new world of products and services. However, its use in the automotive industry is still at an early stage, and there is a long journey towards where and how the technology can be used best. This report focuses on the research regarding the particular market characteristics and needs, the potential role of blockchain in the automotive industry, and the positioning of use cases.
- Report on Smart Contracts. A smart contract is an event-driven programme that runs on a decentralised, distributed shared and replicated ledger, which can take custody and instruct the transfer of assets on that ledger. In this report, we examine concepts and definitions, the mechanisms behind a smart contract, and use cases. The report examines both benefits and vulnerabilities and reviews the legal considerations and paradigms from regulations across Europe.
- Report on Blockchain and Transparency in the Supply Chains. The supply chain is a complex sector, with implications for everyday life, and applies to a range of products. Generally, the supply chain is an environment where multiple stakeholders coordinate in order to bring products to consumers, and it is not a stable environment. Philosophies change to include new-found requirements and needs, as in the case of the shift from ‘just in time’ to ‘just in case’.
- Report on Metaverse. The term ‘metaverse’ has recently concentrated the interest of businesspeople and regulators with its reputed transformative potential. As we will demonstrate, defining the metaverse is challenging – many have attempted to describe it, with varying degrees of success. Above all, the metaverse is currently an aspiration shaped by subjective experiences and desires. However, this does not mean that tangible characteristics cannot be attributed to it, nor that it lacks a substantial impact. The purpose of this report is to provide a grounded understanding of the metaverse and its potential. At the same time, given that the metaverse is still evolving, we hope to point in the direction providing the most societal benefits and warn of potential roadblocks.
- Report on the EU Blockchain Ecosystem Development, version 2022. The EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum has published the most recent report capturing the current state of technological, market and regulatory developments in each of the 27 EU Member States, plus Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK). The report provides country-level 'factsheets' summarising the state of affairs in each country.
- Report on Decentralised Finance (DeFI): the aim of this report is to define and present the main principles of DeFi. It also gives details about the size of the DeFi market and the concepts of decentralised lending and borrowing, as well as decentralised exchanges and other notable DeFi concepts.
- Report on Blockchain Applications in the Energy Sector: the report provides an overview of blockchain technology in the energy sector. On the basis of interviews with experts, it also examines standardisation activities, use cases in the sector, the status of R&D and innovation, and regulatory challenges and barriers, as well as insights directly from the industry. It also provides policy and regulatory recommendations for the future development of blockchain applications in the energy sector.
- June Trends Report: the report includes latest trends and developments in blockchain, examining markets, technological developments, and updates on the global legal and regulatory framework.
The European Blockchain Skills Strategy builds on over one year of extensive research carried out by the CHAISE partnership—analysing the blockchain labour market and the supply and demand for blockchain skills—as well as on numerous consultations with key European stakeholders.
Led by CHAISE partner INATBA, the strategy sums up the main results of the analysis and formulates a strategy and action plan to tackle the blockchain skills shortage in Europe so as to keep Europe at the forefront of blockchain innovation.
You can read the strategy here.
Are you interested in finding out more about blockchain market characteristics? Read the CHAISE project report titled Study on blockchain labour market characteristics and check out the following:
- Study on skills mismatches in the blockchain sector
- Registry of blockchain educational and training offerings
- Registry of blockchain online job vacancies
Map of Blockchain Education and Training Initiatives
Source: EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum
We are proud to present our new website feature, a map of existing blockchain training and educational initiatives in Europe and the rest of the world!
We invite all organisations offering such training or educational programmes to provide information about their initiatives by completing a simple online form. All entries will be reviewed by our team in terms of relevance and completeness of information and will then be made available on the map.
Users will be able to find training and education opportunities, based on specific criteria, including country, language, type of courses offered, type of certification, etc.
For more information visit our website.
Blockchain Initiatives and Projects on a Map
Source: EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum
Are you aware of any blockchain initiatives or projects in your country? Are you organising an initiative or project related to blockchain?
If so, we want to know about it! To put your project on the map, simply fill in this form. Initiatives include start-ups, not-for-profit organisations, academic research, open-source projects, consortium, government or corporate initiatives, foundations and more.
For more information visit our website