Slovenia launches national test blockchain infrastructure and Slovenian Blockchain partnership
Slovenia is the first Member State of the EU to establish a blockchain test infrastructure, after last week's announcement from China about similar plans for the national blockchain infrastructure. Within the EU framework, Slovenia will actively participate in the development of use cases implemented on European Blockchain Services Infrastructure.
SI-Chain was established by the innovative technology provider company Hashnet in cooperation with Telemach, the telecommunication solutions provider, in November 2019. In this phase the technology facilitates transactions and the creation of smart contracts. Hashnet technology is one of the fastest and most energy-efficient distributed ledger technologies on the global level. Tadej Slapnik, managing director of Hashnet Slovenia, emphasized that the ambition is to integrate technology into the business models of companies and public services, with the highest possible range, and high speed transactions.
Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek emphasized the importance of the impact of blockchain technology for economic development, and for the efficiency, productivity and competitiveness of the Slovenian economy. The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology issued a call for Demo/Pilot projects in 2018 funded from EU funds in the amount of EUR 73 million, which are allocated to projects planning the use of blockchain technology (65% funding) and AI (74% funding) and other converging technologies (IoT, big data, ML, predictive analytics, AR, VR, MR, 3D and so forth). The findings from these projects will also help the Slovenian Government to create regulatory solutions for specific industry verticals using blockchain, with the introduction of smart contract definition into Slovenian corporate law, and with the prospect of regulating digital entities and regulatory sandboxes for different fields of industry and the public sector.
The success of Slovenian blockchain companies is recognized worldwide. At the United Nations, where Slovenia joined the Group of Friends on Digital Technologies, it was recognized as a role model for cooperation of the public and private sectors in the development of blockchain solutions. The European Commission recognized Slovenia as a reliable partner to be hosting the first pilot project – the regional investment fund for AI and Blockchain startups in Europe.
As one of most active blockchain countries, Slovenia shows evidence of growth of the use of emerging key enabling technologies, which is an important factor, and shows that the pace of technological development today is exceptional and the fastest it has ever been in human history. Therefore the humanization of technologies is another big issue that modern society will have to cope with, as emphasized by Zoran Poznič, Minister of Culture.
Since 2017, when Slovenian projects received over 5% global investments in blockchain projects, Slovenia has experienced steady growth. The crowdfunding concept, with the initial coin offerings, was one of the most important sources of financing for innovative projects that were at the development stage and had not reached the stage of being eligible for institutional financing. At that time the share of institutional financing was still quite high, but ICO investments received around 49% of the financing of startups. This boosted entrepreneurial activity in Slovenia among young people and refreshed the business environment in Slovenia. At the same time, Slovenia has a large number of highly skilled IT professionals who have been engaged in these projects. This knowledge and the new markets boosted Slovenian blockchain visibility and recognition, pointed out Nena Dokuzov, who is responsible for blockchain technologies at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.