How many European companies are part of the giants of the web? Spoiler: There aren’t any. GAFAM, which dominate the web, now they are exclusively American. This is why the internet breakthrough is often seen as a failure. Google, Amazon, YouTube, Microsoft, none of these companies are accountable to European citizens. Even though these services are now essential and used by billions of people every day. From now on, Europe is faced with a new technological meeting: that of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. A question of digital sovereignty therefore arises. It is also a political issue for the EU, which is rather in favor of centralization and legal harmonization. It is in this context that the Developments in the EU blockchain ecosystem “I was born. The report analyzes in depth future potential in Europe.
A blockchain ecosystem under construction
L’EU blockchain observatory and forum is made up of a group of about fifteen researchers. Most work within the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, a major crypto hub. In the 217 pages of the document we discover a rich European ecosystem. In addition to the 27 member countries, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein were also examined. It should be noted that the report was commissioned on the initiative of the European Commission. It is obviously not a coincidence: the commission tries to draw up a complete inventory of the various situations, country by country. The target. the goal? Attempt to harmonize regulatory policies on cryptocurrencies between each nation. This is also the MiCA law proposal (Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Markets in Crypto-Assets).
This harmonization is the key word for central banks, represented by Christine Lagarde and her American counterpart Jerome Powell who met in September 2022 in Paris. It is in this context that the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) was created by 21 EU Member States in 2018. It is the first EU-wide initiative specifically dedicated to blockchain. However, the interest of the ECB and the European Commission in cryptocurrencies is not not without the risk of decentralization. An ideal that bitcoin have been going on for years.
Regardless of these political questions, the research team eagerly examines the economic and social potential of the blockchain. The report focuses primarily on business opportunities and business opportunities. Of course, he mentions CBDCs (central bank digital currency) which are of growing interest to governments. Especially since the arrival of the digital euro is expected for 2025. However, the report prefers not to dwell on the subject and focuses on the already existing ecosystem, built by communities.
Stimulate innovation and harmonize cryptocurrency regulation in Europe
To analyze each country, the team maintains two main indicators: level of maturity ecosystem (companies, university courses, user communities) and the level of regulation.
By cross-checking a lot of data, the researchers have thus drawn up a classification in the form of a table that allows you to quickly visualize where the countries are in the train of the blockchain (see tweet above). For example, the number of ATMs per region (available via this interactive map) is an interesting indicator. The researchers also did an estimate of the interest of national populations based on search engine queries. Finally, they took into account academic interest: the number of teaching programs related to cryptography, blockchain or Bitcoin. One way to measure the legitimacy of these technologies with institutions.
We find that countries like it the Netherlands, Lithuania or Slovenia have some of the most mature crypto ecosystems (in proportion to their population). Logically, we find Switzerland, France and Germany at the top of the table. Other nations are surprising: in the blockchain sector, it is not the largest that is the first. We thus learn that Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia and Malta are all countries they rely on technological innovation and try to quit the game (and be successful). Their modest size could prove to be a strength in the development of the blockchain industry of tomorrow. However, this sector is developing very unevenly between countries. Overall, the northern countries remain more advanced, although there are significant exceptions. For example, Cyprus could very well become a ” cryptographic nation “prosperous. Its geographical location and its political will to develop the digital industry are important assets.
France paradoxically at the forefront of blockchain (and regulation)
“Historically, France has always been a country reluctant to set up businesses. Note the researchers. Indeed, France has often taken an opposite approach to the American view. First regulate and then develop its activities. Since 2016, France has positioned itself at the forefront of digital asset regulation. In the rush to give a legal framework to the phenomenon of ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), quickly legislated on the matter. This was followed by a whole host of other legislative initiatives in 2018 and 2019. Despite this early (and sometimes quite restrictive) regulation, it has not prevented successful business creation. This is the case with Ledger, which over the years has become the spearhead of the cryptocurrency industry in France and internationally. Their solution of hardware wallet it is now used and known all over the world.
With over 160 startups created around cryptocurrencies and blockchain, France has a wealth of young companies with high potential. Another proof of the vitality of the French ecosystem: the number of investments. In all, the companies raised over € 180,000,000 for cryptocurrencies. And while it remains less dynamic than in the United States, the French ecosystem is now booming. The country has gradually become a key player within the EU. France’s strong IT culture, coupled with a sustained effort to support start-ups, appears to be paying off.
Despite its apparent hostility towards cryptocurrencies (MiCAs), the EU is showing a keen interest in developments in blockchain technology. This is a strategic issue at a time when the geopolitical context is becoming tense in Europe. In this context of research of digital and economic sovereignty, the blockchain should have the characteristics necessary to face the state challenges of tomorrow. The rise of blockchain on the continent is real and growing every day, despite the huge disparities between countries. It remains to be seen how citizens and communities will be included in this new digital environment. One thing is certain: the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency will be written in Europe, for better or for worse.
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Fascinated by the history of Bitcoin and the cypherpunk movement, I think citizens need to reinvest in the field of money. My goal ? Democratize and make the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency visible.