Can you explain the reasons that led to the creation of Infrachain? How would you define the vision and mission of Infrachain?
The idea that led to the creation of Infrachain was born in 2016, when the number of Blockchain projects started to increase. One of the obstacles to the deployment was the lack of a sustainable operational environment and of regulatory certainty.
Digital Luxembourg took the initiative to bring together several industry players to address these issues. The vision was to create an on-top governance framework allowing Blockchain applications to become operational in the existing regulatory environment.
Infrachain was born as a non-profit association in May 2017. From its beginnings, Infrachain was meant to have a European scope. Though there is of course a strong link to Luxembourg, we have members from France, Italy, Slovenia and the UK, to name just a few. Among the members are, for instance, the American Fintech Cambridge Blockchain and Ant Financial, the financial arm of online trading giant Alibaba, both via their European entities as we concentrate on the EU for the moment.
Infrachain’s mission is threefold: create community-based governance for private Blockchains, develop a network of independent nodes that fulfil certain minimum technical requirements and, last but not least, promote the take-up and use of Blockchain and DLT technologies.
What have been the main milestones achieved since its creation?
The creation of the Infrachain association was already an achievement in itself. It brought together many different industry players, some of them competitors to each other, which committed to develop common solutions. The diversity and quality of our members is also extraordinary as they comprise Blockchain startups, IT solution providers, national and international law firms, the Big Four or research institutions. And as I have mentioned before, they come from many different EU countries, not only from Luxembourg.
Two major milestones were the completion of the Infrachain governance framework and the definition of our GDPR position. Our governance framework is an important basis for our work with private Blockchains and our GDPR position paper makes it GDPR-friendly. Both are the result of intensive work by our members in the Infrachain working groups.
In October this year, we organized the third edition of Infrachain Summit, a conference dedicated to Blockchain governance and working use cases. It was hosted by our partner Net Service in Bologna. Obviously, that made it very special as Infrachain Summit Italy was the first international edition of our event.
After two years only, we managed to become a representative Blockchain organization in the EU and we are delighted that our efforts caught the attention of the OECD. In a recent report, they acknowledged that Infrachain bridges the gap between blockchain and the regulators, and positions Luxembourg as a competence centre in Europe.
What projects is Infrachain currently working on?
We are currently involved in two exciting Blockchain projects.
The first one is the Public Sector Blockchain in Luxembourg. The launch of the Public Sector Blockchain was announced by Minister Delegate for Digitalisation Marc Hansen at Infrachain Summit Luxembourg in May this year. It is a collaboration between the State and the communes. Infrachain was asked to provide the governance for this Blockchain.
The second one is a Horizon 2020 project. We are part of a European consortium that was selected for funding in a major European-scale Blockchain deployment. Unfortunately, the project is not yet public and therefore I cannot yet reveal further details.
Since Infrachain is a community-based initiative, both projects rely on strong implication from the Infrachain members.
What is Infrachain’s vision for its future
Blockchain is evolving fast. Every other day new developments happen, be it for example on a technical or on a legal or regulatory level. Many companies have difficulties in approaching the topic as they do not have the necessary human resources or skills. On the other hand, expert resources and knowledge are rare and difficult to find.
To further push the potential of Blockchain, Infrachain recently decided to unit its forces with the LHoFT, Lëtzblock, LIST and SNT. Together, we launched a cross-industry collaboration to drive the adoption of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) for the benefit of the Luxembourg economy and society. The goal is to set up a landmark EU hub for Blockchain research and industry projects, a testing lab for commercial PoCs and a magnet for Blockchain talent. The plans are to go live by mid- 2020.