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How the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum supports governments, policymakers, and blockchain businesses.The European Union has long recognized the potential of blockchain in spurring digital innovation to the benefit of European business and society in both the public and private sector. Europe has also been highly active with regard to blockchain exploration, from the European Parliament’s Blockchain Resolution to the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP), to the newly announced International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA). This isn’t even to mention the significant funding made available to blockchain projects through the Horizon 2020 program.Early on in this development, European government leaders realized that robust policy must be grounded in sound information and insight. Considering the nascent and fast-moving nature of blockchain, how can European policymakers gain insight into the state and development of blockchain-based solutions in Europe? How can they ensure they hear the concerns and remain in sync with the European blockchain community?The answer: The European Union Blockchain Observatory & Forum, a two-year project launched by the European Commission with support from the European Parliament. The EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum was designed to provide analysis, discussion, education, and meaningful recommendations to foster blockchain innovation in the European ecosystem.Meaningful Blockchain Policy Decisions in EuropeThe European Commission selected ConsenSys and its academic partners out of a group of 18 candidates as lead partner of the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum. As the primary contractor, ConsenSys was asked to set up the Observatory platform and to provide a forum to ensure that all interested stakeholders in the European blockchain community could contribute their expertise and insights to the discussion and ensuing recommendations. The Observatory & Forum is technology agnostic and welcomes views from practitioners of both public and private distributed ledger technologies.Goals of the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum:To continuously work to identify and monitor blockchain trends and initiatives across Europe and the rest of the worldTo collate insight and expertise from the best European and global resources, and to conduct original research to produce comprehensive, publicly available sources of blockchain knowledgeTo create an attractive and transparent forum where all of Europe’s blockchain stakeholders can share experience, debate issues, and reflect on the future of this new technologyTo make recommendations on the role of European member states seeking to accelerate blockchain adoption and innovationTo achieve these goals ConsenSys works closely with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT), as well as prominent academic institutions such as the University of Southampton, the Knowledge Media Institute at the Open University, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences, and University College London.While ConsenSys and the academic partners form an essential core, the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum was conceived as a pan-European effort, actively seeking input from a wide variety of stakeholders which contribute to the Forum in different ways:The Forum’s working groups, consisting of 60 European blockchain thought leaders, are responsible for researching existing initiatives and identifying the potential need for EU action.The Forum solicits input from more than 1,000 EU and non-EU-based policymakers, entrepreneurs, researchers, and professionals who contribute on an ad hoc basis.The Forum also welcomes views and opinions from the public through the #EUBlockchainCommunity online platform.Input from these stakeholders is made available through the Observatory & Forum’s various public-facing activities. These include:Mapping: The Observatory & Forum has initiated a comprehensive, dynamic mapping of hundreds of blockchain initiatives, events, and resources in Europe and across the globe.Analysis and reporting: The Observatory & Forum engages in analysis 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.Education and knowledge sharing: The Observatory & Forum offers several educational resources, including public courses via webinars and similar channels. These resources are available on its website. It continuously reports on its progress and shares news and views through its newsletter, social media, and other communications channels.Events and interactive discussion: The Observatory & Forum holds a series of thematic workshops as well as other events geared to facilitate healthy debate and the exchange of ideas.https://medium.com/media/e70f8e2239fa3973f196101040e637af/href9 Workshops on Key Blockchain ThemesIn conjunction with the European Commission, its academic partners and its working groups, the Forum has to date organized and held nine workshops on the following key blockchain themes:Blockchain innovation in EuropeBlockchain and the GDPRGovernment Services and Digital IdentityScalability, Interoperability and SustainabilityE-IdentityLegal Recognition of Blockchains & Smart ContractsSupply Chain and TraceabilityConvergence of blockchain, AI and IoTThe Forum and its partners will run 18 workshops in total over the life of the Observatory.In-Depth Analysis and ReportingIn conjunction with the Forum’s working groups and select subject-matter experts, the Forum has to date researched, wrote, and published five thematic reports:Blockchain Innovation in EuropeBlockchain and the GDPRBlockchain for Government and Public ServicesScalability, interoperability and sustainability of blockchainsBlockchain and digital identityThe Forum is actively working on additional thematic reports on the themes of Legal Recognition, Supply Chain and Convergence, and will publish 13 reports over the life of the Observatory. The Forum has also published a series of specially-commissioned research papers together with its academic partners, as well as other resources including educational videos, on this Knowledge page.Community AssetsEUBlockchainForum.eu website, attracting more than 33,000 visitorsActive online community forum at eublockchain.mobilize.io which hosts 1,650 active usersThe comprehensive European Blockchain Initiative Map, with over 600 initiatives addedThe Observatory’s Twitter account, connecting 6,200 active followersThe EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum will continue to examine relevant issues facing blockchain in Europe. The Observatory’s roadmap going forward includes deep dives into blockchain and:Digital assetsHealthcareFinancial ServicesCyber Security — PrivacyEducationSocial ImpactEnergy & EnvironmentGet the latest information and up to date news on the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum.Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author above do not necessarily represent the views of Consensys AG. ConsenSys is a decentralized community with ConsenSys Media being a platform for members to freely express their diverse ideas and perspectives. To learn more about ConsenSys and Ethereum, please visit our website.Blockchain in Europe: A Case Study was originally published in ConsenSys Media on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Contis, in its determination to extend its leadership in the provision of award-winning end-to-end banking and payments solutions, welcomes Airidas Puodžiūnas, General Manager for Lithuania. The appointment comes as Contis launches a suite of SEPA services including Credit Transfer and Direct Debit to complement its Visa issuance and processing capabilities and serve the global FinTech and banking communities. Airidas, brings years of proven experience in the payments and banking sector which, combined with Contis’ proven capabilities, will deliver exponential growth and further enhance its reputation as one of the Financial Times’ European Top 1000 all sector high-growth companies. Contis offers an innovative portfolio of banking and payments services powering banks, Credit Unions, cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial service institutions. Based out of Contis’ Lithuania office, Airidas will be responsible for building strategic partnerships throughout the region. Prior to joining Contis, Airidas spent over 11 years at Nordea Bank, one of the largest Nordic financial services groups and one of Europe’s biggest banks, where he held senior roles including Head of Cash Management for Transaction banking. Most recently, Airidas co-founded and developed a new FinTech venture, specialising in loyalty and mobile payments. Contis offers an innovative portfolio of banking and payments services powering banks, Credit Unions, cryptocurrency exchanges and other financial service institutions. Andy Patton, Contis Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, stated: “Airidas brings an excellent balance of senior Executive banking knowledge and FinTech start up experience, complementing the growth ambition of Contis in Europe. We plan to target banks with our agile solutions which will release them from their legacy systems, to become competitive in today’s digital world. Airidas added: “I’m so impressed by Contis’ highly versatile payments and banking platform technology, which out-performs competition, being highly reliable and linked with a history of so many industry firsts. Contis is a real innovator in this ever-changing sector. Contis is perfectly placed to offer European clients a global banking and finance ecosystem that benefits from a fast, comprehensive platform that’s highly configurable and reliable. It’s a very exciting time for Contis with year-on-year growth of 60 per cent. I’m delighted to be on board.” The post Contis Appoints New Head of Central Europe appeared first on The Fintech Times.