Europe’s support for blockchain adoption reached a new height when the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INABTA) officially launched its operations on the 3rd April, with an opening ceremony at the European Commission in Brussels. Participating as a panelist at the event was Mariya Gabriel, the EU’s Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. She addressed attendees, showcasing the current technological advancements behind blockchain, and stating Europe’s commitment to continuing adoptions of blockchain technology.
“Europe must make more of technological innovation,” said Mariya Gabriel, “and blockchain technology is an innovation that Europe cannot afford to miss.”
INABTA brings together participants in industry, start-ups and SMEs, policy makers, international organisations, regulators, civil society and standard setting bodies to support the scaling up of the adoption of blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) across multiple sectors. Participants involved in this partnership will benefit from an efficient and specialised environment in which to further develop blockchain technology. Furthermore, INABTA will seek to establish a stronger link between the public and private sectors, creating regulations that will promote on-going support of blockchain technology, and in the process, provide powerful motivations for future partnerships.
The Director General of DG Connect at the European Commission, Roberto Viola, addressed the inaugural meeting of INABTA at the event in Brussels. He pointed to the number of international organisations that have already joined INABTA’s Governmental Advisory Board, including the World Bank, the OECD, UNICEF and the European Investment Bank to name a few. In his words, INABTA “will truly become the platform par excellence for private and public organisations to interact”.
Mr Viola went on to comment on how blockchain is particularly well-suited to Europe due to the block’s decentralised setup with many interactions across its multiple borders between independent private and public organisations. Blockchain is already in use in Europe, and Mr Viola cited Austria’s use of blockchain to auction governmental bonds, Estonia’s integration of blockchain technology into its digital e-voting system, and the French agriculture industry’s plans to use blockchain to improve supply chains and guarantee the origins of high quality food, naming just a few.
He also referred to Europe seeking to set up the right framework and conditions to enable blockchain technologies to live up to their full potential, making mention of the need for protocols to facilitate interoperability, common definitions, standards and specifications, and providing the right regulatory frameworks to develop trust and avoid fraud. Cybersecurity is an issue that is of on-going importance, as is sustainability, whereby the technologies work to significantly reduce carbon footprints. Viola summarised INABTA’s objectives as follows:
“To promote an open, transparent and inclusive global model of governance for blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies; support adoption of sector specific and interoperability guidelines; establish a dialogue with public authorities and regulators at a global scale.”
INABTA is the culmination of intensive work carried out by the European Union for the promotion and adoption of blockchain technology, particularly since the launch of the European Blockchain Partnership in 2018, and with the campaign to motivate cooperation between states in the development of the technology and between companies to ensure their structures were fully optimised and ready to adopt blockchain. This, it believes, will lead to innumerable benefits for all citizens of the EU.