On 10th of April 2018, 21 Member States and Norway agreed to sign a Declaration creating the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) and cooperate in the establishment of a European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) that will support the delivery of cross-border digital public services, with the highest standards of security and privacy. Since then, eight more countries have joined the Partnership, bringing the total number of signatories to 30.
Blockchain is a technology for promoting user trust. It makes it possible to share on-line information, agree on and record transactions in a verifiable, secure and permanent way. The technology is already being successfully tested, mostly in financial services, and will become more operational and integrated into increasing number of digital services, such as regulatory reporting, energy and logistics in the coming years.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, welcomed the signature of the declaration:
In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. 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. The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.
The decentralised and collaborative nature of blockchain and its applications allows exploiting the full scale of the Digital Single Market from the outset. Close cooperation between Member States can help avoiding fragmented approaches and can ensure interoperability and wider deployment of blockchain-based services. The Partnership will contribute to the creation of an enabling environment, in full compliance with EU laws and with clear governance models that will help services using blockchain flourish across Europe.
The European Commission also launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018 and has already invested EUR 200 million in R&I projects supporting the use of blockchain in technical and societal areas.
What is next for the Partnership?
Since April 2018 the Partnership has held monthly meetings with the aim to develop a trusted, secure and resilient European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) meeting the highest standards in terms of privacy, cybersecurity, interoperability and energy efficiency, as well as fully compliant with EU law. The ambition of the Partnership is to make this trusted infrastructure accessible to support digital services deployed by public and eventually in the future also private actors.
As per the mandate of the Joint Declaration signed on the 10th of April 2018, the Partnership will complete by end of 2018 the identification of the first set of use-cases for cross-border digital public services where blockchain technology can be of added-value. The Partnership will also develop a set of Guiding Principles and Specifications for the EBSI that will be enhanced to be recognised as a reference for development of blockchain infrastructures, and will propose a model to describe the overall policy and technical governance of the EBSI.
In December 2019, the European Commission also started an open market consultation in preparation of the European Blockchain Pre-Commercial Procurement that is looking for novel, improved blockchain solutions for the future evolution of the European Blockchain Service Infrastructure. Interested market parties are invited to participate in the open market consultation activities.
Signatory Countries of the Declaration:
The Blockchain partnership declaration was launched at the Digital Day 2018, and was signed by twenty-one EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK*. Norway was also a signatory.
Other countries have joined since the launch of the initiative:
- Greece signed on 23 May 2018.
- Romania signed on 29 May 2018.
- Denmark signed on 1 June 2018
- Cyprus signed on 4 June 2018
- Italy signed on 27 September 2018
- Liechtenstein signed on 1st of February 2019
- Hungary signed on 18 February 2019
- Croatia signed on 16 October 2019
* in the context of Brexit, UK is no longer an active member of the European Blockchain Partnership.