The European Union has agreed to form a new fintech Lab that will improve its capacity in blockchain technology. The executive arm of the body announced this on Thursday along with its Fintech Action plan for 2018.
The Fintech Lab will also look into Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Services, and other emerging financial technologies. The body will establish the Fintech lab by the second quarter of this year and it will engage tech providers.
In a press release unveiling the Fintech Action plan, The European Commission explained it was a result of various consultations. First a public consultation in March 2017 and then a review of Capital Markets Union (CMU) action plan later in June.
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and Capital Markets Union, noted that for innovative European companies to compete globally, they need “access to capital, space to experiment and scale to grow.”
While noting the impact of digital technologies on the economy, EU’s Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel said that “Technologies like blockchain can be game changers for financial services and beyond.” She further stressed the “need to build an enabling framework to let innovation flourish, while managing risks and protecting consumers.”
EU blockchain initiative
EU’s FinTech Action Plan predicts that blockchain will transform the way we handle information and assets. It stated:[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies will likely lead to a major breakthrough that will transform the way information or assets are exchanged, validated, shared and accessed through digital networks. They are likely to continue to develop in the coming years and become a key component of the digital economy and society” [/perfectpullquote]
This gives a clear indication of how the EU sees and approaches the subject of blockchain. Last month, The EU was part of an agreement by the FATF to “improve understanding of virtual currencies risks”.
The EU already launched a Blockchain Observatory and Forum as part of the EU Blockchain Initiative. The committee will seek “to enable scalability; develop governance and standards; and to support interoperability. The guideline also clarified terms associated with blockchain and their legal definitions. It differentiated blockchain technology from crypto-assets which is only one of the many applications of blockchain.