The European Commission (EC) has opened a 500,000€ call for proposals to set-up a European expertise hub on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies to better understand the opportunities and challenges related to these technologies, keep up with emerging trends, and “help the EU to stay at the forefront […] and show leadership in the field.”
The hub, called the European Blockchain Observatory and Forum, will be responsible for identifying existing blockchain initiatives, and monitor and analyze blockchain developments and trends as well as the potential implications in terms of risks and opportunity for Europe. It will also develop blockchain use cases of interest at EU level.
The call for tenders reads:
“The European Commission wants to carefully look at blockchain developments with the objective of setting the right conditions for the advent of an open, trustworthy, transparent, and EU law compliant data and transactional environment.”
In a Tender Specifications document, the EC details several objectives to be reached over a period of two years. These include for instance develop and provide expertise, support learning from existing initiatives “notably concerning the role that should be played at EU level and possible specific actions that are needed here,” create an “attractive and transparent forum to engage with stakeholders, facilitate experience sharing,” and “lead expert and public debate by involving notably public authorities, regulators and supervisors.”
“The awarded team will contribute to make the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum an attractive hub for blockchain expertise in Europe,” the document reads.
The forum will also be responsible for exploring blockchain use cases of European interest, notably in the fields of e-identity and e-health.
“Building on existing national and local initiatives, the EU Blockchain Observatory and
Forum could investigate further the opportunities and conditions to develop specific use cases at EU level; and the setting up of a possible European Blockchain infrastructure to support those use cases and other ones of EU public interest,” it says.
“The awarded team will cooperate closely with existing initiatives at the EU level and will search for synergies with ongoing proofs-of-concept or pilot projects related to blockchain.”
An “informal advisory group” of around 10 “top level experts in the blockchain domain” will be formed as well, and two European blockchain events will be organized with the main objectives as to report on the evolution and trends in blockchain, provide visibility to initiatives at the EU level in the global context, and offer a platform that stimulates discussion and debate about relevant initiatives and actions that can be taken at EU level.
The group will carry out between 12 and 18 workshops to organize knowledge sharing, connect existing experimentation and steer policy debate around opportunities and risks of blockchain, as well as measures related to it while the technology and its uses are maturing. These workshops will notably involve regulatory, supervisory and other public authorities.