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EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum
News article27 September 20194 min read

EU Observatory Newsletter - Convergence Special Edition #2

EU Observatory Newsletter - Convergence Special Edition #2

Official Newsletter of the European Union Blockchain Observatory and Forum - 27 September 2019 

As a principal organiser of Convergence – The Global Blockchain Congress, the EU Observatory and Forum is pleased to provide its newsletter readers with regular conference updates during the lead-up to the event. We look forward to seeing many of you there!


Stable coins: The great debate

Convergence looks at the future of money on blockchain

Bitcoin has been credited with catalysing a revolution in money. But high volatility has kept it and other cryptocurrencies from catching on as a means of payment. Stable coins, whether private issues like Facebook’s Libra or central-bank issued national cryptocurrencies, could solve this problem. But Libra has raised concerns among policy makers, and CBDCs (as central bank cryptocurrencies are known) are as yet untested. While there is great potential, there are also many unknowns.

At Convergence, we are pleased to have the Libra foundation, the ECB, other major central banks and global regulators joining us to take a close look at the promise and perils of stable coins. It is sure to be one of the most highly watched debates in blockchain this year. More below.

We are also proud to announce over 30 new top speakers from around the world. Scroll down to see who has joined.

Over 30 top speakers added

Policy makers, politicians and practitioners

The following are among the speakers we have confirmed since the last newsletter:

  • Olivier Guersent, DG “Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union”, European Commission
  • Dirk Bullmann,European Central Bank
  • Jumpei Miwa, Financial Service Agency of Japan
  • Richard Williams, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • Caroline Malcom, OECD
  • Bernhard Kowatsch, World Food Programme
  • Michèle Finck, Max Planck Institute
  • Samia Melhelm, World Bank
  • Jesus Ruiz, Alastria
  • Pelle Braendgaard, uPort
  • Takeshi Fukuizumi, Softbank Corp
  • Rebecca Hoffman, OOC Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium
  • Caroline D.C. Madagow, Grassroots Economics
  • Stela Mocan, World Bank
  • Harald Gruber, European Investment Bank
  • Masamba Thioye, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Cristina Aranda, Taiger
  • Pietro Marchionni, Agency for Digital Italy, Italian Government
  • Alejandro Pardo, Inter American Development Bank, LACChain
  • Alakanani Itireleng, Satoshi Centre
  • Bart Preneel, KU Leuven
  • Chris Berg, RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub
  • Chris Zhong, Blockchain Philanthropy Foundation / Accenture Australia
  • Ovais Sarmad, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Franz von Weizsäcker, GIZ
  • George M. Giaglis, Institute for the Future, University of Nicosia
  • Ismael Arribas, Kunfud
  • Ling Wu, TBCASoft
  • Manuel Machado, Worldline
  • Roberto Fernández Hergueta, Everis/NTT Data
  • Zenu Sharma, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John's University

View the speaker list online (updated continuously).

Program highlight: Stable coins

Libra, the ECB, central bankers and policy makers discuss the potential and perils of “stable” cryptocurrencies

While the advent of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been revolutionary, these natively digital currencies have been highly volatile. This is one reason why they haven’t broken through as means of payment at retail outlets or e-commerce sites. To solve this problem, the blockchain Industry has come up with a new generation of tokens, the so-called "stable coins".

Facebook, as many will know, recently made global headlines with the announcement of its Libra stable coin. Considering its potential use by the social media giant’s 2.4 billion customers worldwide, Libra could easily become a new world currency, and a boon to billions of un- or underbanked around the world. But Libra has also raised concerns among policy makers worried about monetary sovereignty, privacy, competition and money laundering.

At the same time, central banks seem to be warming to the idea of blockchain-based money, which among other things could greatly facilitate blockchain-based commerce. The People's Bank of China says it soon will be able to issue its own central bank digital currency to Chinese citizens through commercial banks and large internet platforms. It is not the only central bank looking at this option.

Will these other central banks follow through? Will Libra act as a catalyst for their plans? Can citizens soon spend euros and yen on the blockchain? Or will Libra seize this space before central banks can get their act together?

Join us at Convergence as we bring together high-level speakers from the Libra Association, the European, Japanese and Brazilian central banks, as well as financial regulators from Japan, France and Germany, for a deep dive into this most important of topics.

Participants include the Director General of DG FISMA, top managers of the ECB, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Brazil, the Financial Services Authority of Japan as well as a high level representative of the Libra Association in Switzerland. Here is the program:

  • Keynote 1: What is behind Stable Tokens: Opportunities and Risks. The Libra Association on the use cases, potential benefits and risks of its stable coin.
  • Keynote 2: Regulatory Clouds: Can Stable Tokens Survive the Storm? How could stable coins affect citizens and markets, and how do they fit into the current regulatory environment?
  • Keynote 3: Central Bank Issued Cryptocurrencies: Sooner than we think? What would a central bank-backed cryptocurrency look like, and how would it be used?
  • Fireside chat: Is the World Ready for a Global Digital Currency? How can national regulators and jurisdictions cope with the issues and repercussions a truly decentralized global currency?

For an overview and up-to-date information on the agenda and participants check out the website at

Be a part of it

Curious? Intrigued? Raring to go? There are many different ways to get involved.

Or visit the website and use the Contact Form to get in touch directly.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you!

As always, we would like to thank everyone who has been active in contributing to the Observatory. None of this would be possible without the participation of all of you in our community.

With best regards,
The EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum.


Publication date
27 September 2019