European Commission Invites Banks For New Blockchain Initiative

Blockchain, News | November 22, 2018 By:

The European Commission (EC) has invited five banks to join a new European association to promote the use of blockchain technology.

Called International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications’ (IATBA), the goal of the association is to garner support from private blockchain and distribued ledger technology (DLT) experts to contribute to outline the EU’s strategy regarding these technologies.

During a blockchain forum organized by the EC in Brussels on Novemmber 20, EU officials said that the IATBA will bring together companies interested in exploring the potential of blockchain and DLT to transform digital services at a global level. The association will work to promote interoperability between these technologies, develop sector-specific guidelines and protocols, promote EU standards across the world and provide information for the implementation of Europe’s blockchain strategy.

BBVA and Santander are among the first five banks invited by the EC to join the association, due to their interest and experience in the use of blockchain and DLT. The other members of the association have not yet been disclosed. The IATBA is expected to be legally set up in first quarter of 2019.

At the forum, Carlos Kuchkovsky, Head of Research & Development New Digital Business at BBVA, stressed the important role this common project could have in terms of establishing blockchain best practice and standards and at avoiding fragmentation on a European level. He believes the IATBA is an opportunity for Europe to influence global standards.

“It is essential to establish a system of governance that aligns the different participating industries and their objectives”, which should represent different sizes of organizations and sectors,” Kuchkovsky said. “At BBVA, we fully support this initiative and are ready to get to work.”

In February of this year, the EC launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum. It has already invested more than EUR 80 million ($91M USD) in projects supporting the use of blockchain in technical and societal areas. Around EUR 300 million ($342M USD) more are to be allocated to blockchain by 2020.

In April, the EC rolled out the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP), which has already been signed by 27 countries. The partnership aims to develop a trusted, secure and resilient European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), meeting the highest standards in terms of privacy, cybersecurity, interoperability and energy efficiency, as well as fully compliant with EU law.