More than 100 organizations have come together to promote a global framework for the development of blockchain in a move seen as a turning point in gaining wider acceptance for distributed ledger technology.
Well-known companies including BlockchainArmy, AB InBev, Accenture, BBVA, Barclays, IBM, Deutsche Telecom, SAP, Repsol, and Telefonica, are among the signatories pledging to support blockchain technology by developing a “predictable, transparent and trust-based” framework.
The new initiative also has the backing of international organizations such as the European Commission, the World Bank, the OECD, the UN World Food Programme, UNICEF and the European Investment Bank.
The International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) is intended to be a platform for organizations to interact with regulators and policymakers on issues related to blockchain technology.
The founding of INATBA is in inspired by the global internet governing body Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which initiated and still oversees technical standards, domain names and internet addressing for the World Wide Web.
A signing ceremony by 105 organizations that support the new initiative was hosted at the European Commission.
The signatories have committed to developing interoperability and sector-specific guidelines and standards to ensure that INATBA will be a significant driver of blockchain innovation and adoption internationally.
A further 70 organizations are on the waiting list to sign up with INATBA. In addition, all EU Member States are expected to join as governmental advisors while authorities in Australia, Canada, India, the Emirates, and the US are also thought likely to come on board in the near future.
“We are thrilled to see that over 100 companies and organizations have partnered together to help develop the framework for distributed ledger technologies in Europe,” said Mariya Gabriel, European commissioner for the digital economy and society at the signing ceremony.
“It clearly signifies that blockchain technology will be a driving force for our economy in the coming years, and through INATBA we will be able to foster an environment that encourages the application of the technology across the EU Member States,” she added.
Blockchain is the technology that underpins popular cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. A blockchain is essentially an ever-changing record of transactions that is maintained simultaneously across computers in a network. The technology is seen in many quarters as a major breakthrough as it ensures high levels of traceability and security in online transactions.
While most associated with cryptocurrencies – a state of affairs that has arguably held back take-up of the technology- blockchain is forecast to transform business models across a wide range of industries.
Erol User, Founder President of BlockchainArmy and Ali Sina User, Founder CEO of BlockchainArmy were among those present at the signing ceremony in Brussels and shared their views:
- First, what is interesting is that most applications that can benefit from blockchain technology have a lot in common, which allows for a great deal of reuse of the core components.
- Cross-border payment systems are by far the most promising, immediate application of blockchain technology. We have been developing a complete payments system, which digitizes national currencies and enables near real-time settlement on a blockchain. We discovered a powerful side effect of using blockchain payments: all trading partners of a country can buy and sell the national currency in a single pool of liquidity and settle immediately. This enabled trade between any two countries and their currencies and eliminated the need for settlement in third currencies like the US dollar or Euro. Payments happen in minutes, not days or weeks the way it is now in the banking system
- We have advised several countries on digitizing the national currency and putting it on the blockchain. Several themes have emerged from our research. The best way to digitize a national currency is to let fintech startups and banks do it. Central bank solutions will attract too many hackers and bear the risk of damaging the central bank reputation. We see digital national currencies as the best solution to stimulate trade between any two countries.
- Once we have a core payments system on the blockchain, any business or industry that has payments at is core can be built on top the payments system. We did exactly this for a Healthcare system with real-time management of healthcare facilities, patient profiles, scheduling, self-help knowledge base, remote doctor examinations and of course real-time payments for all these services. This system allows hospitals to utilize their resources 24/7 and earn significant new revenue from the 14 hours of downtime they currently have. Patients benefit from much lower cost and faster service at any hour of the day at their fingertips
- We were approached by 3 major Asian countries to advise them on an energy and transmission trading system among them. Again, this solution was conceived with the payment blockchain and matching engine. Smart contracts perfectly addressed the needs of the 3 countries, and they are actively at work to modify their energy infrastructure to connect to the energy blockchain. The blockchain allows for all players, consumers, energy producers, transmission and trading companies to be in the same system and balance out the energy needs in real-time and into the future.
- In a globally interconnected world, manufacturers import parts, assemble products and then export their products. Addressing all the logistical, customs, duty/tax aspects of a complex supply chain are best done with a blockchain solution. We are actively involved in creating the solution for the Turkish Exporters Association that will enable growth in the industry and resolve the many current obstacles.
- Blockchain stores all prior versions of current data, making it very suitable for identity management, registries, and many of the government-maintained databases. BlockchainArmy is working with several governments in this area to streamline the government databases and registries and drastically improve the security of the data.
Blockchain technology is certainly not a panacea for all challenges. Blockchain technology is very data and computationally intensive. To justify its use, sharing of data among a multitude of industry players is the first requirement. Passing of diverse data between entities, diverse participants and consumers of data is also a prerequisite for a blockchain platform. Monitoring how data changes over time and securing how data is changed can be executed with other technologies, but Blockchain does it best, especially when combined with the above requirements. Execution of smart contracts comes with Blockchain technology, but not all projects need to run smart contracts.
- Blockchain projects are being developed in every industry, 2019 will be the year we see these projects going live. We are also seeing countries like Switzerland, UAE, Singapore, using new blockchain technology to gain new competitive advantage. We will see faster adoption of blockchain technology by governments and industry to stay competitive and more importantly resolve structural hurdles to growth. Despite the steep drop in crypto asset prices, institutional investors are piling into blockchain investments, funding the well-thought-out projects. Towards the end of the year, I anticipate cooperation between competing projects this year to begin, as economies of scale in most cases will be achieved with just one blockchain offering.