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Germany ― Europe’s largest economy ― may be hopping on the bitcoin bandwagon as it explores how to deploy blockchain across various industries. The German government has launched a consultation process in a bid to formulate a comprehensive blockchain strategy before the summer begins.
Berlin is a tech hub that’s home to 170 startups that could use blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin. Government sources told Reuters that industry groups and companies have been invited to offer their recommendations for incorporating blockchain to bolster the German economy.
Sources say there is keen interest from tech investors and market participants from a wide range of industries, including the auto industry, the energy sector, and pharmaceutical companies.
28% OF YOUNG GERMANS ARE BITCOIN-CURIOUS
While there is no formal crypto-centric regulatory framework in Germany, interest in crypto investing has spiked, especially among young adults.
According to a November 2018 survey, 28% of young Germans (ages 18 to 29) expressed interest in purchasing virtual currencies like bitcoin.
“A survey conducted by the German Consumer Centre shows a growing interest in crypto, with more than a quarter of young Germans saying they are willing to invest in cryptocurrency.
It is not surprising that a demographic whose lives have been characterized by smartphones, internet, and social media, see the attractive functionality cryptocurrency provides as an instant and decentralized means of transferring value.”
GERMAN AUTO GIANT PORSCHE TESTS BLOCKCHAIN
Meanwhile, there is growing competition among European nations, Asia, and the United States to become leaders in the burgeoning blockchain marketplace, starting with the auto industry.
As CCN reported, 62% of auto executives surveyed by the IBM Institute for Business Value believe that blockchain will be a disruptive force by 2021.
Auto executives say they are counting on the blockchain promise of secure, traceable transactions to streamline supply chain management.
The IBM Institute pointed out that German auto giant Porsche has already been testing blockchain applications since February 2018.
Specifically, Porsche has been developing blockchain applications to park cars, lock and unlock vehicles, and make loaning out a company car to an employee easier.
BLOCKCHAIN USED TO TRACK FRESH PRODUCE
IBM has been quietly researching blockchain technology for several years. In October 2018, IBM partnered with French grocery mega-chain Carrefour to improve food safety by tracking chicken, eggs, and tomatoes as they travel from farms to stores.
Carrefour — Europe’s largest retailer with more than 12,000 global locations — plans to use this system to track all its fresh product lines over the next few years.
Carrefour executives say blockchain will help them detect outbreaks of salmonella linked to eggs and poultry, which are a recurring problem in the food industry.
MIT: BLOCKCHAIN WILL BECOME MAINSTREAM
Indeed, the global push to make blockchain mainstream is so pervasive that even the anti-crypto MIT Technology Review says blockchain will become so commonplace in 2019 that it’ll become “boring.”
“In 2017, blockchain technology was a revolution that was supposed to disrupt the global financial system. In 2018, it was a disappointment. In 2019, it will start to become mundane.”
NYC OPENS BLOCKCHAIN CENTER IN CRYPTO WINTER
MIT says the move to normalize blockchain in 2019 is being facilitated by mega-corporations like Walmart and by institutional momentum building on Wall Street.
Want proof? New York City opened a 4,000-square-foot Blockchain Center in January at the height of the brutal Crypto Winter.
“We are playing the long game,” said Ana Arino of the NYC Economic Development Corp. “[Blockchain] is a nascent technology, so there’s bound to be uncertainty around this evolution from year to year.
While we don’t know what the future holds, we want to make sure we have a seat at the table shaping it.”
The Blockchain Center is located in downtown Manhattan. It joins other crypto and tech startups that populate New York’s Silicon Alley tech hub. That’s Manhattan’s smaller version of California’s Silicon Valley.