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.

supported by T-Labs

T-Labs
  • Business & Innovation
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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
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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
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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
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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?