Last week in blockchain for week 9 of 2018, a podcast with the latest developments in the world of the blockchain.
Welcome to Last week in blockchain. My name is Wim Pelgrim, a blockchain enthusiast and with this weekly podcast you’ll stay up to speed about all the major developments on the blockchain. And that in under 10 minutes!
The last three weeks a lot of people have listened to this podcast and I would like to thank everyone who has subscribed or listened. I just started podcasting, so if you have any advice or suggestion, please let me know. You can comment on Soundcloud or contact me through my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl.
Then for this weeks news, it was a very diverse week, with a lot of items about governments investigating the blockchain. A nice contrast for my taste with last weeks podcast mainly about the financial world. I’ll be discussing EU-funding, IBM’s statement about government use and a new initiative from Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg (also called the Benelux), initiatives from New York City and the British parliament. I also have a crypto wondering for you and I’m going to end with education and Porsche.
The blockchain has become more and more mainstream in a short period of time. Three news items to show you that’s true. First of all the EU. The Horizon2020 project is starting to distribute money for blockchain and distributed ledger research and development. A call is now open until April 16th, but the first funding from an earlier call has been awarded. The University of Amsterdam and the Institute for Information Law have been awarded 1,5 million euro’s for a five year research project. The aim is to investigate which laws and regulations are needed in using the blockchain. Balazs Bodo states he would like to keep the slow world of law up in pace with the fast moving world of technology and to make sure society doesn’t find a way to deal with technology outside the legal framework.
An other indication that the blockchain will be part of everyday life is a statement IBM made in the US Congress. Jerry Cuomo, vice president blockchain technologies at IBM, told a congressional committee the government should embrace the distributed ledger technology. To illustrate his ideas, Cuomo referred to the collaboration between IBM and Maersk, using the blockchain for the Maersk supply chain. Hopefully the US government is willing to consider a trust based technology, because trust doesn’t seem to be the main focus of the Trump administration, but I will not let myself get carried away by my interest in politics. It’s about the technology in this podcast.
Two other authorities put out their ideas about the blockchain this week: UK Treasury and New York City. The city of New York is holding their first blockchain week in May of this year. The week will be organized around the blockchain summit organized by CoinDesk and the city hopes to dethrone Silicon Valey. But as we saw last week, Arizona is trying the same thing and as can be concluded from the funds the EU is awarding, my continent tries to become the next technological center for this century too. The curiosity and enthusiasm of many governments is striking. The United Kingdom is starting a parliamentary inquiry into the cryptocurrencies and blockchain threats and gains. It’s less bold than the tone we hear from the States, but it seems US Congress and the British parliament are on the same track: investigating and looking into the implications of the technology on society from a political and legal standpoint. The same standpoint of the research of Balazs Bodo from the first item in this podcast.
As I stated, the blockchain is becoming mainstream and all kinds of governments investigating the blockchain is a pretty significant argument for that.
In my second podcast I talked about the Dutch Blockchain Coalition. Together with B-Hive and the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (Lhoft), they signed a year long cooperation around blockchain technology last week. During a European Commission meeting the documents were signed and the three organizations will start sharing knowledge about the blockchain and the practical examples the countries (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) are working on. A great step for the maturing blockchain community. I’m curious about the things the partners will come up with. A few use cases can be found on their (Dutch and English) website(Dutch Blockchain Coalition). As I told two weeks ago: I hope to talk about the Dutch Blockchain Coalition in more detail in a future podcast.
Talking about the blockchain, it’s almost impossible to avoid talking about cryptocurrencies and ICO’s. I talked about them before and I don’t want to talk about every crypto that’s announced, but sometimes the use for a currency to solve problems just amazes me. The ICO by a Dutch company called Seal for example. They hope to raise 33 million euro’s to fund their company. Seal wants to place chips on valuable items and put the information about authenticity of the product on a blockchain. An interesting idea, but why use a crypto for this product, besides the ICO as a means of funding the business? I think you can do without the coin it here.
The last two items are related to my field of expertise: education. Working as a teacher, my initial interest in the blockchain started with the possibilities for use in solving educational problems. First of all, you could use the blockchain to make sure digital documents are authentic. Lenovo goes a step farther. They seek a patent for technology that ensures the integrity of documents signed with ink and digitized afterward. How to be sure the text wasn’t altered after the signing? Lenovo uses a cryptographic hash made from the document, stored on a blockchain and can be decoded and checked at any time. A great solution for analogue documents that were created before the digital revolution from education amongst others.
Other problems in education were reported in a post about India. When you read the revelations from Febin John James on Hackernoon, Indian higher education is a mess. The blockchain could create a revolution of trust. I’m glad Dutch education doesn’t resemble the given depiction of India, but some of the basic issues are the same in every educational system. Some interesting ideas to think about in the next few days, until next weeks podcast.
And I want to advice you to watch the video by Porsche: it’s not that rich in content, but it sure makes the blockchain sexy! Check the link in the description.
And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl for more info on me and my podcast and a full transcript of this episode. Check the links to all the news items I talked about in the description. And definitely check back next week for my new podcast on Soundcloud!
You can download a full transcript of this podcast here.
EU-funding for research in blockchain laws