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April 4, 2019

Blockchain expert group discusses use cases in Madrid, invites global input to future standards

By ITU News

Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are proving applicable to a wide range of business operations. DLT use cases are emerging in telecom, finance, energy, supply chain and government, to name just a few of the many sectors interested in DLT application.

The penultimate meeting of the ITU Focus Group on ‘Application of Distributed Ledger Technology’ – supported by Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid City Council and Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Business Affairs – concluded in Madrid today following four days analyzing DLT use cases spanning responsible trade in gold, carbon marketplaces, e-governance and citizen engagement, investment tracking, traceability in food supply chains, trade facilitation and customs management, real-time tax compliance, and the authentication of identity and digital integrity.

The meeting opened with a workshop on ‘Distributed Ledger Technology, Blockchain and their role in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals’, hosted by Spain’s ‘National Blockchain Ecosystem’ Alastria and China’s Trusted Blockchain Initiatives.

The Focus Group now turns its attention to its final meeting in Geneva, 29 July to 1 August 2019, where it will finalize output documents intended to inform ITU technical standardization activities on blockchain and DLT technology.

ITU standardization work is contribution-driven, and ITU has received a flood of contributions on blockchain and DLT.

DLT is now under study in ITU standardization work on security and trust, identity management, environmental sustainability, protocols and test specifications, combatting counterfeiting, multimedia, digital financial services, smart cities, and data processing and management.

ITU Focus Group to support DLT decision-makers

The Focus Group aims to deliver tools of value to all DLT innovators and practitioners, recognizing that DLT applications will take a wide variety of forms.

“Participation in ITU Focus Groups is open to all interested parties,” says the Focus Group’s Chair, Wei Kai, Team Leader of the blockchain research group at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). “We have examined a wealth of contributions from a broad range of sources, contributions that have been judged on their merits by a very diverse, dedicated group of experts.”

The Focus Group aims to deliver a comprehensive set of ‘assessment criteria’ to support efforts to understand the strengths and weaknesses of DLT platforms in different use cases, an initiative intended to assist potential DLT adopters in gaining the confidence necessary to invest in compelling DLT use cases.

The group is also developing a high-level DLT architecture – a reference framework – detailing the key elements of a DLT platform. “We aim to build clarity around how DLT platforms should be described and assessed,” says Wei Kai.

The Focus Group is studying high-potential DLT use cases and DLT platforms said to meet the requirements of such use cases. These studies guide the Focus Group’s abstraction of the common requirements necessary to describe a DLT architecture and associated assessment criteria.

“We believe that this approach could help industry and government to undertake their DLT journeys with greater certainty,” says Wei Kai.

Comments invited on the Focus Group’s draft output documents

The Focus Group is in the processing of finalizing five deliverables:

  1. DLT terms and definitions
  2. DLT use cases
  3. DLT reference architecture
  4. DLT platform assessment criteria
  5. DLT regulatory framework

All interested parties are welcome to review and comment on the draft deliverables. For more information, please contact

Join the group’s mailing list, request access to documents and sign-up to a working group on the homepage of the ITU Focus Group on ‘Application of Distributed Ledger Technology’.

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Blockchain expert group discusses use cases in Madrid, invites global input to future standards

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