Liechtenstein has signed a declaration to join the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). The main goal of the partnership is to make use of blockchain technology to improve cross-border digital public services. The EBP thus provides a way for Liechtenstein to influence European policymakers.

Ambassador Sabine Monauni, Head of the Mission of Liechtenstein to the European Union, signed a declaration to join the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) on 01st February. The government is actively promoting Liechtenstein as the place-to-be for blockchain businesses and wants to be involved in European discussions around the new technology.

The EBP aims at improving cross-border digital public services

The EBP launched in April 2018. 21 EU member states and Norway signed the EBP declaration. The goal is to establish the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) to grow “cross-border digital public services, with the highest standards of security and privacy.”

Since then, five more member states have joined the partnership, bringing the total number of signatories to 27. Liechtenstein is the 28th.

“The Partnership aims to develop a trusted, secure and resilient European Blockchain Services Infrastructure meeting the highest standards in terms of privacy, cybersecurity, interoperability and energy efficiency, and fully compliant with EU law,” reads the declaration.

Similar partnerships already exist in the FinTech space. Blockchain is for example also a key element of the EU Fintech Action Plan. However, the EBP goes beyond finance-related blockchain applications, as the technology can also be used for a wide range of applications outside of financial services.

“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,” says Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society about the EBP.

The partnership is still early stage

So far, the partnership’s mission is just vaguely defined and has not yet taken any concrete steps. Since its launch in April 2018, the EBP has held monthly meetings with the aim to develop the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure.

By the end of 2018, the EBP was supposed to come up with a first set of use cases for cross-border digital public services that make use of blockchain technology. The partnership is also developing a set of guiding principles and specifications for the common infrastructure.

The goal was to finalize these steps by the end of 2018 and move to the implementation phase in 2019. But it seems this timeline was too ambitious.

Although concrete outputs are still missing, the fact that the governments of 27 nations have declared that they believe blockchain is here to stay and that it has genuine applicability to a range of areas is a good sign.

A way for Liechtenstein to influence European policy

Transnational partnerships like the EBP are important for Liechtenstein. Even Liechtenstein’s Blockchain Act includes suggestions for a common European blockchain approach.

“Blockchain is a key technology for the digital economy. It has enormous potential, not only for the economy, but for society in general. We need a common European approach to guarantee legal certainty. Liechtenstein is willing to cooperate closely with its European partners,” declares the Blockchain Act.

The country is not a member of the EU and thus not represented in some of the European decision-making processes that might also affect Liechtenstein. Thus, partnerships like the EBP provide a way for Liechtenstein to influence European policy and bring in the blockchain expertise it has created during the past years.

 

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