Last week in blockchain – 2018, week 39

Welcome to Last week in blockchain. My name is Wim Pelgrim, a blockchain realist and with this weekly podcast you’ll stay up to speed about all the major developments on the blockchain. And if you like what you’ve heard: share this podcast, like it in your podcast app or support me by going to

This week I’ll be filling you in about technical problems at STEEM, Albert Heijn, Komgo, French GDPR guidelines and I have some referrals.


When you listen to the blockchain evangelists blockchains are the most robust pieces of software around. But software is still software. And software can go wrong. As seen last week with STEEM, the blockchain underpinning social media website Steemit. An update of the software through off the entire network. Apparently some nodes have updated to a newer version of the software prematurely, and it took about 10 hours to get the network back up. So if anyone says to you a blockchain network will never go down, because of distribution: they are wrong!

Background articles

In The Netherlands a big supermarket corporation, Albert Heijn, started using blockchain, like Carrefour did earlier (podcast #27). And it produced the outcome promised by blockchain: it brought important information about the product to the consumer. It all started with information from the plantations Albert Heijn buys its oranges for its orange juice. There information about the certificates of growers, security of food and durability are stored, besides information about the oranges themselves. That information is accessible for consumers in the stores.

And after the day the press release came out, all hell broke loose in the media about the plantations. The growers were being mistreated, the Dutch newspaper Trouw found out and the app by Albert Heijn didn’t show that information. There was some discussion about the relevance of the information from 2013 and the certificates the plantation has and the truth about the allegations.

But this is exactly what blockchain can do: transparency makes information available to a broad audience. And it opens up a conversation about a supply chain, in this case the chain of the orange juice.

An other news item about companies and blockchain is Komgo. It is a new commodities blockchain platform that will launch very soon, for commodities such as wheat or oil. After numerous pilots in the last few years, this is the first venture any firm can join. Founding partners are (among others) ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Koch Supply & Trading, Natixis, Shell and Societe Generale. Komgo will first be used for crude cargoes of oil in the North Sea and next year agriculture and metals will follow. A big step for blockchain development. And the goal: a 25 to 50 percent drop in costs of the process of financing commodities trade.


Governments and law
In this podcast you’ve heard me say “GDPR” and “regulation” a lot. And now, the first legal entity has spoken out about it: the French data protection authority. I a report, found on their website, you can find the whole text, but I will highlight some of the main topics. The first topic is: who is a controller? Where users directly engage with the ledger, they can sometimes be controllers, but is a miner a controller? Is a node a controller? The question remains open at this point. Developres of smart contracts can be data processors, miners can be processors too, but for more definitive roles, more research is needed.

It is recommended in the report to use encryption and hashes, but the report doesn’t provide guidance on when those techniques meet the GDPR anonymization threshold. And when it comes to the right of deletion of data: CNIL notes that deleting private keys may amount to ‘erasure’ or deletion under GDPR. But the agency isn’t certain this would actually meet the demands in the law.


New applications


Oh my god!

I’m glad I haven’t seen any Oh my god news in a few weeks. Are we growing up as a community?


And a lot of articles you should read this week: Alibaba’s Jack Ma said blockchain will be meaningless unless it helps build a greener future, US Navy wants to use blockchain in aircraft supply chain, thinks arbitration will play a critical role in blockchain technology and Cointelegraph posted an article about the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Central Asia.

And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: 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: World Economic Forum, Marktplaats, Sharding, USA’s judge on ICO’s and lobby group and the blockchain baby. And I hope to see you next week for my next episode. And if you like what you’ve heard, share this podcast with your friends and on social media and click those five stars in your podcast app. See you next week!




Albert Heijn 1

Albert Heijn 2


French data protection agency



Jack Ma

US Navy\


Regulation in Central Asia



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