The federal government’s blockchain strategy has so far produced little results

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With the national blockchain strategy presented in September 2019, the federal government had written a total of 44 projects in its task list – but only a small part has come to a result so far. This emerges from a response from the federal government to the small inquiry from the FDP parliamentary group, which heise is online.

Accordingly, of the 44 projects in the strategy, six have been completed so far, three have not yet started and the rest are counted as started. According to the list of the federal government, two of the completed projects are now applicable laws, namely the national implementation of the 5th EU Money Laundering Directive, which introduced regulations for crypto custody service providers, and the regulations for electronic securities. The other completed projects are a round-table event, a call for tenders and more general intentions, for example for certain grants that are considered to have been fulfilled.

Projects that deal with actual applications, however, are not ready yet. Among other things, a pilot project by the German Energy Agency (dena) for blockchain-based energy system connection is expected to produce results this year. A so-called “Blockchain Machine Identity Ledger” is being developed, which is to become a digital and decentralized directory for device identities. According to the federal government, this could complement intelligent metering and enable the integration of energy generation systems into the energy system, as well as other value-added services based on them. At the end of 2021, the proceeds of the pilot project, which will then also expire, should be made public.

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Another project is a blockchain that consumers can use to trace food supply chains. The project lies with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology. It is currently being examined “how and whether a practical implementation can take place”. It is also being examined whether a blockchain-based “electronic validity register” would be useful for the judiciary. In general, many of the projects seem to be in the testing stages.

“The blockchain is just a marketing gag for the federal government. Its strategy was announced with a lot of TamTam, but at the end of the legislative period all that remained is hot air,” complained the Bundestag member Frank Schäffler of the FDP. Some critics saw the strategy paper as a rather incoherent hodgepodge even at the time of publication or spoke of “Fantasy, PR-Speak” and funded “Unicorn Breeding Centers”.

Most recently, the federal government with its draft for the crypto value transfer ordinance caused criticism from, among others, the digital industry. The intended obligations for service providers to collect personal data relating to crypto-money transactions are in some cases unattainable and also jeopardize the previous results of blockchain-friendly policy, criticized the Bitkom association.


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