European Commission launches blockchain study

EU has established a €250,000 blockchain study looking at the degree of regulatory intervention the European Commission should take.
By Hayley McDowell

The European Commission has launched a new €250,000 study examining blockchain technology in a bid to understand the feasibility of a EU blockchain infrastructure.

The Commission said the study will look at how it can set the right conditions for an open, trustworthy, transparent and EU law-compliant data and transactional environment.

It will aim to provide a clear understanding of the type or degree of intervention needed and on the opportunity, value-added and conditions for its application in Europe.

“The overall objective is to help creating conducive environments for implementing more effective public policies, easing private sector engagement with the authorities, developing innovative ecosystems and applications,” the Commission said.

“Showing leadership and reinforcing the competitive edge of Europe and its blockchain innovators at a global level.”

In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published a consultation paper in April outlining its approach to blockchain.

It explained blockchain currently does not fit with certain regulations the FCA imposes, so it is considering changes to regulation for the technology’s use.

Similarly in May this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US was called upon to consider regulating blockchain by a New York-based FinTech firm.

A letter written by the company to the SEC outlined suggestions, including publishing a concept release on the regulation of FinTech and blockchain, implementing specific rules around digital assets and adopting a sandbox for firms.

The European Commission added the study’s call for suggestions is now open and will remain open until 19 January 2018.