Blockchain has been hailed as the future of technology by many experts and government officials, and the European Commission’s vice president, Andrus Ansip, is the latest to voice his support for the technology. Giving the opening speech at the EC’s Digital Day in Brussels, Ansip urged Europe to take advantage of the opportunity presented by blockchain technology to make innovations that will drive the continent forward.
Blockchain And AI are Key for Development
Ansip recognized blockchain technology and artificial intelligence as being two of the fields which the continent must commit to work on collectively.
This year, I will again ask countries to commit to Europe’s digital and data-based future – with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), digital healthcare and blockchain technologies.
European countries are taking huge steps to digitize their economies, according to Ansip, who cited France as one of the leaders in this regard.
A few weeks ago in France, President Macron presented a national plan to spend €1.5 billion over five years to support AI, and joint projects with Germany. This is exactly the kind of cooperation that Europe needs for its digital success.
Blockchain technology is now moving out of the lab and into the mainstream, Ansip told the gathering, which was comprised of stakeholders in the fields of digital technology and telecommunication. While there is no denying the great effect that AI and blockchain technology will play in the future, Ansip feels that European nations are lagging behind others in investing in these fields and that they need to do better, both in formulating policies that regulate these areas and in investing financial resources to do the same.
And the European tech sector identifies AI and blockchain as the areas where Europe is best positioned to play a leading role. However, it is no secret that we have to invest – both politically and financially. There is quite some ground to catch up. Other continents are moving ahead quickly.
Being On The Front Foot
The European Union has continuously shown a desire to be on the front foot in regards to the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution with measures that have sought to encourage innovation and foster an enabling environment. In early February, the EC launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum whose role is to highlight key developments in blockchain technology. It is also expected to reinforce European engagement with crucial stakeholders involved in blockchain activities.
Various EC officials have shown support for blockchain technology in the recent past, including Valdis Dombrovskis, who is in charge of financial services at the Commission. Dombrovskis hailed blockchain technology as having the potential to be truly transformative in the financial services field.
The EU’s stance on the great potential of blockchain technology is crucial, especially at a time when the market is highly volatile and when uncertain regulations and a hands-off approach by many governments are hurting the market. In some countries like India, this uncertainty has led to crypto exchanges’ trading volumes dropping by up to 90%!
Will Europe become the blockchain hub of the world? Only time will tell.