Use blockchain model to cut small firms’ costs, empower citizens, MEPs urge

Applying the blockchain model to areas like energy use, supply chains and governance would cut costs for firms and empower citizens, said the Industry Committee.

Blockchain transactions are recorded by multiple users, rather than by paid – and often costly – intermediaries. The model is currently best known for underpinning the functioning of digital currencies, such as Bitcoin.

The committee approved on Wednesday recommendations on how to apply the blockchain model elsewhere, so as to cut intermediation costs for small firms, empower citizens and enable the EU to become a global leader in this field.

Citizens could use blockchains to gain full control of their own data and decide what to share, and small firms and innovative start-ups could use them to cut intermediation costs and ensure that transactions are executed efficiently, the approved text says.

MEPs advocate applying the blockchain model to areas such as energy consumption, healthcare, supply chains, transport, finance and the creative industries.

For example, the model could help to monitor the origin of goods, democratise the energy market, and create records such as land registries, birth certificates and business licences with less dependence upon lawyers, notaries and government officials.

Industry Committee MEPs called on the EU Commission to propose a regulatory approach designed to promote different uses of blockchains and other Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) that is innovation-friendly and technology neutral.

To ensure the sector is competitive, MEPs also asked for the post-2020 EU long-term budget to include funding for blockchain-based research and projects. The non-binding resolution was approved by 52 votes to one, with six abstentions. The Industry Committee also approved an oral question to the Commission to be debated during June plenary.

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