Could Cryptoassets Prevent the Collapse of the European Union?
With the Yellow Vests in France, the conversation about the possible collapse of the European Union (EU) has gained steam once again.
This presumed threat, however, may not be as big as some people make it out to be. The EU has survived many other crises and may survive the Yellow Vests as well.
The bigger issue at hand is not whether the EU will collapse but how the EU might prevent its collapse. One avenue for the maintained survival of the EU may involve cryptoassets. Thus, the steps the EU is taking toward the social integration of crypto within Europe deserves further discussion.
Crypto and the European Union
On June 21, 2016, the “Blockchains for Social Good” workshop took place in Brussels. It was organized by various bodies within the European Union. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss how the European Commission of the EU could use distributed ledger technologies like the blockchain for the social good.
On April 10, 2018, 20 EU Member States joined with Europe to create the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) and establish the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI). Over the next six months, five more European nations joined — bringing a total number of partners to 27.
The purpose of the EBP is to build the EBSI to help provide digital services throughout Europe using secure, decentralized, and private blockchain-based technologies. It is expected that the EBSI will begin development sometime in 2019.
Blockchain Projects Funded by the EU
Cryptocurrency does not seem to be the focus of the EBP. Instead, the EBP is focusing on the development of cryptoassets and their integration within Europe. Two notable examples include:
Decentralised Citizens Engagement Technologies (D-CENT)
D-CENT was a program that lasted from Oct 2013 to May 2016. Its purpose was to gather citizen-led organizations together to develop cryptoassets with two purposes:
- To promote direct democracy throughout Europe
- To empower European economies
Based on this program, a number of D-CENT tools are currently implemented in Barcelona, Reykjavik, and Helsinki. In Spain, Iceland, and Finland, various large-scale projects have also been tested and developed. As well, other D-CENT tools allow European citizens to propose, debate, vote on and implement various policy ideas and options.
Using blockchain-based technology, MHMD aims to give European citizens ultimate control over their health data. It also allows sensitive data to be shared between hospitals, universities, businesses, and individuals more securely, quickly, and effectively than is possible without the blockchain.
Maintained Focus in Southern Europe
On Dec 4, 2018, seven countries — France, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain — met in Brussels. Together they signed the Southern European Countries Ministerial Declaration of Distributed Ledger Technologies. Herein, they agreed to continue focusing on the ways in which blockchain-based technology could be integrated within Southern Europe.
The Declaration also encouraged the European Commission to continue focusing on the development and integration of cryptoassets within the rest of Europe.
The EU has hosted workshops like “Blockchains for Social Good” to discuss how cryptos can be implemented within Europe.
Beyond theoretical discussions, the EBP and EBSI have formed to facilitate the social integration of cryptoassets using distributed ledger technologies throughout Europe. At least two practical use cases have emerged to showcase the feasibility of such integration.
Furthermore, Southern European countries are continuing to push forward for the social integration of cryptoassets.
What do you think the future holds for cryptoassets and the European Union? Could cryptos help prevent the collapse of the EU? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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