The European Commissions approach to blockchain



Hello and welcome to inch blocks urine. Decadent podcast to blockchain ans- mark contracts. I'm will eat. Scuff your host for this week's podcast. We be discussing the European Commission approach to blockchain. And I'm very pleased to have Peters Zilkha this head of unit digitalization Blockchain Digital Single Market Directorate at the European Commission Peteris. You've got a lot of titles. Many thank you many. Thanks for joining us today. Could you please give us a brief introduction on yourself? I'm glad to I mean I'm a lawyer by background. I have the JD degree from University of Southern California before they had a political science degree. And though I've never really practiced their California state bar for almost thirty years now and since Two Thousand and five Florence. My Country Latvia joined the European Union. I've been ahead of unit in the European Commission and digital innovation. Blockchain is what I've been working on and you could say to US sometimes perhaps over used term but It's a little bit my passion. I've been interested in walk chain and tech since about two thousand and twelve so perhaps not at the very beginning but at least relatively early for the public service this is also why I'm The original co chair of the Fintech Task Force. I have my second Co-chair coming from the financial services side. And then I'm from digital single market and I mean in both these areas I'm working in legislation and policy in funding infrastructure and research and managing it as well as working with with stakeholders and international cooperation. So it's an interesting bunch of things to work on. I'm glad to be doing it well. As you sitting the key term as passion because you're effectively getting the job of three other men so very impressive So Peter is As it is customary here at Inter blocks. Could you please explain our listeners? What is blockchain? And how does it work? Well glad to try. This is one of these things. It's a little bit of a communications challenge and exercise. But I mean I would say that. It's simply a growing list of records of blocks In a ledger that are linked utilizing cryptography and generally managed by peer to peer network adhering to a protocol for communication between the nodes and then validation of the new blocks that perhaps gets already a little little technical some listeners. But I would say. It's a way of validating transactions and data in an immutable in permanent way. So that you can be sure that they haven't been tampered with and that you don't have double spending of a value and that you can transfer data along with that value. That's the way that we see it and I think it's also important because some people are I think most of all sometimes negative that they say Blockchain is something that's bad because let's say uses a lot of energy if they take the original crew for work and everything that doesn't do that is is not blockchain. I mean we take a very wide view. I mean distributed Ledger Technologies Hash graphs tangle on these types of blockchain inspire technologies is is blockchain for us. I mean we're not trying to freeze history in two thousand and nine. When the BITCOIN paper was Was published or at some other point. It's developing technology and I would say what is really important is the element of decentralization which is not black and white. It is a gradient going from something which may not exist of completely centralized to something which also may not exist of being completely decentralized but actually allowing a degree of decentralization That a single database or even some federated databases. Don't don't allow so. This is where I think it gets exciting and where it makes it possible for a diverse group of actors to work together while preserving their autonomy. Excellent really loved that. I'm element of your definition of. It's a gradient of decentralisation incidents that's a spot on now could you introduce to us all the different bodies within the European Commission you have the digital innovation in Boston you need. And other bodies within your commission that are here to research enable and further development of blockchain in the EEG perhaps give us an overview where we'll do some deep dive in in some of the sure. I mean starting with with my unit. We're kind of the policy leaders on blockchain as a technology. But we're not. We're not the programmers as I said. I'm a I'm a lawyer and a political. Scientists have other colleagues are engineers but were more economists lawyers people looking at digital policy and in my unit we have the e U Blockchain Observatory in Forum which is a think tank working for us that has a whole set of reports and videos and regular workshops which used to be physical in at least right. Now they're virtually cited We also have the European blockchain partnership that my unit runs. This is twenty nine. Different countries twenty-seven all twenty seven e. You member states and Norway and Liechtenstein. Who are building a European blockchain services infrastructure together. I mean actually building an infrastructure. This piloting this is not testing. We're putting public services on the blockchain justified. We had quite a filtering to see which cases were justified to utilize the blockchain. And this is also something you could call a regulatory sandbox because while the countries and us are working together we obviously have to look at European Union legislation. We have to look at national legislation. Most likely you don't find anything. We're blockchain is prohibited. But you certainly don't find many cases where it specifically allowed though. You're getting some legislation in France in multi in other countries. It's specifically see a root for blockchain Roxanne legally And then we also collaborate with the International Association of Trusted blockchain applications as stakeholders organization I myself I'm in the OECD Policy Expert Advisory Board on Blockchain so we collaborate with OCD with the United Nations and others and In Not Buzz. International position of trusted blockchain applications a global governmental advisory board but also in the OECD activities. In the other activities. We probably would participate in the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. This year I spoke myself in the IMF Fintech roundtable last year. Also you have the collaboration in the Fintech Task Force as I said from our side digital single market I gave a basic description on the other side. You have the financial markets colleagues the call as coming from research in Salon with the financial markets colleagues. Were collaborating on the digital assets possible legislation we just closed the public consultation on digital assets. Hearing what the stakeholders with the community has to say and in another context of the Digital Services Act which is a updating of ECOMMERCE along with addressing the platforms. We are seeing how perhaps smart contract so we have to do something to ensure that there is not any fragmentation of different requirements smart contracts across the digital single market and the twenty-seven member states. Something that we want to want to avoid

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