The European Commission has recently unveiled the initial selection of 20 blockchain projects set to participate in its regulatory sandbox aiming to promote collaboration and drive progress between cryptocurrency companies and regulators.
The sandbox initiative, jointly announced by the European Commission and the European Blockchain Partnership in 2020, received a staggering total of almost 90 applications in April.
As a result, these projects encompass a wide range of sectors, including finance and capital markets, telecoms and information technology, global trade, transportation, and cross-sectoral applications.
The projects span five European regions, showcasing their geographical diversity. In Western Europe, there are 14 use cases, while Southern Europe hosts 10 projects. The Nordics and Central Europe each accommodate eight projects, with Eastern Europe having seven projects.
Particularly, there are several noteworthy projects in the field. One of them is BlockStart, which aims to accelerate the adoption of blockchain technology by startups and SMEs from various sectors.
Another project called Blockpool focuses on developing blockchain solutions for the economy, health, energy, social innovation, and creative industries.
Additionally, EBSI utilizes blockchain technology to provide secure and trusted digital services across the EU, including digital identity, diplomas, notarization, and data sharing. Finoa offers institutional-grade custody and staking services for digital assets.
Lastly, Ledgerstate develops blockchain-based solutions for trade finance, supply chain management, and carbon credits. The sandbox receives support from Bird & Bird, a distinguished British law firm specializing in blockchain and digital finance.
Through their expertise, Bird & Bird offers legal counsel and regulatory guidance to the chosen projects while fostering an open dialogue between developers and regulators.
The European Commission stated:
The sandbox will allow supervisors to enhance their knowledge of cutting-edge technologies involving DLT [distributed ledger technology]
The Future Of Blockchain Innovation In Europe
The sandbox forms part of the European Commission’s comprehensive strategy aimed at fostering digital innovation and enhancing competitiveness within the region.
This initiative operates alongside other frameworks like the EU Digital Finance Platform and the forthcoming implementation of Artificial Intelligence Sandboxes under the AI Act.
The Commission considers these frameworks crucial for addressing the growing integration of advanced technologies in various industry sectors.
Furthermore, the sandbox program will select new projects annually up to 2026. An announcement regarding the application deadline for the second round of proposals is forthcoming.
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The goal is to establish a cohesive framework for blockchain technology across European countries, minimizing regulatory disparities. The sandbox will assist the Commission in identifying both exemplary practices and possible gaps in regulations within the blockchain sector.