European Commission launches sandbox to boost blockchain innovation

16 Feb 2023

Image: © ArtWiz/

20 projects that are beyond the proof-of-concept stage and close to market will be supported through the blockchain regulatory sandbox.

In a big push for blockchain technologies in Europe, the European Commission is launching a regulatory sandbox involving digital ledger technologies for the next three years.

The Commission announced this week that the sandbox will establish a pan-European framework for regulatory dialogues to increase legal certainty for blockchain technologies.

Between now and 2026, the sandbox will support 20 projects including public sector use cases on the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure, a pan-European blockchain network born out of a partnership between EU countries, Norway and Lichtenstein.

The initiative is funded by the Digital Europe Programme and will accept applications from projects “beyond a proof-of-concept stage and already close-to-market or at an early stage of being operational”.

Projects will be chosen through calls for expression of interest and the selection process will be overseen by a panel of independent academic experts. Every year, the most innovative regulator participating in the sandbox will be awarded a prize.

Law firm Bird & Bird and its consulting arm Oxygy will lead facilitation of the sandbox, supported by blockchain experts from WBNoDE, a technology consulting firm for the decentralised economy, as well as web designers of Spindox.

“This sandbox will provide legal certainty for decentralised technology solutions including blockchain by identifying obstacles to their deployment from a legal and regulatory perspective,” the Commission wrote in a statement on Tuesday (14 February).

Some of the other services provided by the sandbox will include legal advice, regulatory experience and guidance “in a safe and confidential environment”.

“It should also allow regulators and supervisors to enhance their knowledge of cutting-edge blockchain technologies and share best practices through dialogues,” the Commission went on.

The deadline to apply for the first cohort of projects is 14 April. While open to companies from from all industry sectors, the projects have to be beyond a proof-of-concept stage and “already close-to-market” or at an early stage of being operational.

“Priority will be given to more mature use cases where legal and regulatory questions of broader relevance arise,” the Commission wrote.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic