The EU has announced it has earmarked funds totalling €30 billion for investment in blockchain research and development, in the latest boost to blockchain technology to emerge from the continent.
Delivered as part of the Horizon 2020 programme, which aims to invest in strategically important technologies and innovations, the funding commitment was announced by the European Commission this week, representing the latest tranche of support from the EU for blockchain projects and development.
The additional funding comes on top of the €77 billion the fund has already invested in a number of other causes, including in environmental, humanitarian and security fields, alongside support for distributed ledger technology.
The funding will be used to further research into blockchain, including into potential end applications for the technology across a range of industries. The decision to include blockchain projects in the latest round of funding is in keeping with the EU’s previous support for the emerging technology.
The Horizon 2020 programme has already provided €5 million worth of funding from the EU for blockchain projects, with the latest commitment looking to build on these previous efforts. The EU has also previously established research committees to examine the impact of blockchain, and how it can be used across the breadth of government and private sectors .
The EU Commission has been amongst the technology’s most vocal supporters in recent years, instigating its own research, as well as supporting the development of specific applications, including a project to create an EU-wide blockchain database of public company data.
In September, amendments to the draft EU budget bill were proposed, which could see further blockchain projects initiated on behalf of the European Commission, including plans to use blockchain technology as a payment rail across the bloc, as part of a project to role out free WiFi throughout the European Union.
“As a starting point, the project will aim at underpinning the voucher scheme of the Wifi4EU project with blockchain technology, allowing for transparent and traceable payment of EU funds to the private companies, which install the Wifi4EU infrastructure. It will also provide the citizens with the tools to examine the transactions registered in the ledger. It will rely on Open Source software and seek collaboration with Member States for providing blockchain services (also known as Govchains).”