The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has announced that it will be setting up a European Blockchain Institute. The institute will be committed to carry out research on, and develop new and more sustainable ways to use, blockchain technology.
As reported earlier, the German government has in the past exhibited its commitment and support proclaiming the usefulness of blockchain in the process of integrating the member countries of the European Union in this atmosphere of populism and euro-skeptic sentiments. They have claimed that it could especially lead to a smoother accommodation procedure for the asylum seekers in Europe and have even published a Whitepaper outlining a proof-of-concept.
The institute is set to be founded within the Fronhaufer Institute for Material Flows and Logistics at Dortmund, as announced by the Economics Minister of The North Rhine-Westphalia, Andreas Pinkwart.
Concerns Regarding Mining and Environmental Sustainability
Several experts have criticized the blockchain sector for being energy intensive, and the excessive energy consumption in the mining process of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is often cited. This concern has been taken up by several state agencies like the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China which has sought a ban on the mining sector in the country.
Similarly, in the Missoula County commissioners have passed an order to use the existing zoning laws to control the power-hungry Bitcoin mining process. This concern has been stated as one of the critical issues driving the research of the European Blockchain Institute.
Need to be More Competitive
Many experts in the region have recognized the need for Europe to become more competitive (especially in comparison with the US and China) in the blockchain sector. Such collective acknowledgment has led to the formation of bodies like the EU Blockchain Association. The press release from the authority of North Rhine Westphalia institute is one step towards this goal.