The European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, Prince Michael of Lichtenstein, an Austrian minister, and numerous others, are to speak at what might be Europe’s biggest blockchain event to be held in Vienna on April 2nd and 3rd.
“This event is going to put Vienna on the map as one of the best places for business and blockchain to get together, network, communicate and build their visions of the future,” a statement says.
They hope to attract 2,000 people, with 80 national and international speakers, 40 exhibitors and 100 investors.
The main topics of the event will be government, blockchain for business, healthcare, energy, banking, supply chain and mobility, and alongside Microsoft, IBM and Accenture, there will also be representatives from Hyperledger, Bitfury, Bitmain, Raiffeisen Bank International, Wien Energie and Merck.
The German airline, Lufthansa, will also be there, as well as representatives from Binance, with the summit supported by Austria’s government.
“The focus of the conference is on promoting the discourse between public and business sectors, science and research, and art and technology, and building bridges between these industry sectors,” a press release says.
Sebastian Kurz, the Cryptonian?
Europe’s youngest leader, Sebastian Kurz, made headlines for being the only millennial to head a state after becoming Austria’s Chancellor in December 2017.
It appears one of his first priority was to court the blockchain space, with Harald Mahrer, the Austrian Minister of Economy, stating in an announcement on blockchain strategy:
“To become an innovation leader, we must walk down new paths without taboos and cope with technologies that will radically change many areas of our life tomorrow.”
The conservative government then announced they were to issue €1.15 billion of government bonds on ethereum’s blockchain.
While American authorities have been quick to intervene in the blockchain space, EU wide policies have been slow to come by.
There are pockets of success. Estonia, Switzerland, Lithuania, and until the Brexit referendum, a leading London.
France in addition has tried to attract crypto blockchain businesses by passing laws that facilitate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
This accommodative approach by some member states has led to Europe passing America in ICO fundraising. $4.1 billion was raised by projects based in Europe, while Americans raised $2.6 billion last year.
At the European Commission level, however, there hasn’t been much development. There have been some statements of aspiration, but the common market hasn’t quite been able to offer a real alternative to the United States.
That might partly be because the US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has effectively exerted jurisdiction over EU based projects as shown by their charging of an Austrian with securities violations.
It would thus be very interesting to hear what the European Commissioners will say at this blockchain summit, especially as it pertains ICOs and more generally on how they can provide a real alternative to the USA for the crypto space.