Blockchain is a comparatively young technology, a “new kid on the block”: Since 2009, the development of Blockchain-related applications (“Smart Contracts”) have made decentralised transactions possible through the use of cryptographic functions such as Trusted Computing. Say what?

Simply put: Imagine Blockchain as a container, in which anyone can store information for making exchange processes of any kind transparent or for identifying themselves. In this way, the service providers/intermediaries who, until now, carried out the authentication can potentially be replaced technologically. Although “decentralised” has historically always been better on the web: Can DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations) really live up to all the hopes that are being laid at their feet from so many different sections of society, to the extent that it even moves beyond political allegiances?  

We want to use this year’s “Blockchain” topic to focus on the developments that the Blockchain technology has made. When dealing with possible and current fields of application, you encounter a wild mix of euphoria, cypherpunk and the iconisation of technological solutionism.  

Ask the developers and enthusiasts, and you’ll hear that transactions on Blockchain are faster, cheaper and, at least mathematically, “safer” than IRL. The straight peer-to-peer communication allows for the exchange of information without any institutions. Does this mean we’ve got a shift from top-down organisations to bottom-up cooperation in store? Are we dealing with a utopia or are we headed towards a cybernetic disaster? And what concrete environmental and societal effects is Blockchain already having today? Blockchain has a special advantage when dealing with non-physical goods, such as music, digital artworks or energy. What role can it therefore play in collective ownership or in the energy revolution? And is crypto really the answer to the problems of our democracies or will the externalisation of exchange processes in technology lead to an intensification of “surveillance capitalism”?

We’ve already prepared a detailed, basic introduction to Blockchain for you here. And for the one's who understand German, our friends over at Netzpolitik currently have an exciting, three-part interview series running on the technology: part 1 and part 2.

We will be discussing applications of Blockhain in the Finance sector in our FinTech-Topic at #rp18.

  • Arts & Culture
    Blockchain
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    Can Blockchain be a potential gamechanger for the global underground of future music makers all around the world?
  • Politics & Society
    Blockchain
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    Against the backdrop of more than one billion people lacking legal proof of identity, we want to bring together technologists and development experts to single out a common vision on how blockchain-powered identification systems need to be designed to leave no one behind. You are invited to develop concrete ideas around use cases of self-sovereign identity in collaboration with GIZ and other experts.
  • Business & Innovation
    Blockchain
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    How blockchain technologies could impact film, TV, digital media and gaming sectors? Let’s take the time to illustrate through a series of projects in development, what does this “Internet of value” mean in terms of IP, DRM, collaboration, distribution, monetization, royalties and investments recoupment. A presentation, with a Canadian point of view: case studies from Canada, the Canadian media and blockchain ecosystem and some tips and advice on how collaborate and coproduce with Canadian creators.
  • Politics & Society
    Blockchain
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    Das exponentielle Wachstum an Aufmerksamkeit und Investitionen in Blockchain Technologie erzeugt nicht zuletzt einen Bedarf an politischer Diskussion und Einordnung. Mit dem Ziel einen politisch neutralen und innovationsfreundlichen Dialog zu ermöglichen, hat sich 2017 der Blockchain Bundesverband gegründet. Die PanelistInnen werden ihre Erfahrungen aus dem ersten Jahr Bundesblock teilen und dabei vor allem auf die gesellschaftliche Relevanz, Initial Coin Offerings und Sicherheitsaspekte der Technologie eingehen.
  • Mobility & City
    Blockchain
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    Blockchain ist derzeit allgegenwärtig. Doch auch wenn der anhaltende Hype um diese Technologie es oft in Vergessenheit geraten lässt: Blockchain ist kein Allheilmittel, sondern ein äußerst komplexer und bisweilen noch höchst energieintensiver Ansatz, dessen zweifelsohne herausragende Vorteile nur in passenden Anwendungsfällen zum Tragen kommen.
  • Arts & Culture
    Blockchain
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    How cultural projects, cultural organizations and funding are organized via decentralized technologies:
    While most people appreciate the outcomes of cultural production, both the modes of production and its organizational structures are largely ignored. The present bureaucratic system of labels, distribution services and cultural organizations make it difficult for producers to efficiently connect with their audience and build a livelihood. This panel explores in what ways decentralized technologies might help lowering the barriers to funding, communication and sales.
  • Science & Technology
    Blockchain
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    Blockchain technology will reduce transaction costs in the energy sector, enable active participation of a larger number of market participants (consumers and devices) and, as a consequence, accelerate the transition towards a cleaner, more resilient, and more cost effective system.
    The EWF, through its Energy Web Platform, is developing a public standard platform that ensures interoperability, reduces costs and complexity and aligns currently dispersed blockchain initiatives.
  • Research & Education
    Blockchain
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    Die Grenze des Möglichen – oder; Können Programme Wälder verwalten, Naturschutz betreiben und Eigentum besitzen? Blockchain basierte Technologien wie Smart Contracts, Tokens und Decentralized Autonomous Organisations (DAO) schaffen neue Infrastruktur und sind beispielsweise in der Lage die Verwaltung von Ressourcen zu übernehmen. Mit den Technologien kommen auch neue ökonomisch-ökologische und ethische Fragen, auf die eine klare Positionierung erfordern.
    Das interdisziplinäre Forschungsprojekt terra1 untersucht, inwiefern dezentrale Technologien das Potenzial haben neue Formen der Forstwirtschaft zu ermöglichen. Ziel ist, neben einer transparenten und nachhaltigen Bewirtschaftung von Wäldern, durch kollaborative Entscheidungsmechanismen
    Bürgerinnen und Bürger partizipativ in den aktuellen Diskurs rund um eine umweltbewusste Forstindustrie einzubinden.
  • Business & Innovation
    Blockchain
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    Blockchain technology offers an enormous opportunity in 2018: Its decentralized, secure and transparent system of storing and making transactions supports a range of services. There are many opportunities but equally many unanswered questions when it comes to the future of blockchain technology in developing markets and beyond, though. This session brings experts from technology, finance, and grassroots community activism together to discuss a way forward with blockchain technology where no one is left behind. 
  • Science & Technology
    Blockchain
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    Als Bitcoin geboren wurde, entfachte es bei vielen die Hoffnung auf ein alternatives Finanzsystem: dezentral, unabhängig von staatlicher Macht und Manipulation, kontrolliert von den Menschen selbst, schnell und günstig.
    Heute geht es gar nicht mehr um Währungen, sondern um Tokens, ICOs und Marktakpitalisierung. Das Ziel: Mehr altes Geld mit neuen Mitteln machen. Ist die Idee hinter Bitcoin gestorben? Bauen wir noch ein alternatives Finanzsystem – oder passen wir das alte nur an? Und was muss passieren, damit der Traum hinter Bitcoin doch noch wahr wird?
  • Politics & Society
    Blockchain
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    To establish trusted virtual currencies in the form of token systems is nothing short of a hype right now, and it can in fact solve certain problems. But whether the management of public (digital) infrastructure can benefit from it, is still an open question. Looking at it from the viewpoints of self-sovereign digital identity and free knowledge, we will talk about what blockchain-based tokens can and cannot do, which problems they solve and which they merely shift around or substitute with other, possibly even bigger problems.
  • Business & Innovation
    Blockchain
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    Smart Contracts auf der Blockchain können Geschäfte sicher, direkt und transparent abwickeln. Bis jetzt prägen jedoch Spekulanten und Kinderkrankheiten, wie mangelnde Skalierung und hoher Energieverbrauch das Bild. Doch was kommt nach den technologischen Herausforderungen? Werden Banken und globale Plattformen wie Airbnb und uber überflüssig? Ist das nur eine Spielwiese für Kriminelle? Oder werden übermächtige globale Plattformen uns mit Smart Contracts noch viel stärker kontrollieren?