Not long ago, whenever European politicians, lawmakers and regulators talked about cryptocurrency it was always in a negative way, linking the technology to cyber crime, money laundering or terror financing. Now it’s possible that the trend is changing with a pro-blockchain group becoming more prominent in European affairs.
Eva Kaili is a Greek member of the European Parliament, representing the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), and a former television news presenter. Last week she organised an event at the parliament building in Brussels titled: ‘Spotlight on blockchain: A new generation of digital services’.
The tone set by the organizer was apparently very positive on the potential for both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to disrupt the prevailing economic system. As Eva Kaili reportedly said: “If a bank does not think blockchain is in competition with fiat currency then they likely do not understand it.”
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The event brought together blockchain entrepreneurs and developers as well as established financial stakeholders. These included: John Whelan of Santander, Cécile Wendling of AXA, Franck Guiader of France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers, Urmas Peiker the co-founder FunderBeam, Phil Barry of Blokur, Lionel Dricot from Ploum, François Sonnet of SolarCoin, Thibaut Schaeffer of Provenance, Marc Taverner of BitFury, Heiko Hees from brainbot technologies and more.
They discussed how blockchain technology can revolutionize finance, intellectual property rights, democracy, energy, supply chains, smart contacts and more.
This is just the latest example of the changing mood in the EU. Earlier this year the European Commission announced that it intends to launch a call for tender for a service contract to set up an ‘EU Blockchain Observatory’, with an estimated budget of €500,000 over a period of 2 years.