Despite the ongoing war, Ukraine is stepping up efforts to get closer to the European Union (EU). This week, as part of a political signal, it was announced that the country is to be admitted to the EU. Cooperation with European institutions and associations plays a crucial role at this point. Ukraine is also stepping up its activities in the field of blockchain technology.
As was also announced this week, the country is expanding its transnational network partnership in this area. The accession of Ukraine to the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) underlines the efforts to integrate the country into the digital economic area of the EU.
European Blockchain Partnership (EBP)
In April 2018, 21 EU members and Norway joined forces and founded the European Blockchain Partnership. In particular, European blockchain projects are to be supported. In the meantime, other non-EU countries have joined the alliance, including Liechtenstein. Ukraine is the third (not yet) EU country to join the EBP. The partnership has a total of 27 members.
According to the digital strategy of the European Union, the future of public administration will be supported by blockchain technology. As described at the time of the announcement by Mariya Gabriel, the then Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society:
In the future, all public services will use blockchain technology. Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and Member States to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities, and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services, and companies. The Partnership launched today enables Member States to work together with the European Commission to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.
Rebuilding Through Blockchain Partnership
By participating in the EBP initiative, those responsible in Kyiv hope to receive support for rebuilding. According to the country’s correspondence to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, blockchain technology could become an integral part of the rebuilding. The technology could facilitate the cross-border provision of services after the end of the military conflict. Thus, she said:
EBP will accelerate this recovery, as well as support the further integration of Ukraine and the EU
Before Russia launched its military invasion at the end of February, Ukraine was in the process of extensively regulating cryptocurrencies. The country is the leading nation among Eastern European countries when it comes to adopting blockchain technology. And despite the state of war, Parliament passed a corresponding law in March of this year. In addition, since the beginning of the war, the country has used the opportunity to receive donations in the form of cryptocurrencies.
Ukraine is currently still in the test and observation phase. However, Ukraine is striving for full membership of the EBP as soon as possible. CEO and founder of Ukraine’s virtual assets, Konstantin Yarmolenko, said:
Next step is full blockchain integration of Ukraine and the EU based on EBP/EBSI initiatives.
By applying the technology, Ukraine wants to offer its citizens various public services. This includes the verification of educational and identity documents, as well as support and registration of refugees or asylum seekers. A smart contract function of blockchain can guarantee the best transparency and protection against counterfeiting. This approach could not only support people seeking help but also facilitate and speed up complex bureaucratic processes. The added value created from the crisis could thus become the driver of progress.
Partnership Through Regulation
All cooperation at the European level is based on a uniform, community decision. Blockchain technology and related cryptocurrencies must therefore also be regulated. This is the only way to guarantee a uniform approach and real utilization of the technology.
Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission, recently stressed the need to regulate all crypto-assets — whether they’re unbacked crypto-assets or so-called stablecoins.
The EU Commissioner also announced that she wants to discuss a proposal on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) with the French government:
MiCA rules will be the right tool to address the concerns on consumer protection, market integrity, and financial stability. This is something that is so urgent given recent developments.
In connection with the crisis situation in Ukraine, the broad possibilities of blockchain technology are also evident. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are here to stay. There is rarely a better way to start buying cryptocurrencies than now.
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