In a move seen by many as a boost to blockchain industry, the European Union (EU) appears to be gearing for crypto mainstream adoption after launching the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA). The charter was signed during a ceremony in Brussels on April 4.
Formed last month, INATBA is a brainchild of the EU’s European Blockchain Partnership that aims at “supporting interoperability, developing specifications, promoting standards and regulatory convergence to support the development and exploitation of innovative blockchain technologies.”
The creation of association was announced by Mariya Gabriel who is the European Commissioner, and Roberto Viola; the EC Director General. Already the initiative has seen the support of high profile firms that are also eyeing the blockchain industry. Over 100 firms, including Deutsche Telekom, IBM and Accenture have signed the charter.
INATBA Launching Ceremony
During the launch, Gabriel articulated EU’s position in supporting the blockchain technology and its role in instilling trust in an evolving and complex economy.
“In today’s economy, there is less and less time to build trust in the way it happened in the past. To fight cancer, to balance renewable energy, to trace the authenticity of goods, actors must be able to trust one another without meeting face-to-face. And how can we achieve this? Of course, with the help of blockchain.”
To gain the trust, development of viable and standardized ecosystems should be the industry goals. This is where the INATBA comes in; it will work towards streamlining the legal and regulatory processes to create an enabling environment where DLT can thrive. According to the associations’ website, the goals are to:
“Maintain a permanent and constructive dialogue with public authorities and regulators that will contribute to the convergence of regulatory approaches to blockchain and other distributed ledger technology globally.”
“Promote an open, transparent and inclusive global model of governance for blockchain and other distributed ledger technology infrastructures that reflects the shared interests of stakeholders from industry, start-ups and SMEs, civil society organizations, governments and international organizations.”
“Support the development and adoption of interoperability guidelines, specifications and global standards, to enhance trusted, traceable, user-centric digital services.”
“Develop sector-specific guidelines and specifications for the development and acceleration of trusted sectorial blockchain and DLT applications in specific sectors.”
Working Towards Standardization of the Blockchain Industry
The overall goal is to create uniformity in developing and deploying the blockchain technology. This can only be achieved by ensuring set standards cover the EU and beyond. This will ensure startups and other industry players gain clarity when initiating and working on DLT related projects with an end goal of increasing blockchain adoption.
The co-founder and co-chair of the IOTA Foundation, Dominik Schiener adds:
“Developing a regulatory framework around distributed ledger and blockchain technologies is essential to their widespread adoption and growth. The strength and size of this association, as well as the support of the European Commission and other governments, only further shows the future limitless potential for Distributed Ledger Technologies.”
Untapped Blockchain Potential
During a panel discussion after the charter signing, those present had a chance to explore the untapped blockchain potential. On climate change issue, the manager of the Sustainable Development Mechanism at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Massamba Thioye said
“In the specific case of climate change, blockchain is relevant not only for mitigation, but also for adaption.” He goes on to add; “For adaption, it can help enhance the resilience of supply chains, and this is extremely important. On mitigation, it opens a completely new area of action, particularly in the context of measurement of impact of climate action.”
Others who are championing for the tapping of blockchain potential included the U.N. World Food Program’s (WFP) Bernhard Kowatsch who talked about “approvingly of the WFP’s Building Blocks program for refugees in Jordan.
INATBA Coat is already cut
It is up to the newly formed outfit, INATBA to figure out how to harness the existing potential. It is a tough task to achieve the industry interoperability and standardization. The first step for the outfit is to standardize market regulations to drive mainstream crypto and blockchain adoption
Paco Gercia from Digital Identity firm, Yoti added:
“Some of the things that I think INATBA can help with is stopping the multiple proliferation and divergence of standards across different organizations in multiple jurisdictions.”
“I think INATBA can be that kind of force of convergence. Not only on a technology level, but also across different sectors vertically.”
These sentiments were echoed by Viola towards the end of the ceremony:
“What makes this association special is its focus on promoting trust in blockchain technology among public authorities and citizens. This association can also now become a natural interlocutor for all the regulators at EU and national level, for instance on standards and regulation. It will also be able to communicate with citizens about blockchain, a technology which should not be associated with obscure cryptocurrencies but with transparency traceability and a secure environment.”
Getting Involved in INATBA
Interested organizations are encouraged to apply for membership. The interest is already there with IOTA Julie Maupin adding that the launch of INATBA shows a promising future and “where we were a few years ago, where you couldn’t sit in a room with competitors in the space without people behaving badly.”
INATBA launch is a huge milestone in the industry and integrating DLT is the future of blockchain. Once international organizations and governments come together, trust will thrive and the administrative boundaries will become invisible in the near future.
The cryptocurrency issue took a back stage at the INATBA launch and this is a clear indication that the world is coming to its senses. It is about time blockchain took its place in modern economics. Standardization irrespective of platform has been the missing link in the blockchain industry and that is one of the INATBA dreams.