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EU lays out a new vision of the digital future

#crypto #bitcoin

In three whitepapers, EU officials explain how artificial intelligence (AI), big data, quantum computing, and other innovations can bolster the EU’s tech sector over the next five years.

But while the strategy suggests several innovative applications for blockchain, such as pooling massive European data sets into a shared data market, there are no mentions of cryptocurrency.

Putting people first

The overall aim of the strategy is to set global standards on technological development, while still focusing on personal protection.

In practice, this means letting Brussels' policymakers devise more regulations like GDPR that control the movement of data, and govern how AI can become a part of our everyday lives—from limiting the use of facial recognition software to keeping checks on automated medical diagnoses.

This call for greater control over the digital world resonates with the global 'techlash' and provides numerous potential applications for blockchain technology.

In the data strategy, the EU claim that blockchain offers a way to balance the control of data between individuals and organizations; saving labor costs, and increasing personal control in applications as diverse as traffic data-sharing to medical record-keeping.

"Decentralized digital technologies such as blockchain offer a further possibility for both individuals and companies to manage data flows and usage, based on individual free choice and self-determination," reads the EU data strategy. "Such technologies will make dynamic data portability in real-time possible for individuals and companies."

Though cryptocurrency is not mentioned in any of the three whitepapers, the EU is following a similarly cautious approach with other initiatives focused on new financial technology.

Most recently, the bloc reinforced AML laws in the form of 5AMLD. This directive against money laundering and terrorist financing caused quite a stir, prompting Dutch exchange Deribit to pick up and leave for a less strict jurisdiction.

But 5AMLD, says cryptocurrency regulation specialist Simone D. Casadei Bernardi, is likely to be just the "first step towards the implementation of new, reliable and fair EU regulations on crypto assets."

This new regulatory framework is already under consideration.

In December 2019, the European Commission launched a public consultation on cryptocurrency regulation. This seeks opinions on the uses and classifications of crypto assets and will inform a proposal for legislation that is expected to arrive in the third quarter of 2020.



Kieran Smith, Khareem Sudlow