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Seven southern EU member states including France, Italy, Spain and Malta are positioning themselves as Europe’s leaders on developing blockchain technology to be used by governments.

A grouping known as the “Mediterranean seven” on Tuesday called on Brussels to help promote ‘Distributive Ledger Technology’ (DLT) that is most associated with cryptocurrencies but is increasingly being used by governments to offer services to citizens.

The declaration, cosigned by France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain, was agreed on the sidelines of a meeting of EU transport ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

In an attempt to promote the technology’s use outside cryptocurrencies, the governments say DLT can be a “game changer” too boost the efficiency of southern EU economies.

The group says government services like “education, transport, mobility, shipping, Land Registry, customs, company registry, and healthcare” that can be “transformed” with the use of DLT, whose supporters say offers more stringent privacy protections for citizens and can impose less bureaucratic burdens on government’s providing “e-services”.

“This can result not only in the enhancement of e-government services but also increased transparency and reduced administrative burdens, better customs collection and better access to public information” says the declaration.

Silvio Schembri, Malta’s minister for innovation who is leading the push to use blockchain technology in governments, told the FT that Malta was hoping to become a “blockchain” island in Europe. Malta is the smallest member of the EU.

“Malta is the first world legislator to offer a regulatory environment for all blockchain technology. We are not only interested in cryptocurrencies”, said Mr Schembri. He cited examples including Malta offering students the ability to receive educational certificates and qualifications using blockchain.

Brussels has so far avoided issuing EU-wide regulation to monitor the development of blockchain or cryptocurrencies but has warned national regulators about the risks to financial stability posed by the rapid emergence of volatile cryptocurrency trading.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Mehreen Khan

Quelle/Source: The Financial Times, 04.12.2018

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