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A boost for blockchain infrastructure as EU passes Digital Decade policy program

The European Parliament has resoundingly passed a vote approving the European Union’s Digital Decade policy program, which includes investing in a “pan-European blockchain-based infrastructure” as part of its goals for 2030.

The “Path to the Digital Decade” program is a step toward the EU’s digitization aims, including improved data infrastructure, widespread high-performance computing, launching more 5G internet corridors, and investment in blockchain and web3 solutions.

Initially proposed by the European Commission in March 2021, the policy program sets up a monitoring and cooperation mechanism to ensure the EU is progressing towards certain key targets, namely:

  1. A digitally skilled population and highly qualified digital professionals.
  2. Secure and sustainable digital infrastructures.
  3. Digital transformation of businesses.
  4. Digitalization of public services.

The ‘mechanism’ itself will combine a shared monitoring system, an annual report on the state of the Digital Decade, multiannual roadmaps, a framework to address areas of insufficient progress, and support for multi-country projects.

The EU intends to accelerate and facilitate new and existing multi-country projects using combined investments from the EU budget, including from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, member states, and the private sector.

Cross-border blockchain initiatives are amongst those that are likely to benefit, an example being the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), which is a network of distributed nodes across Europe that aims to deliver cross-border public services “with the highest standards of security and privacy,” using blockchain technology.

The first step now for the Digital Decade policy program will be the EU Commission’s first annual report on the “State of the Digital Decade,” which it hopes to be adopted by June 2023, and from which it will decide the best route forward towards its larger digitization goals.

A cautious embrace

The 529-22 vote in favor of the policy program is more evidence of the EU’s embracing of innovative technology, something which it claims is not in conflict with a desire to better regulate the digital asset space in its proposed Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) legislation.

Introduced to be the new rules and standards governing digital assets in the EU, “MiCA will better protect Europeans who have invested in these assets, and prevent the misuse of crypto-assets, while being innovation-friendly to maintain the EU’s attractiveness,” said Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, when the proposal was provisionally agreed back June.

MiCA would bring regulation of services related to the digital asset markets and new rules governing the classification and issuance of digital assets, including ‘stablecoins,’ trading venues, and wallets.

The official vote on MiCA has been delayed until February next year, but in light of recent events in the digital asset industry, lawmakers will likely be chomping at the bit to pass it into law.

Watch: The BSV Global Blockchain Convention presentation, BSV On-chain Ecosystem Development in Europe

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