The World Economic Forum has created a new working group focused on blockchain co-chaired by the former president of Estonia.

The Global Futures Council on Blockchain Technology will meet for the first time later this week during an event in Dubai. The group’s focus will largely center on the development of “governance models” related to blockchain, according to the WEF.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who served as president of Estonia for 10 years before leaving office in October, will serve as co-chair alongside Jamie Smith, chief communications and marketing officer for bitcoin mining and blockchain services firm BitFury and a former official in the Obama White House.

Notable members of the group include Ma Jun, chief economist for the People’s Bank of China’s research outfit, and Claire Sunderland Hay, head of the Bank of England’s fintech startup accelerator. The group also include representatives from bitcoin and blockchain startups like BitPesa, Everledger, Ripple and Chain, as well as financial institutions like Barclay’s and Deutsche Bank. A full list of members can be found here.

Ilves said in a statement:

“The distributed ledger or blockchain system of preserving data integrity and security is one of the most promising new technologies to emerge in the past decade. Its full potential is only now beginning to be realized. This Council will play a leading role exploring how blockchain can be used to improve security on the internet.”

The WEF has been conducting internal research into blockchain since the end of last year. The new group is part of a broader network of Global Agenda Councils, focused on issues like climate change as well as other tech areas like AI and cybersecurity.

Image Credit: Drop of Light /

This article has been updated. 

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