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(A.) Policy and legislation

(A.1) Policy objectives

Blockchain has great potential in providing an infrastructure for trusted, decentralised and disintermediated services beyond the financial sector. 

While the FinTech industry has been an early adopter because of its early use case of Bitcoin, blockchain is benefiting and has the potential to transform many other industries. It is considered a foundational technology that some compare to the rise of the Internet in the early 90s. More than a technology, it could lead to a major institutional innovation by redefining the way we operate transactions, store and access information and share data (e.g. empowering patients to securely share e-health records and decide who to grant access to their data).

Many possible applications are being envisaged to deliver efficiency, immutability and transparency to the financial services industry, Fintech/Suptech actors, trust funds (e.g., for development or humanitarian programmes), eHealth, education, eGovernment,  public registries, security certification of Internet of Things, Trusted Artificial Intelligence, food safety, managing intellectual property rights, extending eIDAS framework for eID management, etc. 

It has also great potential for the private sector, in trading, contracting, supply chain management, traceability along industrial supply chains (e.g. on social & environmental conditions of work, on material composition or on the maintenance history of the item) and much more. It may also transform the governance of private organisations and of companies (concept of Decentralised Autonomous Organisation - DAO). Furthermore, from a regulatory and supervisory point of view, it could provide regulators with the same view into the data as the companies they are regulating, thereby reducing fraud and compliance costs and facilitating auditing.

Provisions must be taken at all stages to comply with the GDPR.

However, this process is hindered by a lack of coherent harmonisation and interoperability that constitute obstacles to cross border and cross sector transactions. The responsibility for public policy-makers would be to support innovation within a safe and future-proof technological and regulatory environment, ensuring appropriate interoperability, transparency, accessibility, monitoring and governance

In the context of the European Digital Single Market where the amount of online transactions and data is exploding, setting the right conditions for the advent of an open, trustworthy, transparent, compliant and authenticated transaction system is a real challenge for the EU. Existing decentralised environments lack trust, accountability, interoperability, regulatory certainty and mature governance models to interact among themselves and also with centralised systems.

Since 2018 the European Commission has been developing a proposal for the Regulation of Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA) regulatory framework, which currently has achieved a status of an official document (COM/2020/593 final) and is being discussed with the European Parliament and the Council. The MiCA Regulation is a part of The European Commission’s “Digital Finance package” adopted on 24 September 2020 which comprises updated strategy for digital finance and retail.

(A.2) EC perspective and progress report

In order to engage in and contribute to the development of the needed standards, starting from September 2017, the Commission is organising workshops on blockchain standardisation and follows up the standardisation activities related to Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies carried out by the different SDOs, such as ISO, ITU-T, ETSI or CEN-CENELEC.

These workshops bring together standards development organisations, fora and consortia active in international BC/DLT standardisation, as well as key stakeholders, and representatives of PPPs like INATBA and deployment initiatives like the EBP.  

On 17 June 2020 the European Commission organised “Joining Forces for Blockchain Standardisation” webinar to encourage collaboration and cohesion of ongoing standardisation activities and prevent emergence of conflicting standards. This webinar has been well received by blockchain standardisation community, it brought together more than 400 global blockchain standardisation experts together to discuss advances in standardisation of Identity, Interoperability, Governance, Smart Contracts. During thius webinar the European Commision has run a survey to identify the most critical areas of blockchain standardisation where more cohesion is needed. Results were that “interoperability” would benefit the most, followed by “identity”, “smart contracts”, “governance” and “security”.

To bring together Horizon 2020 and blockchain standardisation communities the European Commission has set up a set of roundtable discussions “ICT Verticals and Horizontals for Blockchain Standardisation”. These roundtables are planned to take place in the following theme groups:

  • Fintech, Digital Assets and Smart Grids (11 Nov 2020)
  • Digital Society, Identity and Privacy (25 Nov 2020)
  • Digital Economy, SME’s, Industry and Supply chains (9 Dec 2020)
  • Cybersecurity (13 Jan 2021)
  • IoT (27 Jan 2021)
  • eHealth (10 Feb 2021)
  • Future Internet, Media and Big data (24 Feb 2021)

More than 60 Horizon 2020 projects have expressed their interest. The kick-off meeting opened by the European Commission and INATBA took place on 14 October 2020 and brought together more than 200 blockchain experts.

The European Commission launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018, involving private stakeholders and public authorities in technical and regulatory discussions about the future development and applications of blockchain technology. Among its important tasks, it is gathering the best European experts in thematic workshops on important subjects such as Blockchain and GDPR, or blockchain innovation, and producing reports which will help European stakeholders to deploy blockchain based services in Europe.

On the 10th of April 2018, the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) was launched, with 28 European countries agreeing, through a joint declaration to cooperate in the establishment of a European blockchain services infrastructure (EBSI) that will support the delivery of cross-border public services, through interoperability and open interfaces and with the highest standards of security.

On 3rd April 2019 the Commission supported the launch of the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications – INATBA -, which brings together representatives of the stakeholders across the value chain. INATBA offers developers and users of DLT a global forum to interact with regulators and policy makers and bring blockchain technology to the next stage. It will support the development and adoption of interoperability guidelines, specifications and global standards, to enhance trusted, traceable, user-centric digital services, via a working group on standardisation to interact with standardisation organisations. On 11-13 November 2019 INATBA together with EU Blockchain Observatory and forum, Alastria and the European Commission co-organised the Global blockchain congress CONVERGENCE.

The European Commission has already invested more than € 80 million in projects supporting the use of blockchain in technical and societal areas. Up to € 300 million should be further invested until the end of the EU funding programme Horizon 2020. Furthermore, the European Commission is launching the AI/Blockchain fund, which finances a portfolio of innovative AI/blockchain companies and contributes towards development of a dynamic investor community. Expected investment is up to € 300 million. In addition, more funding will be available through Horizon Europe R&I and the Digital Europe Programmes (DEP).

(A.3) References

Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on Markets in Crypto-assets, and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937 (COM/2020/593 final):

(B.) Requested actions

Action 1 The standardisation community should continue analysing possible standardisation gaps and reflect on best way to fill them. Activities may focus on governance and interoperability, organisational frameworks and methodologies, processes and products evaluation schemes, Blockchain and distributed ledger guidelines, smart technologies, objects, distributed computing devices and data services.

Action 2 Regularly update the white paper on the EU perspective on blockchain/DLT standardisation.

Action 3 Continue identifying use cases which are relevant for EU (including EU regulatory requirements like from GDPR, ePrivacy, eIDAS, TOOP, etc) and submit them to relevant standardisation bodies, including CEN-CENELEC and ETSI, and also ISO, ITU

Action 4 Continue identification of actual blockchain/DLT implementations in the EU and assess the need for standardisation, harmonisation and workforce training or adaptation.

Action 5 Standardisation of the operation and reference implementation of permissioned distributed ledgers and distributed applications, with the purpose of creating an open ecosystem of industrial interoperable solutions.

Action 6 Standards Development Organisations active in blockchain/DLT standardisation to liaise and coordinate to take advantage of synergies and maximise resources, including with relevant public and private partnerships

Action 7 A general framework for Governance of the European networks based on DLT should be developed to allow the flow of smart contracts between different networks.

Action 8 ESOs to develop the standards needed for the introduction of a programmable Euro (CBDC) and token economy (upcoming MiCA Regulation), in particular to ensure interoperability with smart-contracts, legacy systems, etc.

(C.) Activities and additional information

(C.1) Related standardisation activities

ISO/TC 307:  Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies:

The main working groups and technical reports:

  • WG1: Foundations
  • WG2: Security, privacy and identity
  • WG3: Smart contracts and their applications
  • JWG4: Joint ISO/TC 307 - ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 WG; Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies and IT Security techniques
  • WG5: Governance
  • WG6: Use cases
  • SG7:  Interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems

The “Blockchain” Working Group develops a family of horizontal and vertical blockchain standards. The former includes IEEE P2418.1 Standard for the Framework of Blockchain Use in Internet of Things (IoT) and IEEE P2418.: Standard Data Format for Blockchain Systems. The latter covers agriculture (IEEE P2418.3), healthcare (IEEE P2418.6), energy (IEEE P2418.5), and connected and autonomous vehicles (IEEE P2418.4), and finance (IEEE P2418.7).

These activities address interoperability of blockchains, naming protocol, cross chain transaction consistency protocol and a data authentication and communication protocol.

The IEEE Computer Society Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers (BDL) Standards Committee focuses on developing standards for blockchain-based digital asset management, digital asset classification, a digital asset exchange model, blockchain identity key management and on a digital identity system framework.

IEEE also runs a pre-standardisation project on digital inclusion and agency, which leverages blockchain technology.

For more information please visit and


ITU’s standardisation activities in the field of distributed ledger technologies are manifold. In early 2017, the membership adopted a report of the ITU-T Focus Group on Digital Financial Services (FG-DFS) on distributed ledger technologies and financial inclusion.

The recommendations of the FG-DFS are to be implemented by the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI):

DLT for financial inclusion is one of the areas where technical guidelines and recommendations for new standards are being considered in the Security, Infrastructure and Trust WG:

  • Security aspects of DLT
  • Legal issues of DLT for financial inclusion
  • Use cases of DLT for financial inclusion

ITU-T Focus Group on Digital Currency including Digital Fiat Currency (FG-DFC) was set up in 2017 to consider the use of distributed ledger technology to support digital fiat currency for financial inclusion. The focus group concluded its work in June 2019.  FG-DFC deliverables:

In addition, ITU-T, along with the University of Stanford, is launching the Digital Currency Global Initiative (DCGI). Three working groups are set up under the Standardisation pillar:

  • Architecture, Interoperability Requirements and Use Cases (AIRU)
  • Policy and Governance (PG)
  • Security and Assurance (SA

The ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology (FG-DLT) was established in May 2017

  • to identify and analyse DLT-based applications and services;
  • to draw up best practices and guidance which support the implementation of those applications and services on a global scale; and
  • to propose a way forward for related standardisation work in ITU-T Study Groups. 

The FG-DLT concluded its work on 1 August 2019 with the following deliverables, which were transferred in to ITU-T Study Groups 16 (Multimedia) and 17 (Security):

ITU-T SG16 created a specific sub-group, Q22/16, focused on standardisation of blockchain and DLT as a part of e-services. and

ITU-T SG13 approved Recommendations ITU-T Y.2342 “Scenarios and capability requirements of blockchain in next generation network evolution”, Y.3530 “Cloud computing - Functional requirements for blockchain as a service” and in working on requirements and converged framework of self-controlled identity based on blockchain (Y.SCid-fr), scenarios and requirements of network resource sharing based on distributed ledger technology (Y.NRS-DLT-reqts).

ITU-T SG17 approved Recommendations ITU-T X.1401 “Security threats of distributed ledger technology”, X.1402 “Security framework for distributed ledger technology”, X.1403 “Security guidelines for using DLT for decentralized identity management”, is approving ITU-T X.1400 “Terms and definitions for distributed ledger technology”, X.1404 “Security assurance for distributed ledger technology” and is working on “Security controls for distributed ledger technology” (X.SC-DLT).

ITU-T SG20 approved Recommendations ITU-T Y.4464 “Framework of blockchain of things as decentralized service platform”,  Recommendations ITU-T Y.4560 “Blockchain-based data exchange and sharing for supporting Internet of things and smart cities and communities”, Recommendations ITU-T Y.4561 “Blockchain-based Data Management for supporting Internet of things and smart cities and communities”, Recommendations ITU-T Y.4907 “Reference architecture of blockchain-based unified KPI data management for smart sustainable cities” and is currently working on four work items (Y.IoT-rf-dlt, Y.dec-IoT-arch, Y.BC-SON, Y.blockchain-terms).

More information on:    

ITU-T Focus Groups on Environmental Efficiency of AI and other emerging technologies (FG-AI4EE) identifies the standardisation gaps related to the environmental performance of AI and other emerging technologies. The work of the FG-AI4EE is being carried out within three working groups. WG1 defines the general concepts and standardisation requirements for deploying AI, blockchain, 5G and other emerging technologies, efficiently and sustainably. Various ongoing deliverables are related to blockchain. 


W3C has formed a Blockchain Community Group, which is studying and evaluating technologies related to blockchain and use-cases such as interbank communications. Its work is complemented by a group on Blockchain and Decentralized Apps and one on Digital Assets.

W3C created the Decentralized Identifier Working Group (DID WG) URL-based identifiers (URIs) in use on the Web today (2019) require that the identifier be leased from an authority such as a Domain Name Registrar. A Decentralized Identifier (DID) is an identifier that does not need to be leased; its creation and use is possible without a central authority to manage it.

In addition to the “Blockchain Community Group” W3C has also a “Credential Community Group” ( which has developed key standards for SSI (Self-Sovereign Identity) including Decentralized Identifiers (DID) Data model and Syntax and Verifiable Claims Use Cases and Data Model.


The Decentralized Internet Infrastructure Research Group (DINRG) will investigate open research issues in decentralizing infrastructure services such as trust management, identity management, name resolution, resource/asset ownership management, and resource discovery. The focus of DINRG is on infrastructure services that can benefit from decentralization or that are difficult to realize in local, potentially connectivity-constrained networks. Other topics of interest are the investigation of economic drivers and incentives and the development and operation of experimental platforms. DINRG will operate in a technology- and solution-neutral manner, i.e., while the RG has an interest in distributed ledger technologies, it is not limited to specific technologies or implementation aspects.

More details of the DIN RG are available.


CEN and CENELEC established a Focus Group on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies to identify specific European standardisation needs (for example in the context of EU regulations such as GDPR and eIDAS), to map these standardisation needs with the current work items in ISO/TC 307 and to encourage further European participation in ISO/TC 307.

The Focus Group developed a White Paper and presented it for consideration to ISO/TC 307. 

Following the conclusions of the FG, CEN CENELEC set up the Joint Technical Committee JTC19 on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies CLC/JTC 19, working on the identification and adoption of international standards already available or under development and pay attention towards specific European legislative and policy requirements supporting the development of the EU Digital Single Market. The JTC works in close contact with ISO/TC 307 Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. 


CEN-CENELEC activities also are mirrored at the Member State level, e.g. see DIN in this table.


Permissioned distributed ledgers are the kind of DLT best qualified to address most of the use cases of interest to the industry and governmental institutions.

The ETSI ISG PDL is committed to analyse and provide the foundations for the operation of permissioned distributed ledgers, with the ultimate purpose of creating an open ecosystem of industrial solutions to be deployed by different sectors, fostering the application of these technologies, and therefore contributing to consolidate the trust and dependability on information technologies supported by global, open telecommunications networks. The ISG PDL intends to incorporate research and new development results in the field as they become available. The group is actively working to facilitate the coordination and cooperation between relevant standardisation bodies and open source projects.


The Ethereum OASIS Open Project exists to provide a neutral forum for diverse stakeholders to create high-quality specifications that facilitate Ethereum’s longevity, interoperability, and ease of integration. The Ethereum OASIS Project intends to develop clear, open standards, high-quality documentation, and shared test suites that facilitate new features and enhancements to the Ethereum protocol. The projects seeks to address interoperability of implementations for all. Working within a process that is predictable, fair, transparent, and time-tested, the Ethereum OASIS Project will provide a forum for producing standards in a style familiar to corporate contributors

The Baseline Protocol OASIS Open Project combines advances in cryptography, messaging, and blockchain to deliver secure and private business processes at low cost via the public Ethereum Mainnet.


The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has developed two White Papers on Blockchain and a Sectoral Use Case paper. The first White Paper provides an overview of the base principles of Distributed Ledger Technology; the second explores the needs for standardisation in this area and concludes a strong needs for semantic data standards in order to ensure clear understanding between the issuer of information on a Blockchain and all users of that data. The UN/CEFACT Core Component Library can cover the data needs in trade transactions. The final UN/CEFACT Blockchain paper explores the specific needs of each sector (Maritime Transport, Suppy Chain, Agriculture, etc.) and provides a number of use cases.

See: White Paper 1 (available also in French and Russian):

White Paper 2 (available also in French and Russian):…

Use Case paper:


UN/CEFACT continues work on interoperability of ledgers. See:


INATBA, the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications, brings together industry, startups and SMEs, policy makers, international organisations, regulators, civil society and standard setting bodies to support blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to be mainstreamed and scaled-up across multiple sectors. INATBA has a Working Group on standardisation to liaise with standards development organisations and to develop contributions to standardisation, such as use cases and requirements. Relevant for standardisation are also the interoperability and governance working groups

(C.2) additional information

One direction of blockchains technology innovation in recent years was towards highly promising area of secure persistent public data, eliminating the need for initial trust among involved stakeholders. 

The clarification and mutual definition of  several aspects of blockchain technology (such as blockchain interoperability, governance, trust, security of blockchain and of the underlying cryptographic mechanisms, blockchain compliance to legislation, impact of blockchain on different sectors, etc) are crucial prerequisites to introducing the technology to society.   

Global blockchain congress CONVERGENCE: