In February and March 2020, B-hub partners in Lithuania, Germany, Romania and France presented B-hub to their national ecosystems, and brought together high-profile blockchain leaders, industrials, startups and researchers to reflect on the state of blockchain development in Europe and beyond. What have we learnt and what is to come ?
What is the current state of blockchain development ?
Blockchain technology is becoming more mature, and is set to provide high-impact applications in several sectors. Indeed, a quantitative data analysis conducted by EU-funded project Blockstart found that the IT, retail, wholesale and finance sectors were the most prone to blockchain adoption. This is because they offer the lowest barriers to technological adoption and present relatively few regulatory challenges. Lithuanian experts highlighted that beyond crypto-currencies, the financial sector would benefit from more transparency and less transaction costs.
We should note secondly, that European institutions trust in the potential of blockchain technologies and invest massively in its development. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, highlighted in 2018 the potential of blockchain.
“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“. Mariya Gabriel at the signature of the declaration for a European Blockchain Partnership (EBP).
The European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), a joint EBP- European Commission initiative is an illustration of the EBP actions. The EBSI works on setting up a network of distributed nodes throughout Europe. Furthermore, it announced that in 2020, it will provide software, specifications and services to encourage adoption of blockchain by EU institutions and public administrations.
What are the challenges ahead?
Blockchain technologies bring out challenges to current legal frameworks. There is no regulatory consensus on the value of blockchain, the legal framework for interoperability of blockchain remains to define, and entrepreneurial blockchain-based projects often fall outside of current legislation. However we should note major advances in this matter, both on the European and national levels. For instance, France Expérimentation is a French governmental initiative that allows entrepreneurs to assess for free, whether their blockchain project presents contradiction with the law. According to the statistics of DGE (the agency that manages the initiative), in most cases blockchain projects can be conducted within the law. But where they do present potential for violation of laws, it is possible to obtain a derogatory document for implementation.
Finally, blockchain is not a solution to every problem. The enthusiasm around blockchain adoption should be qualified according to businesses’ and public administrations’ needs, means, and organisational structure. Further adoption will thus require more understanding of the benefits and limits of the technology from economic actors, public administrations and citizens.
How does B-hub contribute?
- B-hub conducts research on the blockchain business environment, providing an overview of European blockchain startups, use cases and country-specific features. Follow our findings on the News page.
- B-hub offers free discovery&training sessions to businesses and public actors to understand the tenets of blockchain technology and to assess whether or not blockchain solutions can address their challenges. Learn more about our services.
- B-hub supports blockchain entrepreneurs by providing professional, free of charge go-to-market acceleration services to European startups. Applications will open in June 2020 – stay tuned for more information.