EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum
The European Commission will launch the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in the beginning of 2018. The observatory will map existing initiatives on blockchain, monitor related trends and developments, inform policy debates and inspire common actions based on specific use-cases. It will become a knowledge hub on blockchain and will represent a major communication opportunity for Europe to set out its vision and ambition on the international scene.
Horizon Prize on Blockchains for Social Good
DG CONNECT is launching the EUR 5 million worth European Innovation Council (EIC), Horizon Prize on "Blockchains for Social Good", open unitl 2019. This prize provides an excellent incentive to attract developers and interested citizens to this innovative topic.
The challenge is to develop scalable, efficient and high-impact decentralised solutions to social innovation challenges leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (DLTs), such as the one used in blockchains.
Research on blockchain technologies
Under the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) research programme, research on Blockchain technologies has been pioneered by a Collective Awareness Programs for Sustainability and Social Awareness (CAPS) project. In addition, the following projects succesfully use blockchains to address the concerns on centralisation of data:
- The D-Cent project develops blockchains for social transactions, as a networking tool for democratic participation. It was the main focus of a 2016 call on Distributed Architectures for Decentralised Data Management;
- The project DECODE creates an alternative data ecosystem. It was recently featured by Financial Times as "redesigning the digital economy by enabling users to control their own data";
- MyHealthMyData project uses blockchain as a key technology to disenfranchise patients and give them control over the use of their personal information.
Blockchain technology is a network that stores blocks of information that are identical across the network. Information stored on a blockchain is:
These characteristics can bring about high levels of accountability. Blockchain-inspired technologies are being widely discussed around the world and are being tested across multiple industry sectors. Blockchain has the potential of a break-through technology, capable of disrupting industry and public sector activities. Blockchain can also be instrumental for addressing the increasing concerns about privacy of personal data.
Distributed Ledger Technologies
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is a revolutionary solution first proposed in 2009 in which blockchain is based. It is a key for the development of new financial applications like electronic currencies and the implementation of fully distributed databases which can decentralise data storage and management. This enables the redesign of an Internet which is less conducive to the centralisation of data in a few proprietary platforms.