The Bank of Finland – the country’s central bank – had recently organized a blockchain seminar to discuss the potential and possibilities presented by the innovation.
Held on November 24th, the world’s fourth oldest central bank co-organized the event alongside the Ministry of Finance and drew in a number of participants including researchers, governmental authorities, and executives from industry firms across Finland.
The setting offered a platform for a collaborative discussion about blockchain technology and its potential use cases in both private and public industries.
Speakers included representatives from a number of notable organizations, including the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, a major Finnish think tank; Aalto University, a prominent Finish university based in Greater Helsinki; the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a state-owned research and technology company and; the Lappeenranta University of technology. Also attending were executives from Microsoft, Finnish energy company Fortum and digital payments firm Nets.
Technological innovations in payment and financial systems brought on by blockchain endeavors will be under the purview of the Bank of Finland, according to the bank’s governor Erkki Liikanen.
Noting that the bank will play the role as the “overseer and catalyst” in the payments space, the official said:
Our task is to ensure the reliability and efficiency of the payment system and the overall financial system and to participate in their development. Research into, and support of, new innovations shaping the financial sector constitute part of this work.
The seminar, according to the bank, is ultimately an effort to bring the important domestic players in the space to “reflect on a common view and strategy” for implementing blockchain solutions in the country.
Notably, ten projects were presented as a part of the seminar, all of which pitched possible scenarios of “harnessing blockchain technology for the needs of the industry, the financial sector and public administration.”
While few details have been revealed, the involvement of Finnish electricity company Fortum and Fintech payments firm Nets hints at the possibility of digital payments for the public to pay bills in the energy industry. As examples, German energy firm Enercity recently announced that residents can pay their utility bills with bitcoin. Similarly in Japan, an electricity company is also accepting bitcoin from users to settle their bills. Furthermore, the firm is also incentivizing bitcoin adoption, with discounts offered to those paying with the cryptocurrency.
The hands-on effort by the country’s central bank to usher in a cooperative effort toward blockchain development across the country is reminiscent to that of the Singapore’s central bank, which is undertaking a number of blockchain and Fintech initiatives to encourage development in the country.
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