Yesterday the European Commission unveiled the European Blockchain Regulatory Sandbox. The sandbox is targeting corporate solutions and public sector projects that are creating decentralized applications using blockchain technology and getting ready to launch. The aim is to provide legal clarity through a dialogue with regulators. The first call for participants will start on April 14.
Projects between public authorities that use the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) will have priority. But for the next three years, up to 20 private sector projects with a cross border focus will be selected annually and they do not have to use EBSI infrastructure and can use public blockchain. Companies can be any size, provided they are based in the European Economic Area ( EEA ), including Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
This sandbox should not be confused with the DLT Pilot Regime, which is targeted at the financial markets. The DLT Pilot Regime comes into effect in late March.
Law firm Bird & Bird is the sandbox facilitator and will be responsible for project selection based on criteria set by the European Commission. Last year it won a €2.8 million tender that involves providing 400 billable hours annually for three years.
Bird & Bird’s consulting arm OXYGY is also participating alongside blockchain firm WBNoDE and web designers Spindox.
The project selection criteria attribute a 40% weight to the maturity of the business case, another 40% to its legal and regulatory relevance, with the remaining 20% based on its relevance to wider EU policy priorities.
The call for tender highlighted some of the European Commission’s preferences. It stated:
A particular emphasis should be on admitting use cases for DLT to the sandbox that facilitate the portability of personal data with personal information management services and for data spaces, including through automation with smart contracts, digital identity (Self-Sovereign Identity), and other key uses cases (such as digital wallets and verifiable attestations) in the health, environment, trade, mobility, energy, financial, and other key sectors as well as for the use cases under the EBSI.