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A ConsenSys report on behalf of the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum brings some interesting conclusions related to blockchain and DLT (Distributed Ledger Technologies). 

The European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum has set as one of its objectives the analysis of and reporting on a wide range of important blockchain themes, driven by the priorities of the European Commission and based on input from its Working Groups and other stakeholders.

Published at the end of June, this report (available in full here) represents a consolidation of the work of the Observatory between February 2017 and May 2020. One key conclusion is that more and more people and companies are paying attention to blockchain and DLT in the current pandemic environment. There is a lot of focus on practical use cases like how blockchain can improve the medical supply chain, be a matching engine for resources, for data sharing, and similar challenges.

Take, for instance, Modex’s innovative BCDB (Blockchain Database), which was designed to help people without a background in tech, access the benefits of blockchain technology and remove the dangers posed by the loss of sensitive data. Modex BCDB functions by employing a minimally invasive approach. Data migration is a process mandatory for every system which already has data entries. What does it entail? The scanning of blocks of data which are transformed in metadata that will be introduced into the blockchain to ensure integrity and immutability.

“But blockchain and DLT can also help us augment our resilience. Many people are concerned by the fact that large governments, given the choice between mass testing and mass surveillance, are opting for mass surveillance. In this context, blockchain can be seen as a dignity-preserving technology. Blockchain can support multilateral collaboration through computational trust, through transparency and by helping to decrease costs and add efficiencies to processes”, states the report.

Blockchain, an integral part of any innovation ecosystem

Nowadays, blockchain is ubiquitous in the markets and public sector and is an integral part of any innovation ecosystem. Today we are moving from blockchain’s period of childhood into an era of adulthood, one in which we have a clear understanding about the importance of blockchain governance and a clear view of blockchain. “Since its height in 2017 during the ICO boom, creation of blockchain-focused projects has dropped considerably around the globe, while more and more companies are joining blockchain consortia.

This seems to indicate both the expected post-hype consolidation as well as an interest in companies to start to put the technology to practical use. Funding through token sales and venture capital has also peaked, while the smart contract ecosystem is growing steadily”, reads the report.

Blockchain and the supply chain

When it comes to the supply chain, the report highlights that a lot of the legal, regulatory, technological and governance issues in blockchain for supply chain were being discussed before the pandemic. “The crisis has however highlighted how fragile global supply chains are. Of all the blockchain for supply chain issues, the governance ones are probably the most important.

These are not related to the rhythm of the advance in technology, but rather to difficult questions around getting a very diverse stable of stakeholders to sit around a table and agree on how to do business in a collective setting. That said, even in this short period, we have seen a lot of progress, for example in trade finance. There are not only a lot of consortia being formed, but many have actually gone to market and are delivering services.”

According to the 2019 MHI Annual Industry Report, blockchain adoption in the supply chain is projected to grow to 54% over the next 5 years. Given this estimate, manufacturing and supply chain operations continue to invest heavily in innovation. Thanks to its groundbreaking features, Modex BCDB can optimize real-time inventory management while providing accurate forecasting, transparency, better risk management. With Modex BCDB, companies in inventory management can keep a better track of production and sale, thus gaining a competitive edge and consolidating the effectiveness of the business.

Blockchain and digital identity

The digital identity discussion focused on the state of decentralised identity in Japan and in Europe with EBSI. “In Japan, participants were told, digital identity is quite advanced. The government is an identity provider already for individuals and legal entities. It is developing some decentralised identity technologies as well. In Europe, EBSI is building a blockchain infrastructure based on nodes hosted by Member States.

One core component that has been identified is the need for an identity framework for the infrastructure, but also to add decentralised identity to many processes. The digital identity ecosystem is heavily dependent on network effects, yet there is no real incentive for actors in the ecosystem to be first movers. So there is a ‘chicken and egg’ problem as decentralised and self-sovereign identity is only effective if large numbers of people can use it in multiple sectors. This requires someone to move first and make the initial investment, and this is where government could play an important role.”

In Romania, the Ministry of Environment has recently launched the eConsultare platform, which has been developed by Modex using blockchain technology, proving the utility and maturity reached by BCDB software solution. eConsultare, the first blockchain-based platform for e-governance in Romania, enhances the level of trust and transparency by directly involving Romanian citizens and other representatives of the civil society in the decision making process. By harnessing the power of its innovative blockchain solution, Modex has made an important step towards the democratization of the decision-making process by creating a secure platform which facilitates online consultation on matters of public interest. 

About EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum

The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is an essential part of the EU’s blockchain strategy. Europe is also investing in research, innovation and startups through a number of Initiatives including Startup EU. On the regulatory front, the EU is promoting and enabling blockchain as part of the Digital Single Market legal framework and looking at the Digital Services Act to see what can be done to support the mutual recognition of smart contracts. The Observatory has been instrumental to the effort to widen the understanding of the uses and the value of blockchain.