Last week in blockchain for week 16 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! And if you like what you have heard: please share this podcast on your socials and spread the word.
As of this week, I’m also recording this podcast in Dutch for Dutch language website Blocker.nl. You can check the Dutch version on that website. This week I’m going to talk about Guts Tickets, Harvard law, identity on the blockchain and the broader implementation and risks of the blockchain in the EU and voting on the blockchain.
First, I have to go back to podcast #5. I talked about Dutch startup Guts Tickets, backed by some popular comedians in The Netherlands. Guts wants to make sure tickets can’t be bought in bulk and sold for a lot of money. But something seems wrong: the cryptocurrency of the startup has fallen below the 50 eurocent base the founders promised. Falling Ether prices are part of the problem, but disappointing returns for investors could be part of the problem too. At Quotenet the founders were interviewed and you can check their answers via the link in the description.
At Harvard Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright wrote a book about blockchain and the law. I was only able to read the abstract, but the book has some interesting questions and insights into the legal implications of the blockchain. The main question asked in the book: would we rather live in a world constrained by the rules of law or by the rules of code. Decentralized blockchain-based applications can liberate us from centralized intermediaries but could constraint us ‘under the yoke of the tyranny of code’. I read a lot, but I can’t read everything. I can just advice lawmakers to read this book.
In podcast #1 (my pilot episode) I talked about Fummi, an application to give homeless people in New York an identity and a way to take care of their finances. Reclaiming your identity through the blockchain is a major change for this technology. This week two new apps with the same goal: Houman Haddad first. He uses a private fork of the Ethereum Network to give Syrian refugees a single digital wallet to identify themselves and do transactions. Haddad is working on the idea at MIT at this moment.
But it’s not the only identity blockchain solution in the news. Austin is working on an application to give homeless citizens an identification. And that’s the third application, but a year ago Microsoft and the UN imposed an idea to give the 1.1. undocumented people in the world an ID. So that’s number four. A lot of ideas, hopefully some will succeed. But with any blockchain idea: when you put wrong information in, it’s difficult to get it out. Especially when you provide people with a newly documented identification, it’s very important to be sure you have the right person in front of you.
And furthermore, there is a lot of info that indicates the blockchain is maturing and becoming mainstream: in the EU, at top universities and in the Dutch Digital Delta. Not only the European Commission but also the member countries. Andrus Ansip, EC vice-president, called the DLT one of “the areas where Europe is best positioned to play a leading role”. Continuing: “We need hard cash”. But the commission also launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum.
And when it comes to the member countries: twenty-two have signed up to create a blockchain partnership. “Blockchain-based services have the potential to enable more decentralised, trusted, user-centric digital services, and stimulate new business models, benefiting our society and the economy. […] The partnership launched today enables member states to work together with the EC to turn the enormous potential of blockchain technology into better services for citizens.”
But the blockchain also has risks. Prince Constantijn, prince of Orange in The Netherlands, is special emissary for the Dutch Startup Delta. He spoke at the closing ceremony of the BlockChaingers hackathon. He told the audience we shouldn’t make the same mistakes as we did with the internet platforms or the internet of things. “Let’s share more about how we can use the blockchain in such a way it contributes to society.” Looking at the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica news coming out all over, I hope the blockchain developers learn a lot about those mistakes and prevent them in the future.
And with my new podcast at Blocker.nl, I’ll be discussing some Blocker news from now on. This week a nice article about voting applications. Most of them are in a state of white papers, Democracy Earth is starting a presale of their token. A lot of them are overlapping in their ideas, but differ in technology. Voatz is the best known because of a major capital injection by Medici Ventures of 2,2 million.
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: Guts Tickets, Harvard law, identity on the blockchain and the broader implementation and risks of the blockchain in the EU and voting on the blockchain. And definitely check back next week for my new podcast on Soundcloud and in Dutch on Blocker.nl!
You can download a full transcript of this podcast here
Microsoft and the UN