The Government of the German State North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) announced plans to establish the European Blockchain Institute to research blockchain technology and a so-called “Internet of Values” (“Internet der Werte”) at a press release on May 13.
According to NRW Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart, the European Blockchain Institute will be founded in the city of Dortmund later in 2019, to be housed in the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML). The minister said that Dortmund was a strategic location thanks to its technical university, and the extra motivation for this was due to ongoing pressure to compete with American scientists hot on the heels of this Internet of Values research. Pinkwart believes that Europe is behind the US when it comes to blockchain advancements. He asserts that they must catch up. He added that this is the goal of the European Blockchain Institute. This means creating the research center would give NRW a chance to become the pioneer of advancing the blockchain in Europe. As mentioned, Europe had much to catch up with, NRW should take on the chance to be a pioneer in researching blockchain innovation to “digitally record business-to-business transactions in perpetual eternity”. Also, The presence of Fraunhofer logistics experts would also help better the project.
It is stated that critics of blockchain have voiced concern over the amount of energy consumed by mining bitcoin (BTC). Pinkwart addressed these concerns and praised the benefits of blockchain tech, saying: “This technology can be safe, decentralized, affordable and, when used properly, not too energy-intensive.”
According to the press release, Europe is behind the United States in blockchain advancements and “has to catch up,” which is a goal that NRW hopes to lead the way in achieving.
Moreover, Germany has hosted the most nodes in the world for both Bitcoin and Ethereum networks.
As reported by Cointelegraph, Ripple’s Director of Regulatory Relations Ryan Zagone commented at Consensus 2019 on the need for the U.S. to lead the way in implementing blockchain and crypto infrastructure:
“There is a broad discussion in Washington around 5G being dominated by foreign firms and the U.S. being reliant on foreign technology and foreign expertise. With blockchain and cryptocurrency, there’s a recognition now that these will be part of our future infrastructure. It’s important both for national security and from an economic perspective, that the U.S. is a leader in that.”
Hoping NRW’s plan to open the European Blockchain Institute will make Europe a leader in blockchain technology.