To reinforce the work of the European Blockchain Observatory and Forum, the European Commission has launched a call for tender to examine for legal and regulatory aspects related to blockchain-inspired technologies as well as socio-economic impacts of the Blockchain technology (study reference: Smart 2018/0038)

city buildings and blockchain icons covering it

Context of the call

The European Commission wants to carefully look at blockchain developments and its potential impact on society and the economy with a view of setting the right conditions for the advent of an open, secure, trustworthy, transparent, and EU law compliant data and transactional environment. The proposed study will provide evidence and support to back policy approaches and concrete actions within the European blockchain initiative.

Blockchain technology provides decentralized consensus and potentially enlarges the contracting space using smart contracts with tamper-proof and algorithmic executions. Meanwhile, generating decentralized consensus entails distributing information which necessarily alters the informational environment. How decentralization affects consensus effectiveness, and how the quintessential features of Blockchain reshape industrial organization and the landscape of competition is still to be defined and assessed. 

Moving from digitalisation dominated by platforms and concentrated silos of data to a digitalisation based on decentralized technologies, holds great promise for the European economy and society. However, this at the same time is both a challenge and opportunity for policymakers and the development of legal frameworks at the regional, national, EU and international levels.

Description

The study will enquire for legal and regulatory aspects related to blockchain-inspired technologies and their applications as well as for socio-economic impacts of the Blockchain technology. The study/procurement should enable mobilising ad-hoc expertise and to collect facts and figures in a flexible way to support the EU Blockchain initiative. The study should reinforce or complement the work of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, while providing useful and meaningful inputs for the deployment of a EU Blockchain Infrastructure in 2019. 
To achieve the above, the study will address:

  • a comprehensive assessment of the legislative framework for Blockchain use, responsibilities and liabilities; 
  • policy choices and analyse their socio-economic impacts;
  • experience sharing and validation of policy choices;
  • timeline for the development of legal or non-legal EU initiatives;

The study will also identify the stakeholders of the study: Member States and EC institutions, organisations and persons to be addressed during the research process: 

  • identify and list the main stakeholders for this policy area (practitioners, academics, NGOs, authorities in the Member State, small and medium sized companies, startups etc.);
  • identify who should be consulted during the course of the study (as above).

Questions to be answered by the study would include: 

  • What is the problem that is being addressed, its nature and scale? What are the underlying causes and drivers?
  • How and to what extent does the problem affect stakeholder groups/different Member States or third countries? 
  • How would the problem evolve without action at EU level?
  • What are the general and specific policy objectives linked to the problem?
  • What options are there for tackling the problem – including non-EU and non-legislative action?
  • What are the findings of the latest research into the issue?
  • What are the expected environmental, social and economic impacts of the policy options, particularly in terms of benefits and costs (including estimates of administrative burden, other compliance costs and implementation costs for public administrations and other stakeholders)?
  • How should the success of the proposed legal framework be monitored and evaluated?

The outcome will also be used for elaborating, legitimating and implementing approaches and specific actions. They will contribute to the overarching policy and funding actions for the next multi financial framework. They should be used for the EC engagement with diversified constituencies and for dissemination purposes.

Timeline

The tender is open till 17 January 2019 for a maximum amount of 190.000 euros. 

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