EU Commission opens regulatory sandbox for blockchain

The European Commission has launched the European Regulatory Sandbox for Blockchain, a controlled environment where companies can test products and services while engaging with relevant regulators.

“The sandbox will provide legal certainty for decentralised technology solutions including blockchain by identifying obstacles to their deployment from a legal and regulatory perspective and providing legal advice, regulatory experience and guidance in a safe and confidential environment. It should also allow regulators and supervisors to enhance their knowledge of cutting-edge blockchain technologies and share best practices through dialogues,” said the commission.

Running from 2023 to 2026, the sandbox will support 20 projects annually, including public sector use cases on the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), the multi-country project under the Digital Decade supported by the Commission, all Member States, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The first call will be open until 14 April 2023.

The sandbox has been set up and will be operated by a consortium of legal experts from law firm  Bird & Bird, and its consulting arm OXYGY, supported by blockchain experts WBNoDE and web-designers of Spindox, which has been procured through an open call for tenders in 2022.

The selection and the award process will be overseen by a panel of independent academics consisting of Professor Roman Beck (IT-University, Copenhagen), Professor Soulla Louca (University of Nicosia, Cyprus) and Professor Walter Blocher (Universities of Kassel and Vienna).

The commission said the sandbox is supported by the Digital Europe Programme, the EU funding programme focused on bringing digital technology to businesses, citizens and public administrations. It will also help Europe reach its ambition for digital leadership in the Digital Decade, as reducing the legal uncertainty around blockchain will enable its uptake across sectors.

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