The European Parliament has published a non-binding resolution on distributed ledger technologies and blockchains (blockchain technologies).
What is distributed ledger technology?
Best known as the technology behind bitcoin and other crypto-currencies, distributed ledger technology is, in its simplest form, a ledger of digital information maintained in decentralised form across a large network of computers. The information making up the ledger is secured using cryptography and can be accessed using keys and cryptographic signatures. Cyber-attacks are considered to have less impact on such technologies as they need to successfully target many decentralised ledgers.
Positive applications of blockchain technologies
The resolution highlights the potentially positive applications of blockchain technologies across numerous industries and sectors including:
- Transforming the energy markets by allowing households to produce environmentally friendly energy and exchange it on a peer-to-peer basis;
- Improving the efficiency of the healthcare sector through electronic health data interoperability;
- Improving supply chains by facilitating the forwarding and monitoring of the origin of goods and their ingredients or components, and improving transparency, visibility and compliance checking;
- Enabling the tracking and management of intellectual property and facilitating copyright and patent protection;
- Improving transparency and reducing transaction costs and hidden costs in the financial sector by better managing and streamlining processes; and
- The potential of initial coin offerings as an alternative investment instrument in funding SMEs and innovative start-ups.