The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs (DG GROW) have launched the project #Blockchain4EU: Blockchain for Industrial Transformations, running until February 2018. The project is a forward looking exploration of existing, emerging and potential applications based on Blockchain and other Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) for non-financial / industry sectors.
It aims to identify, discuss and communicate possible uses and impacts of Blockchain and other DLT objects, networks and services within EU industrial or business contexts, from supply chains and assets monitoring, to intellectual property rights and authentication or certification. Its main outputs will contribute to explore future sociotechnical scenarios of production, distribution and use, and assess risks and opportunities for development and uptake, with a key focus on SMEs and on innovation and competitiveness.
Beyond the fintech domains where it emerged, new Blockchain applications are now coming to the foreground. They are expected to provide benefits in communication, efficiency, security, reliability and transparency, such as helping to reduce fraud and counterfeiting, lowering operational costs, enhancing safety and efficiency of transactions, or automating material and digital manufacturing operations. But it is vital to understand the real potential of such applications, and which actions can or will be necessary to prepare for possible transformations and disruptions brought by Blockchain and other DLTs to existing or future EU sociotechnical landscapes.
Blockchain and other Distributed Ledger Technologies are developing very fast. They have the potential to reshape many business models and we notice a growing interest by companies in the technologies. Many applications are at an early stage, however, and we need already to identify areas where the impact may be most significant and discuss potential challenges with stakeholders. Therefore, we are launching this project together with the JRC’s EU Policy Lab to be better prepared to unlock the new opportunities provided by these technologies for industrial transformations and mitigate potential risks.
Slawomir Tokarski, DG GROW’s Director of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing
The JRC’s EU Policy Lab will combine its key competences in foresight, behavioural insights and design for policy to explore and assess Blockchain and other DLT applications. The project will make use of a toolbox ranging from horizon scanning and behavioural insights to collaborative creation and speculative design, through desk and field research, stakeholder engagement, and a series of co-creation workshops with an extended group of technical experts and developers, social and economic scientists, entrepreneurs, legal experts, designers, business and labour representatives, and policy makers at local, national and EU levels.
Download the Blockchain4EU_Kickoff announcement