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Understanding the Innovation Landscape in the European Union – the Case of Blockchain Technology

The European Union prioritizes innovation in its policies. For instance, recently the EU has launched the Digital Europe Program, which will provide strategic funding to develop digital technology and infrastructure, supporting projects in five key capacity areas. These areas include supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, advanced digital skills, and ensuring a wide use of digital technologies across the economy and society, including through digital innovation hubs and existing blockchain initiatives.

Among existing initiatives, it is worth mentioning the Horizon Europe program and the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI). The Horizon Program intends to finance blockchain research and innovation through grants, awards, and investment support. Areas of innovation include e-identity and decentralized data management, healthcare and education, privacy and cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), smart grids and cities, music and media, industrial technologies, the environment, and the circular economy.

EBSI runs a blockchain-based services infrastructure. Its initial focus will be notarization, managing the European digital identity system, diplomas and educational qualifications, and trustworthy data sharing. This could potentially evolve into a shared infrastructure, with an interoperable ecosystem that will permit the creation, introduction, and operation of EU-wide cross-border digital services in the public sector.

These initiatives encourage discussion between governments and outside specialists, enabling both parties to come to an understanding of their unique needs and the areas where a new technology promises to be most helpful. We are only starting to see how blockchain is expanding frontiers and reshaping the future.

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