This year, principal blockchain projects — equipped with heightened mainstream interest — will deploy their infrastructures across the globe and choose a prime location for their European headquarters. But where will they choose: Ireland, Germany, Switzerland? Faced with a continent full of countries that have each embraced blockchain technology, it might seem harder than you think to choose an ideal home for your project. However, amid an increasingly crowded field, one country just got an incredible, €500 million headstart: France.
In February, Jean-Michel Mis and Laure de La Raudière, members of the French parliament, released a report recommending investments of upwards of €500 million in blockchain, outlining 20 different proposals that will help pioneer mass adoption of the technology in the country. With this report, the French government has sent an unequivocal message to the world that France is committed to becoming the next leading blockchain nation.
And since then, blockchain projects have responded positively by setting up shop in the world’s most premiere tourist destination turned technology epicenter. Below, I’d like to outline a few of the many ways that France is leading the charge for blockchain adoption in Europe, and how its forward-thinking attitude will become a leading example for emerging technologies around the world.
Blockchain is often compared to the dawn of the internet. In the early 1990s, for example, it would be hard, if not impossible, for even the most ardent supporter of the Macbook to envision what the future of Apple would look like. Whether it’s 1990 or 2090, emerging technologies can be incredibly hard to understand without a foundational background in how they work and why we should use them. It’s a fact that the French government takes very seriously, which is why it has made a concerted effort to educate the general public on decentralized processes.
France’s Financia Business School, for instance, recently announced that they will offer post-graduate courses in blockchain and other emerging technologies, serving as a prominent example to other universities about the importance of blockchain education Not only is this significant on its own, but Financia has also decided to allow bitcoin payments for yearly tuition fees. For any technology, mass adoption requires new researchers, developers, institutional consultants, and social enthusiasts — professions that begin at a graduate and postgraduate level. By using higher education to advocate for blockchain technology, France is not only openly advocating for blockchain integration on a mass scale, but it’s also cultivating a pool of top developers to build platforms within the country.
Cooperation, not hindrance
Blockchain technology rests on 40 years of academic work in mathematics, cryptography, computer science, and telecommunications. However, while its foundation may date back to concepts in the past, its applications are still relatively unknown to government agencies. At least in the near future, it will be increasingly important for government agencies to work with, instead of against, blockchain projects in an effort to remain ahead of an ever changing curve.
The fact of the matter is that it will only be a matter of time before blockchain technology permeates every industry and practice area. And the sooner that regulatory bodies realize this, the more prepared they will be to pioneer the digital landscape of the future. Thankfully, equipped with forward-thinking leadership and progressive regulatory policy, France is well on its way to setting the pace for blockchain adoption worldwide.
On February 23, French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron advocated for the use of blockchain technology to help revitalize supply chain management in the agricultural industry. Macron called upon foreign nations including the United States, China, and Russia to follow France’s lead in introducing new and innovative ways to track produce from farm to table.
In a statement, Macron said “Let’s do this in Europe, the avant-garde of agricultural technology, by developing tools that will track every product from raw material production to packaging and processing."
Since taking office, Macron has remained vocal about his commitment to emerging technologies, announcing in 2017 that he wanted to make France a startup nation. By setting the stage for innovation, Macron and other French leaders have set an important example for future growth in the country.
The world is changing rapidly, even more than we may realize. The innovations of today vary drastically from the innovations of 5, 10, or even 15 years ago. Who knows what the future may hold for blockchain. One of the great beauties of this emerging technology is that its ability to transform our commercial ecosystem bears near limitless potential.
However, one thing is for certain, we won’t get anywhere unless we have the support of government agencies looking to see blockchain adoption develop. With France leading the way, I truly believe we will experience the social momentum necessary to bring blockchain to new heights. So the next time someone asks what the great tech epicenters are, you’d be wise to include France in your answer.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.