When we think about the most blockchain-friendly hubs in the world, the likes of Malta, Japan, and Gibraltar often springs to mind. However, a new player is gearing up to make a challenge of its own – the Spanish region of Catalonia.
For those unaware, Catalonia is a somewhat controversial discussion point in Spain, not least because independence as a sovereign state is heavily sought after by those based in the region.
Nevertheless, with Catalonia’s Government hinting at their desire to integrate blockchain technology into various aspects of its regulatory framework, could the region be the next big player in the field?
Blockchain technology to spear-head e-voting
The concept of introducing an e-voting system that is fully supported by blockchain technology was first introduced by the Estonian government. This not only includes voting in local elections, but Estonians also have a chance to have their say on how governmental services are run.
This success has spurned the Government of Catalonia to consider implementing blockchain technology into its voting systems. A draft bill was first passed by the Generalitat of Catalonia in October 2018, subsequently giving the region the green light to begin making the necessary preparations. It is hoped that the blockchain-based e-voting system will be operational by 2020.
This isn’t the first time that Catalonia has expressed interest in blockchain technology, with with the government announcing in July 2018 that it plans to explore how the technology can bridge the gap between companies, citizens and the public administration.
As per the Department of Digital Policies in Catalonia, it is hoped that a working group can ascertain how best to use the blockchain protocol to maximize its economic value.
It was also reported late last year that the Catalan Government were utilizing the practical benefits of cryptocurrencies with the view of funding their political aspirations. One such example of this was the President of Catalonia asking for donations from its regional citizens in the form of Bitcoin to help support legal, logistical and procedural endeavors.
Barcelona and the blockchain hub
Barcelona – as both the capital of Catalonia and its largest city, is also looking to spearhead the revolution in the region. Known as the ‘Tech Hub,’ Barcelona is paving the way for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology innovation. Explicitly located in Pier01, the hub hosts more than a thousand people linked to the industry, which includes a range of exciting startups.
This includes the likes of Alastria – a Spanish consortium that consists of more than 70 companies from a range of different sectors. Notable members of Alastria includes SAP, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Banca March, Accenture, Indra, Simon, and Fujitsu.
In order to announce its intentions to the global crypto community, the Catalonia city of Barcelona is also about to host an exciting crypto conference in July.
Barcelona Trading Conference
Hosted by online publication FinanceMagnates, the Barcelona Trading Conference is specifically focused on Bitcoin as a key investment vehicle. Whether you’re interested in trading Bitcoin as a retail or institutional investor, the conference aims to provide ideas and actionable insights into the direction that the market is heading.
To illustrate to preciousness of the conference, attendees of the event will be accustomed to some major speakers. Samantha Barrass – CEO of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, is particularly interested in how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will fit into a modern regulatory framework – something that will no doubt be crucial as the trading side of the industry continues to thrive.
Yoni Assia – Founder and CEO of leading trading platform eToro will also be speaking. The platform has expressed great interest in the digital phenomenon as it now allows investors to both long and short 15 different cryptocurrencies.
For those interested in taking their cryptocurrency trading and market making skills to the next level, Christian Gil – founder of GSR, will also be speaking at the event. The company provides liquidity and algorithmic trading strategies for digital currency space.
Will Catalonia be the next blockchain hub of Europe?
Although it’s still early days, the government of Catalonia has made its stance clear on the future of blockchain technology. Whether its e-voting or bridging the gap between citizens and the public administration, the Spanish region has big plans in its quest to embrace the crypto space.
If you’re interested in attending the upcoming Barcelona Trading Conference, the event is being hosted in the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB) on July 10th-11th. If you’ve never been, the CCIB is a fantastic piece of architecture situated within the heart of Barcelona’s business district.