The EU wasted €60M on a pointless fintech fad — but the Belgians won’t let it die – POLITICO – 24 Global News | Latest International Breaking News Today

The EU wasted €60M on a pointless fintech fad — but the Belgians won’t let it die – POLITICO – Latest International Breaking News Today

That is, at least, until Belgium’s digitalization minister, Mathieu Michel, decided to use the country’s EU presidency, which expires in June, to rally support from other EU member states for a rebooted version of the flailing project.

Now, under the guise of a possible “metaverse” evolution, Michel has won around a dozen state endorsements for the project. Yet, concerns linger that the project’s ill-defined parameters and fuzzy mandate could see the EU under Michel’s guidance throw even more good money after bad in a bid to keep the whole thing alive.

Michel himself is not worried by the doomsayers. As an avowed “true believer” in blockchain technology  —  which famously hails from the decentralized settlement systems that power Bitcoin —  he is confident it’s just a matter of time until the technology proves itself. 

“Even if you lose €800,000, in comparison with what it could bring, this is not a waste of money,” Michel assured POLITICO in an interview in January. “The point is not to decide and even be sure that it will be the future. The point is to explore and do new things.”

In that vein, since the Belgian presidency began in January, Michel has focused on stripping what can be salvaged from the old EBSI initiative and finding ways to repurpose it under the new and expanded metaverse remit.

Unsightly downfall

Born in 2018, EBSI was founded as a kind of public-private partnership between the Commission, European tech consortiums and the EU’s 27 member countries, with a mandate to trial public sector blockchain projects.

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-24 Global News | Latest International Breaking News Today
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