Europe could be a future blockchain paradise? Unthinkable only a few months ago, the idea is rapidly gaining ground, especially in European capitals, from Paris to Valletta, where Internet lessons have left their mark. Look around. More than 20 years after its creation, the Web is dominated by American and Chinese groups, much to the chagrin of Europe, which has promised itself not to let that happen again with the blockchain.
Brussels continues to repeat that Europe must be offensive on this front. And they are right, because even if the two major economies of the world have again an advantage – with giants like Binance, "Alibaba of criptovalute" or ConsenSys, the "study" of the world for blockchain – Europe has the means to capture with them. More importantly, it can really stand out.
This is because European countries have paid close attention to the Bitcoin boom and they understand it. Many have already begun to adapt their laws. Malta, Estonia and Lithuania – and also Switzerland – are obviously on the front lines, with increasingly clear tax laws and regulations, but they are not the only ones.
Even the biggest players, like France, are making huge progress and Paris wants to become a driving force in Europe. The government is working on new economic legislation with which it seeks to "send a clear message that France and Europe are a destination of choice," says MP Pierre Person, who was involved in a parliamentary mission on the cryptoassets .
The old continent also understands that blockchain is a technology that requires a lot of flexibility. In their approach, European countries are trying to reconcile the need for regulation with the flexibility that the blockchain needs to grow and evolve. "This is the point: to create a legal framework around technology without impeding its development," says Pierre Person.
Above all, Europe – with its 500 million inhabitants – is a vast market like China and the United States. It has the means to carry a lot of weight, with several technological centers, researchers and important financial centers. It also has a favorable economic model that is industrial, financial and liberal at the same time. This is not necessarily the case in China and the United States, where the interventionism of the former and the financial financing of the latter are very strong and not really compatible with a massive adoption of the blockchain.
The first negative signs, in fact, have already been seen in China, where the communist regime began to take control of things after 12 months of laissez-faire. It must be said that the philosophy brought by the blockchain is contrary to the economic approach of the Asian giant. The blockchain decentralizes, while the Chinese economy is centralized: everything passes through Beijing.
The economic weight of Europe moves into the digital world – Photo: Crypto360
The Chinese authorities have recently closed several cryptocurrency trading sites and have confirmed the prohibition of initial coin offerings (ICOs) to finance Blockchain projects. Europe is doing the opposite by trying to attract investors. The EU financial regulatory authority is also considering the most appropriate legislation for ICOs. Beijing has also decided to take a closer look at the investments made by the giant Chinese companies in the sector.
From the other side of the Atlantic there is another problem. Companies have white paper to develop, but the growth and maturity of the ecosystem seem limited, at least in its global dimension. The ecosystem is already highly funded and close to Wall Street, with several giants already present on the case, such as Fidelity, BlackRock or Goldman Sachs. This situation could discourage potential future new actors, as the costs of developing a blockchain project continue to increase.
The blockchain economy is developing, but the market is still very immature.
"This is the American peculiarity", explains a US fund manager. A large number of projects have assumed a purely financial dimension, in particular under the impulse of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which regulates the sector at a snail's pace by applying the current legislation on financial securities. A position that European regulators refuse, preferring a more open approach, above all because they can continue to make the sector evolve and develop.
The United States must also work with the power of its technology giants, who dominate not only the American but also the global economy. This is the whole paradox with Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft. These giants, representing almost $ 4 trillion in capitalization, are watching the blockchain. Microsoft has started investing in the sector. Facebook has made the blockchain one of its research areas to find out how to "make the most of" cryptocurrencies.
But these companies have little interest in the development of large-scale blockchain because their model is based on centralization and massive data collection. "The blockchain economy is developing, but the market is still very immature, everything remains to be done," explains Joseph Lubin, head of ConsenSys. And this is the head of one of the most powerful companies in the industry that speaks.
See more from Business / Finance here