Spain stays a number one instance of Blockchain Optimism on All levels

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On Sept. 17, Europa Press reported on the contract the autonomous community of Aragon, one of the 17 Spanish autonomous communities, signed with Alastria — a blockchain ecosystem of more than 274 entities, including companies and institutions which create blockchain-based tools in line with Spanish and European Union legal frameworks.

This blockchain is aimed to improve the transparency and efficiency of the administration, which in turn will attract business and investments. A week later, federal officials decided to keep up with their regional colleagues with the national Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food sharing plans to apply blockchain technology in the forestry industry.

With all this in sight, Spain remains a uniquely optimistic example of welcoming declarations toward crypto and adoption cases of blockchain. The country’s top bankers, politicians and civil servants rush unanimously into the possibilities DLT can provide.

Northern regions lead the progress

What would the Alastra constellation provide under the contract to the autonomous community of Aragon? The blockchainization of civil services. As Fernando Gimeno, the counsellor of Finance and Public Administration in the Aragonese government, stated that the technology will bring transparency and efficiency of the administration, which is important to attract business and investments.

He further added that employees of the nearby administration are already being trained to work with the technology a good way to get familiar with its “massive potential.” The signing of the settlement is simplest the begin of a chain of sports scheduled by using the Aragonese authorities to take location through the end of the yrtogether with trainingand consultancy classes to become aware of greater use cases for blockchain in the authorities.

Neighboring Catalonia — also the self sufficient network of northwestern Spain, however with a super economic strengthand separatist dispositions — found out a plan for blockchain tech implementation in its public administrative pastime in July. The purpose also lays in “enhancing virtual offerings to the public and promoting the capability of this technologybetween the administrationbusinesses and the [citizens].”

in keeping with the clicking launch, Catalonia’s department of digital regulations must expand a plan for incorporating blockchain tech in all areas of the general public management’s sports through the give up of December 2018. The achievement of this challenge is in particular critical for the newly elected Catalan governmentbecause it wouldn’t needto overlook a danger of ‘out-governing’ the rivaling Madrid.

Alex Sicart Ramos, a Spanish tech wunderkind and member of Forbes ‘30 beneath 30’ listing, imaginedthe widespreadregion of blockchain implementation that might assist Catalonia with its enterprise DNA and cold battle with the federal authority: as an instance, all citizen facts may be encrypted and saved at the InterPlanetary report machine (IPFS) to keep away from censorship and access managethe best manner of accessing this information might be a digital identity card so that it will provide virtual get right of entry to to all of Catalan e-services (this kind of gadget is already implementedin Estonia).

Spanish banks step within the adoption race
In April 2018, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), the second one largest financial institution in Spain through assetsand capitalization, became the first international bank to use blockchain technology at some stage in the completemanner of issuing a 75 million euro ($87 million) mortgage.

BBVA CEO Carlos Torres then said that blockchain era turned into “now not mature” and delivered that it could face predominant demanding situations inside the futurehowever, in July, BBVA signed off on a new blockchain-based totally loan of 100 million euro ($117 million) for a civil engineering firm ACS institutionprior to that, in June, the banksigned any other blockchain-primarily based agreement with Repsol, one of the world’s leading oil and gasoline industryorganizationsto resume a credit line really worth 325 million euro ($377 million).

within the latter case, the choice was infrequently accidental — Repsol and BBVA have signed an settlement to broadenblockchain-primarily based answers for company banking, using more than one distinctive blockchain technologyspecifically Hyperledger and the Ethereum take a look at network. Nuria Ávalos, the pinnacle of Blockchain and virtualExperimentation at Repsol, welcomed the collaboration:

“Repsol wants to actively participate in collaborative environments. Blockchain is a disruptive technology this is right here to stay and the agreement with BBVA advances our method of using digitization in all areas of our activity.”

certainly one of BBVA’s fiercest countrywide competitors, Banco Santander, also isn’t a stranger to blockchain. Santander has emerge as the primary agency to apply the era for investor balloting. The financial institution partnered with u.s.electronic statistics processing offerings employer Broadridge financial solutions to facilitate an investor poll at its annual fashionable meeting on March 23.

in advance in April, Santander showed the release of its Ripple-powered blockchain charge network. One Pay FX, presently available on iTunes, is the primary cell application for worldwide bills powered through blockchain generation. The app, now limited to transferring euros to eurozone nations and greenbacks to the U.S., indicates remittance customers the full fee in their feetogether with bank charges and foreign exchange charges, and a transport time quote.

but seemingly this is only the start: In July, the company introduced the advent of a blockchain research team to inspectthe era’s capacity to exchange securities trading. The virtual funding Banking crew, headed with the aid of cutting-edgechief of Santander’s blockchain lab, John Whelan, will “[explore] the use of tokenized securities in debt capital markets, derivatives and different merchandise.”

Neither Banco Santander nor BBVA are collaborating with the banking consortium Niuron, but that in no way that makes the latter less influential. Formed in 2017, Niuron, as its official site states, is “the first blockchain consortium in Spanish financial sector.” The consortium includes Abanca, Bankia, Caixabank, Caixa Ontinyent, Ibercaja, Kutxabank, Liberbank, Unicaja Banco and Cecabank. According to a report based on assets and capitalization, Caixabank was Spain’s third largest bank in 2017. Ibercaja, Kutxabank and Abanca were also included in country’s top 10.

The group of banks reportedly plans to create the blockchain platform by the end of 2018, with the goal of developing a blockchain technology-based system to identify and record clients when they open an account for the first time. Once the platform is completed, clients’ data will be shared between different banks and financial institutions. While ostensibly simplifying digital identification, it will also comply with recent EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules and modern security standards.

Niuron believes that the new blockchain platform will improve the speed of operations, reduce fraud and prevent money laundering. The platform will reportedly benefit clients in that it will decrease the time required for the registration process and provide clients with more control over their personal data.

Left-wingers and conservatives unite to welcome blockchain

On May 30, the Spanish Congress unanimously supported draft legislation that would favorably regulate blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in the country. Due to the absence of a supervisory framework, the draft called for a review of regulations pertaining to Bitcoin and altcoins, as well as to blockchain, proposing to introduce the technology to the Spanish market through “controlled testing environments,” commonly referred to as regulatory sandboxes.

As a result of the hearing, the Congress has also agreed to promote blockchain as a cost-efficient and disintermediated system for payments and transfers, which is no surprise given the recent pro-blockchain leanings in the country. The draft proposed the government cooperation with the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Bank of Spain to coordinate a common regulatory position regarding crypto in the broader European context.

A month later, another bill — this time by the ruling Partido Popular — proposed to use blockchain in the public administration of Spain. It wasn’t the first crypto-friendly move by the center-right Partido Popular — a party that considered giving tax breaks to companies that use blockchain technology back in February 2018. Surprisingly, this interest in the adoption of distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been shared by the main opposition force as well: Left-wing political coalition Unidos Podemos called on the state to explore and implement the benefits of blockchain technology in August.

Unidos Podemos has suggested that the Spanish government establish a subcommittee responsible for studying the potential of blockchain technology as well cryptocurrency regulation. Alberto Montero, the deputy of the political alliance, has reportedly registered the request in the lower house, along with a project plan.

The blockchain-focused body would bring together public administrations, state authorities and public officials, as well as industry experts. The initiative aims to explore the “enormous potential” of blockchain tech in terms of reducing costs of government operations and boosting the level of security for social and economic transactions.

The alliance has suggested addressing regulatory approaches for cryptocurrency use in Spain. According to the report, digital currencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) are currently “located in a gray area of ​​regulation.” The coalition also proposes to base policy on the outcomes of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, launched by the European Commission in February 2018.

This aligned multi-partisan hospitality toward blockchain may seem ironic given that the technology could play a vital role in the future eradication of the political corruption, still a whip of Spanish society, as recent scandals have shown. The EU Blockchain Observatory has already invested more than 80 million euro in various related projects. As a member of the European Blockchain Partnership, Spain is committed to building EU-wide blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) applications that can be used in the fight against corruption across the Digital Single Market for the benefit of the public and private sectors.

The more promising blockchain applications relate to the registration and tracking of transferred crypto-asset transactions. With the support of the European Regional Development Fund, a Spanish blockchain company is developing an Ethereum-based blockchain solution that will allow parties to legally/contractually transfer ownership of crypto assets by reducing the possibilities of manipulation and fraud, by adding verifiability and auditability to digital transactions and by tracking information and digitized assets without the need for intermediaries. The system will incorporate a public-key infrastructure — such as electronic time stamps and certified electronic delivery services — for such contracts.

Government bodies aren’t waiting for the legislation to be implemented

While the kind words in the blockchain’s address and the promises to keep up with the technical progress frequently occur in the political declarations still remain only words, various Spanish government bodies have decided not to wait for the final legislation and are already diving into the adoption.

On July 26, the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers (SGAE) and the Madrid School of Telecommunications Engineering (ETSIT-UPM) announced a research partnership into implementing blockchain for copyright management. The two institutions have reportedly signed a one-year agreement to carry out collaborative research into building a digital processing platform for copyright management that would use blockchain alongside big data, machine learning and AI. As SGAE President José Miguel Fernández Sastrón stated:

“The main lines of research will focus on disruptive technologies that address the challenges posed by the volume, diversity and dynamics of change in the use of content in the contemporary digital environment.”

The latest move came from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, which shared its plans to apply blockchain technology in the forestry industry. The aim of the operating group, entitled ChainWood, is to improve the traceability and efficiency of the wood supply in Spain by implementing blockchain technology in industry logistics.

At the moment, the group consists of eight partners from different Spanish regions, including Galicia, the Community of Madrid, Andalusia, Castilla y León and Asturias. The first task is to develop a cloud-based software “that will improve the transparency” of forestry processes — like the creation of solid wood, disintegration, cellulose paste and biomass — by applying blockchain, big data and machine learning.

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