EU Parliament Report Explores Blockchain's 'Substantial Impact'

The EU Parliament’s in-house research office has published a new wide-ranging report on blockchain tech.

AccessTimeIconFeb 21, 2017 at 2:02 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:06 p.m. UTC
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The EU Parliament's in-house research office has published a wide-ranging new report on blockchain technology.

Aimed at providing an educational framework for members of the EU's legislative branch, the report explores use cases including digital currency, patent protection, e-voting and smart contracts.

Researchers working for the EU Parliament have explored aspects of the tech in the past. For example, a think tank sponsored by the Parliament analyzed how the technology's ability to secure data could ensure election transparency in a paper published in October.

That topic and others are touched upon in the new research paper, which projects that blockchain could significantly impact society.

The authors write:

"Although blockchains are not the solution for every problem, and even if they will not revolutionize every aspect of our lives, they could have a substantial impact in many areas, and it is necessary to be prepared for the challenges and opportunities they present."

The paper goes on to suggest several possible avenues for EU lawmakers, who last year approved an EU Commission-led task force focused on the tech. The Commission – the bloc's executive branch – has indicated recently that it plans to ramp up blockchain R&D.

The paper encourages further exploration here, positing that regulators could grant legal legitimacy to blockchain transactions – an idea that lawmakers in other parts of the world have pursued in the past.

Ultimately, the paper's authors feel the tech could deliver benefits to EU citizens, even if it proves to be applicable only in certain cases.

"While the most idealistic and revolutionary visions of blockchain development will probably remain no more than visions, even moderate implementation of blockchain may still promote some degree of redistribution and transparency," the authors state.

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