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Belgium leads charge to renew EU blockchain infrastructure project

belgium-leads-charge-to-renew-eu-blockchain-infrastructure-project
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Belgium leads charge to renew EU blockchain infrastructure project

The Belgian government has announced plans to expedite the development of a European blockchain infrastructure during its EU Council presidency in early 2024.

The proposal aims to enhance the secure management and storage of official documents, including driving licenses and property deeds.

In a statement on Nov. 21, Mathieu Michel, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Digitization, highlighted that the creation of a public blockchain for a pan-European infrastructure is one of the four main objectives for Belgium’s forthcoming presidency.

The other three priorities focus on artificial intelligence (AI), enhancing online anonymity, and developing skills crucial for the digital economy.

The proposal involves a strategic overhaul of the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), initially established in 2018. The project, in collaboration with the European Blockchain partnership involving 27 EU member states along with Norway and Liechtenstein, is set for a significant reboot.

Michel envisions this as not just a technical project but a European and political endeavor, suggesting a rebranding of EBSI to ‘Europeum.’

Europeum aims to serve as a robust platform for public administration tasks, facilitating the verification of documents like driver’s licenses across EU nations. Michel also highlighted the potential role of this blockchain infrastructure in supporting the digital euro.

A key aspect of this initiative is the emphasis on using a public blockchain developed by EU member states rather than private alternatives. Michel underscored the benefits of blockchain in terms of security, transparency, and privacy, noting its potential to empower citizens with control over their data.

Several EU countries, including Italy, Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Luxembourg, and Romania, have already expressed their commitment to the Europeum plan. Belgium will host the project’s head office, marking a significant step in the country’s leadership in digital innovation within the EU.

The latest move comes amidst a broader trend of regulatory consolidation in the crypto and blockchain sectors. In early November, nearly 50 national governments pledged to integrate the Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework (CARF) into their domestic laws.

The new international standard aims to facilitate the automatic exchange of information between tax authorities, reflecting a growing global focus on the regulation and oversight of digital assets.