European Blockchain Sandbox Announces Inaugural Cohort Exploring Blockchain Technology
The European Blockchain Sandbox has revealed its first cohort consisting of 20 projects aimed at exploring the potential applications of blockchain technology in the region. These selected projects will benefit from regulatory and compliance guidance provided by a diverse group of European Union regulators, each specializing in the respective industries relevant to the projects. The use cases span multiple sectors, including transportation, culture, food, education, manufacturing, finance, and telecommunications.
The projects have been evenly distributed throughout the region, with Western Europe accommodating 14 initiatives, while central Europe, the Nordics, Eastern Europe, and Southern Europe each hosting eight, ten, and seven projects, respectively. The stringent selection process resulted in 20 projects being chosen out of more than 90 firms expressing interest in participating. Firms that met the criteria but did not make the final cut will have the opportunity to be waitlisted and apply for future cohorts.
20 projects selected to receive regulatory guidance from EU regulators across various industries
The European Blockchain Sandbox plans to run three cohorts, supporting 20 initiatives in each iteration. The second and third cohorts are scheduled for 2024 and 2025, respectively. Successful use cases will enter into “confidential dialogues” with regulators to navigate operating within existing regulations, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among participating regulators. The European Commission aims to identify best practices based on the lessons learned from this initiative.
Sandbox to foster knowledge sharing, identify best practices, and collaborate with EU Digital Finance and AI sandboxes
The progress of the European Blockchain Sandbox will be shared with the EU Digital Finance Platform and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sandbox, in accordance with incoming legislation. This collaboration is vital in addressing the increasing convergence of innovative technologies in various use cases. Additionally, at the end of each year, a prize will be awarded to the regulator recognized as the most innovative, with the stewardship of the law firm Bird & Bird overseeing the process.
Blockchain adoption in the EU has been prominent since its introduction in 2009, spanning across multiple sectors. Administrators in the region are leveraging blockchain technology to enhance processes, including exploring the potential of a retail central bank digital currency (CBDC). Furthermore, EU banks are exploring blockchain for interbank settlements, utilizing deposit tokens and other digital assets. To regulate participants in the sector and mitigate associated risks, the EU introduced the Markets in Crypto Asset (MiCA) law.