In Tuesday, Spanish banking giant BBVA announced that together with four other banks, they have joined the EC’s planned International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA), which could be a legal entity as early as first quarter of 2019.
Also invited and confirmed is a Spanish banking giant Banco Santander. The role of the body will be to promote internal operability, develop sector-specific guidelines and protocols, promote EU standards, and work towards regulatory convergence to support the exploitation of blockchain technologies.
Carlos Kuchkovsky, head of research and development, New Digital Business, at BBVA, representing the Spanish bank at the roundtable said it is “essential to establish a system of governance that aligns the different participating industries and their objectives.”
Kuchkovsky also believes that the EC initiative will help provide more clarity to the “regulatory uncertainty” that currently surrounds the use of blockchain tech. He added:
“Blockchain is not only a technology, but it engenders new business models creating a tokenized economy and paving the way to a decentralized economy in the future.”
According to Kuchkovsky, blockchain and other new technologies, artificial intelligence, for example, have to be understood as simple pieces that make digital ecosystems reliable. In this regard, he hopes that these types of projects will contribute to providing more clarity to the regulatory uncertainty that currently surrounds the use of these technologies.
Nevertheless, he believes 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.
As part of its moves to adopt and develop blockchain across the economic bloc, the EC in April formed the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) along with 27 member countries to support the delivery of cross-border digital public services.
The European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) aims to create blockchain infrastructure to deliver cross-border digital public services. The partnership includes signs by UK, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Ireland. The purpose is to develop a trusted, secure and resilient European Blockchain Services Infrastructure. Also, to meet the highest standards of privacy, interoperability, cybersecurity and energy efficiency.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, then said:
“In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies.”
This new association should have representatives from both public and private sectors with an aim to “garner support from private blockchain and [distributed ledger technology] experts to contribute to outline the EU’s strategy regarding these technologies,” the BBVA said.
The association is aimed to develop guidelines and protocols for the blockchain industry, and promote the EU’s blockchain standards internationally. It will further provide information for the implementation of Europe’s blockchain strategy.
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.
Recently, BBVA completed a pilot that put a syndicated loan for $150 million on the blockchain. The syndicated loan, which involves a group of banks lending to a single borrower, had co-lenders like Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and BNP Paribas. Before that, it also completed a pilot that issued a $91 million corporate loan. The loan was using a private digital ledger and the Ethereum blockchain.