Spain Remains a Primary Example of Blockchain Optimism on All Levels


On Sept. 17, Europe The autonomous community of Aragon, one of the 17 Spanish autonomous communities, signed with Alastria – a blockchain ecosystem of more than 274 entities, including companies and institutions which created blockchain-based tools online with Spanish and European Union legal frameworks.

This blockchain is aimed at improving the transparency and efficiency of the administration. A week later, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food sharing plans to apply blockchain technology in the forestry industry.

With all this in sight, Spain remains a uniquely optimistic example of welcoming declarations to crypto and adoption of blockchain. The country's top bankers, politicians and civil servants rush unanimously into the possibilities DLT can provide.

Northern regions lead the progress

What would the Alastra constellation provide under the contract to the autonomous community of Aragon? The blockchainization of civil services. As Fernando Gimeno, the counselor of Finance and Public Administration in the Aragonese government, stated that the technology will bring transparency and efficiency of the administration.

He is a member of the Aragonese government. take place through the end of the year.

Neighboring Catalonia – also the autonomous community of northwestern Spain, but with a notable economic power and separatist tendencies – revealed a plan for blockchain tech implementation in its public administrative activity in July. The aim also lays in "improving digital services to the public" and promoting the potential of this technology between the administration, companies and the [citizens]. "

Catalan Government, as a Catalan government, as a it would not miss out on a chance to 'out-governing' the rivaling Madrid.

Alex Sicart Ramos, a Spanish tech wunderkind and member of Forbes '30 under 30 'list, imagined the vast area of ​​blockchain implementation that could help encrypted and stored on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to avoid censorship and access control. This is a digital ID card that will provide you with access to all of Catalan e-services (this kind of system is already implemented in Estonia).

Spanish banks step in the adoption race

In April 2018, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), the second largest bank in Spain by assets and capitalization, became the first global bank to use blockchain technology in the entire process of issuing at 75 million euros ($ 87 million) loan.

BBVA CEO Carlos Torres then said that the blockchain technology was "not mature" and added that it could face major challenges in the future. However, in July, BBVA signed a new blockchain-based loan of 100 million euros ($ 117 million) for a civil engineering firm ACS Group. Prior to that, in June, the bank signed another blockchain-based agreement with Repsol, one of the world's leading oil and gas industry companies, to 325 million euros ($ 377 million).

In the latter case, the choice was hardly accidental – Repsol and BBVA have signed an agreement to develop blockchain-based solutions for corporate banking, using multiple different blockchain technologies, namely Hyperledger and the Ethereum test network. Nuria Ávalos, the head of Blockchain and Digital Experimentation at Repsol, welcomed the collaboration:

"Repsol wants to actively take part in collaborative environments. Blockchain is a disruptive technology that is here to stay and the agreement with BBVA advances our strategy of driving digitization in all areas of our activity. "

One of BBVA's fiercest national competitors, Banco Santander, is also a stranger to blockchain. Santander has become the first company to use the technology for investor voting. The bank partnered with the United States electronic data processing services company Broadridge Financial Solutions to facilitate an investor ballot at its annual general meeting on March 23.

Earlier in April, Santander confirmed the launch of its Ripple-powered blockchain payment network. One Pay FX, currently available on iTunes, is the first mobile application for international payments powered by blockchain technology. The app, now remittance to customers and the total cost of their payment, including bank fees and foreign exchange rates, and a delivery time quote.

But apparently this is only the beginning: In July, the company announced the creation of a blockchain research team. The Digital Investment Banking team, headed by the current leader of Santander's blockchain lab, John Whelan, will[explore] the use of tokenized securities in debt capital markets, derivatives and other products. "

Neither Banco Santander nor BBVA are collaborating with the banking consortium Niuron, but that in no way that makes the latter less influential. Formed in 2017, Niuron, as its official site states, is the first blockchain consortium in the Spanish financial sector. "The consortium includes Abanca, Bankia, Caixabank, Caixa Ontinyent, Ibercaja, Kutxabank, Liberbank, Unicaja Banco and Cecabank. Caixabank was Spain's third largest bank in 2017. Ibercaja, Kutxabank and Abanca were also included in the country's top 10.

The group of banks reportedly plans to create the blockchain platform by the end of 2018, with the goal of developing a blockchain technology-based system to identify and record clients when they open an account for the first time. Once the platform is completed, clients will be shared between different banks and financial institutions. While maintaining the digital identification, it will also comply with the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules and modern security standards.

Nihon believes that the new blockchain platform will improve the speed of operations, reduce fraud and prevent money laundering. The platform will be reportedly benefits clients in that it will decrease the time required for the personal data.

Left-wingers and conservatives combined to welcome blockchain

On May 30, the Spanish Congress unanimously supported draft legislation that would favorably regulate blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in the country. Due to the absence of a regulatory framework, we are proposing to introduce the technology to the Spanish market through "controlled testing environments," commonly referred to as regulatory sandboxes.

As a result of the hearing, the Congress has also agreed to promote blockchain as a cost-efficient and disinterediated system for payments and transfers, which is no surprise given the recent pro-blockchain leanings in the country. The National Public Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Bank of Spain are coordinated with the common regulatory position regarding the crypto in the broader European context.

A month later, another bill – this time by the ruling Partido Popular – proposed to use blockchain in the public administration of Spain. It was not the first crypto-friendly move by the center-right Partido Popular – a party that gave tax breaks to companies that use blockchain technology back in February 2018. Surprisingly, this interest in the adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been shared by the main opposition force as well: Left-wing political coalition Unidos Podemos

Unidos Podemos has suggested that the Spanish government establishes a subcommittee responsible for the potential of blockchain technology as well as cryptocurrency regulation. Alberto Montero, a member of the political alliance, has reportedly registered the request in the lower house, along with a project plan.

The blockchain-focused body would bring together public administrations, state authorities and public officials, as well as industry experts. The initiative aims to explore the "enormous potential" of blockchain in terms of reduction of government operations and boosting the level of security for social and economic transactions.

Has been addressing regulatory approaches for cryptocurrency use in Spain. According to the report, digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) are currently "located in a gray area of ​​regulation." The coalition also proposes to base policy on the outcomes of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, launched by the European Commission in February 2018.

This aligned multi-partisan hospitality towards the blockchain may seem ironic given that the technology could play a role in the future eradication of the political corruption, still a whip of the Spanish society, as recent scandals have shown. The EU Blockchain Observatory has already invested more than 80 million euros in various related projects. EU-wide blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) is a member of the European Blockchain Partnership.

The most promising blockchain applications relate to the registration and tracking of the transfer crypto-asset transactions. Ethical-based blockchain solution to the support of the European Regional Development Fund digital transactions and by tracking information and digitized assets without the need for intermediaries. The system will be incorporated into public-key infrastructure – such as electronic time stamps and certified electronic delivery services – for such contracts.

Government bodies are not waiting for the legislation to be implemented

While in the blockbusters, the English language has become more popular.

On July 26, the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) and the Madrid School of Telecommunications Engineering (ETSIT-UPM) announced a research partnership into implementing blockchain for copyright management. The two institutions have reportedly signed a one-year agreement to carry out collaborative research into a digital processing platform for copyright management that would use blockchain alongside big data, machine learning and AI. As SGAE President José Miguel Fernández Sastrón stated:

"The main lines of research will focus on disruptive technologies that address the challenges posed by the volume, diversity and dynamics of change in the use of content in the contemporary digital environment."

The latest move came from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which shared its plans to apply blockchain technology in the forestry industry. Adopting the aim of the operating group, entitled ChainWood, is to improve the traceability and efficiency of the wood supply in Spain.

At the moment, the group consists of eight partners from different Spanish regions, including Galicia, the Community of Madrid, Andalusia, Castilla y León and Asturias. The first task is to develop cloud-based software for forestry processes – like the creation of solid wood, disintegration, cellulose paste and biomass – by applying blockchain, big data and machine learning.

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