The internet began with the decentralisation of communication – we gained more power over the kind of information we had at our disposal and wanted to consume. Are we currently experiencing a new freedom through decentralised financial flows? At rpTEN in 2016, we addressed the topic of finance and technology – FinTech for short – for the first time. One thing was already foreseeable at that time: digital finance technologies have the capability to fundamentally change existing structures.
Mammon 4.0: “Better Money” with cryptocurrency?
E-Gold was the first digital currency to see the light of day, launching way back in 1996 under the slogan “Better Money” – albeit without any legal basis to be used as “money”, the digital embodiment of the notorious “mammon”. The definition was expanded with the 2008 FinCEN Guidelines, laying the foundation for digital currencies: As of that point, it wasn’t just national currencies that fell under the definition of money, but also every other form of traded stock – including digital currency (see: How Digital Currencies Led to the Biggest Money Laundering Case Ever). Bitcoin software has been available since 2009, reaching broader groups of buyers in 2011, and is now the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency with a value of around 13,000 Euro in December 2017.
What’s behind the phenomenon of digital currencies and what problems can they solve? Do cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum offer a better future for global finance and what makes them so unique?
Where do we stand today on Blockchain?
Trusted third parties are security holes. – Nick Szabo
Blockchain technology is calling classic business models into question from the ground up. The direct nature of these banking transactions, where banks and financial institutes are not able to perform their previous role anymore, could usher in a new era and promises to be cheaper and safer for users. How does Blockchain really work, and what does “social scalability” mean?
A big advantage with Blockchain is the fact that personal data and information are hard to manipulate. In addition, Blockchain also makes it possible for young entrepreneurs to receive financing privately that has hitherto only been available through institutions. But which legal grey zone does this technology inhabit? And are the risks manageable?
Cryptocurrencies are traded through so-called ‘smart contracts’ – are these types of deals ready for the mainstream? And what are ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings)?
We want to bring together Blockchain networks in our Bitcoin practical workshops, panels and talks at the re:publica and pick up on societal debates surrounding Holacracy, E-government, Trusted Computing or future jobs, so we can see what possibilities are out there.
Blockchain has a special advantage when trading non-physical goods, such as music, digital artworks or energy. That’s precisely the reason why we’d like to discuss the place that Blockchain technology will occupy in society in our “Blockchain & Culture” topic.