The European Investment Bank (EIB) has organized a blockchain hackathon designated to prompt participants to redesign the transaction processing of commercial paper. The president of the bank spoke highly of blockchain and other emerging technologies.

 “Major Gains”

Hosted by the EIB, they hackathon managed to bring together 56 developers from 56 countries divided into 12 different teams competing for the 5000 euros first-place prize. The purpose of the competition was for the teams to figure out a way to improve the transaction process of commercial paper through blockchain-based technologies.

The winning team tapped into the potential of blockchain and robotics, as well as business AI tools in order to optimize the issuance process and to reduce the number of exchanges carried out between the EIB and its counterparts.

Speaking on the matter, the vice president of the EIB said:

There will be major gains from the use of new technologies such as blockchain, generated from the simplification and streamlining of existing financial processes. The new perspectives opened up by digitalization and Distributed Ledger Technology must be assessed and we must all be ready to make use of them and embark on this new venture.

He also said that the bank has made the decision to be on the active side and to facilitate the improvement of the financial industry through innovative technologies.

Going Back and Forth

While the most recent move of the EIB does seem like a positive development for the field of distributed ledger technologies, the EU’s position on cryptocurrency has been going back and forth.

In December 2017, Yves Mersch, a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB) said that banks have to consider alternatives in order to compete with cryptocurrencies:

Banks need to implement instant payments as soon as possible and provide an alternative narrative to the ongoing public debate on the alleged innovation brought by virtual currency schemes.

At the same time, the president of the ECB, Mario Draghi, stated that he doesn’t consider cryptocurrencies to constitute a risk, as adoption is still limited:

We think all this is pretty limited. So it’s not yet something that could constitute a risk for central banks.

In February 2018 Draghi also expressed somewhat positive sentiment on the matter, saying that it’s just a matter of time before banks start holding Bitcoin as well. To further build upon his point, Goldman Sachs recently announced that they consider managing Bitcoin for their clients.

What do you think of the EU’s position on cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Alamy

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