Earlier this week, the Blockchain Education Center had the pleasure of attending a ‘blockchain session’, organised by the Zuid-Holland province, here in The Netherlands. The goals of the session: Finding out if blockchain technology can help with achieving the province’s objectives regarding ‘circular’ and ‘energy-transition’ and see what the province can learn from current blockchain initiatives.
A strong opening from Jan van Ginkel (Zuid-Holland province) set the tone for Tuesday morning’s blockchain session. Having just returned from Silicon Valley, Jan seemed to be well aware of the technological revolution that is seemingly around the corner. The province’s goal was very clear from the get-go and Jan seemed to be speaking with a sense of urgency, expressing clearly that new technologies like blockchain are not to be underestimated.
The province is really working towards getting a grip on current developments, for which we’d like to applaud them. Considering the fact that the Zuid-Holland province boasts major cities like The Hague and Rotterdam, it is vital that the province is included and aware of goings-on. As of yet, several blockchain related initiatives have been launched and connections have been made with Dutch blockchain organisations, including the Dutch Blockchain Coalition and BlockLab. Be sure to also have a look at Blockchain Projects Dutch Government.
After a short round of introductions, it was time for pitches. Numerous companies had been invited and we got particularly excited about Spectral, Circularise, Energieke Regio and an initiative from Daan Weddepohl (founder of Peerby): BetterNetwork.
All projects were either working on energy related solutions or focussed more on potential circular economies, or both. Actually, all projects seemed to keep both in mind. And it’s clear to see why this is.
The B word
Blockchain makes it possible to further connect all aspects of modern-day societies. Blockchain needs no further introduction, so let’s not dwell on how revolutionary it is and what it has in store for us. Instead, let’s look at the overall conversation that is currently taking place between government and businesses and how ‘doing something with blockchain’ has developed.
The projects listed above are clearly on the right path towards implementing blockchain technology. It’s astonishing to see what everyone’s achieved in just a couple of years and it is a clear sign that this technology is being implemented rapidly. Cool fact regarding companies working on energy solutions, Don Tapscott mentioned Spectral early last year, stating: “Companies such as Spectral Energy in the Netherlands and LO3 Energy and Grid+ in the US are leading the way.”
There is so much to get excited about here and we definitely recommend looking at the organisations that attended the session. The kind of developments we keep seeing within the blockchain space are, more often than not, worthy of making headlines. Except that doesn’t often happen. Unless of course, Bitcoin goes to the moon again. We digress.
The D word
As said before, we got very excited. However, if there was one thing we were missing in the discussion, it was the aspect of decentralization. It is one of the truly brilliant aspects of blockchain and we were under the impression that there was not enough focus on this aspect.
If we want to fully make use of the tools currently presented to us, we need to see what the power of decentralization actually is and how it can benefit all parties involved. In our opinion, decentralization doesn’t have to result in an anarchistic transfer of power, but can aid with inventing new models that, yes, might redistribute “power or interests”, but not necessarily in a negative way.
Implementing and ‘doing something’ with blockchain is great. It’s fantastic. But there is one more step we can take here. And that is taking a good look at current models and see how we can potentially can come up with decentralized versions of these models, or possible decentralized components within current models. In short: let’s not just use blockchain as a new way of registering data (private), but let’s also explore further decentralization (public).
By chance, later that day, Naval Ravikant tweeted: “If it’s not going to be completely and utterly decentralized, it doesn’t need a blockchain.” Wether or not we all agree with this is not important right now. But we do feel that we need to continue to look critically at how we’re implementing blockchain.
The Blockchain Education Center exists to keep a close eye on developments, such as the ones mentioned above and we are on a mission to share all these happenings with the world and educate everyone about blockchain. We feel it’s truly necessary that people are educated about what is going on and we are convinced that the education phase is far from over. It’s safe to say we are still very much in the experimental phase.
Sessions, seminars, meet-ups and events are essential to going forward and we’d like to again thank the province for hosting this event. May you organise many more such events and participate in the overall conversation.
So concluding and moving forward, it is our sincerest hope that we keep doing what we are all doing. Work hard and get together to shape this future that we are heading in to. And at the same time, look at how this revolutionary technology can be implemented in creative, adventurous and world-changing ways.
See you at the next session.
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