AuthorBellia, M.; Kounelis, I.; Anderberg, A.; Calès, L.; Andonova, E.; Pólvora, A.; Petracco Giudici, M.; Nascimento, S.; Inamorato dos Santos, A.; Rossetti, F.; Papanagiotou, E.; Nai Fovino, I.; Spirito, L.; Sobolewski, M.
Blockchain and distributed ledger
technologies (DLTs) can bring many
In our increasingly interconnec ted world, a vast
set of opportunities c an emerge from blockchain
as a technology that could e nable parties with
no particular tr ust in each other to exchange
any kind of digital assets (money, contrac ts, land
titles, medical and edu cational records, services
or goods) on a peer-to-peer basis with fewer to
no intermediaries.
As a tamper-resistant an d time-stamped
database, blockchain tec hnology can allow
individuals, f‌irms, public orga nisations and other
entities to validate transac tions and update
records in a synchronised, transparent and
decentralised way. These new mechanisms for
creating and managing data ca n be impactful
across sectors – for insta nce, when it comes to
increasing ef‌f‌iciency an d automating processes,
reducing costs, or spurr ing new organisational and
business models. Possible benef‌it s of transparency,
security and increa sed trust are now apparent for
a range of applications an d use cases where it is
key to move from siloed to more open systems.
…and many challenges
Blockchain’s potential for a myriad of sectors has
increasingly come to the foreground, even though
it is still in an embryonic form as an emerging
or early-stage technology. Core technical
bottlenecks remain unresolved which, depending
on the type of blockchain, can include scalability
and performance, interoperability, high energy
consumption, and the protection of personal,
sensitive or conf‌idential data . Regulatory
uncertainties over the formal status of blockchain
applications are also causing extra ambiguity
and risk for f‌irms and other organisations eit her
piloting blockchain or interested in it s deployment.
Currently, many of blockchain’s potential benef‌its
remain unfulf‌illed or have yet to be fully tested.
Its development faces questions over possible
impact, added va lue or concrete directions for
widespread adoption. A nd a fast-paced, uncert ain
but, at the same time, highly promising f‌ield calls
for further research and e xperimentation bringing
together policy, economic, social , technological,
legal and environmental dimensions.
Why this report?
In recent years, we have witnessed an outburst
of interest around blockchain. Some say it will
bring nothing short of a revolution which will
deeply disrupt the way we exchange data
and create value in an increasingly digit al
world. Others dismiss it as an over-hyped
and obscure technolog y with no real or concrete
implementations compare d to other existing
technologies or alternative emerging solu tions.
This report aims not only to debunk current
misunderstandings an d magnif‌ied promises
around blockchain, but also to provide
an independent view on the challenges and
opportunities for its development and upt ake
within the European cont ext.
It is important to understand that blockchain
technology is not the same a s crypto-currencies,
which is only one type of applic ation with
its own set of controversies. It is also important
to recognise that blockchain is not limited to its
f‌inancial applications t hat are usually at the core
of discussions focused, for instance, on trading
bubbles or initial coin of‌ferings (ICOs). Instead,
amid unfolding developments and un certain
futures, blockchain has potential applications in
many other sectors, from advanced manufacturing
or health to education and p ublic and third-sector
engagements with citizens.

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