Belgium seeks to reboot EU blockchain infrastructure project

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According to the country’s government, Belgium plans to accelerate the development of a European blockchain infrastructure during its presidency of the Council of the European Union in early 2024.

The proposal aims to facilitate the secure storage of official documents like driving licenses and property titles. 

The development of a public blockchain for pan-EU infrastructure is among the four priorities of Belgium’s upcoming presidency, the country’s Secretary of State for Digitization, Mathieu Michel, told Science|Business on Nov. 21. The remaining three initiatives will take on the matters of artificial intelligence (AI), online anonymity and the skills necessary for the digital economy.

Related: German parliament member ’staunch opponent’ of digital euro, all in on Bitcoin

Michel suggests rebooting the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) project, which was established by the European Commission in 2018 in collaboration with the European Blockchain Partnership, comprising the 27 EU member states plus Norway and Liechtenstein:

“That is a technical project. If we want to build a common infrastructure, it has to become a European project and a political project.” 

The renewed EBSI would be renamed Europeum and used for public administration tasks, such as verifying driver’s licenses and other documents across the EU. According to Michel, the project could also support the digital euro infrastructure. 

The official said it is important to use a public blockchain developed by EU member-states, not private alternatives:

“In terms of security, transparency, and privacy, the blockchain can give control back to the citizen of the data that belongs to them.” 

At the moment, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Luxembourg, and Romania have already signed up for the Europeum plan. The head office of the project will be in Belgium. 

The process of regulatory consolidation around crypto and blockchain is moving steadily. In early November, 47 national governments issued a joint pledge to “swiftly transpose” the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) — a new international standard on automatic exchange of information between tax authorities — into their domestic law systems.

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