Blockchain technology is getting a lot of attention and generating more and more research and innovation projects. In the blockchain world, people often talk about ‘ecosystems’. Blockchain came to the fore as an open-source technology that let everyone take part in the programming, usage, and decision-making. Because the internet nowadays resembles the digital antithesis of an ecosystem – a monoculture consisting of centralised platforms – blockchain offers a unique opportunity to think about and study the way we want to redesign our digital society.
The DBC itself is an ecosystem in which public and private organisations and centres of expertise work together. Developing use cases and scaling them up sometimes brings the parties involved up against issues that demand new scientific studies if solutions are to be found. Conversely, scientific research makes discoveries that can in turn help solve societal and economic questions by using decentralised technology. This can be technical and scientific research, or may for instance also look at legal, ethical or economic questions.
The DBC therefore build bridges between knowledge institutions on the one hand and public and private organisations on the other. More specifically, the DBC initiates and encourages consortiums for resolving scientific issues, ideally also through cooperation with governmental authorities and/or the commercial sector and centres of expertise. Over the coming period, the DBC’s science agenda will be updated and expanded.
Here is an example:
Looking for transparent and appropriate applications of blockchain technology
A million euros of funding was allocated in 2019 to researchers at the Tilburg Law School for investigating transparent and appropriate applications of blockchain technology for the Dutch authorities in our complex network society. Three quarters of the project funding comes from the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and the rest from a consortium of public and private parties.
The authorities are developing blockchain applications jointly with companies to improve the services provided. This can create complexity and uncertainty about the responsibilities of the governmental bodies and the best design for the regulations.
In the project called “De rol en verantwoordelijkheden van overheden in gedistribueerde netwerken. Transparantie, vertrouwen en legitimiteit by design” (The role and responsibilities of governmental authorities in distributed networks: transparency, trust and legitimacy by design), methods are being studied in which blockchain can be designed transparently and appropriately so that the public can have confidence in the authorities.
The project is being led by the principal applicant, Dr Jurgen Goossens of the Tilburg Law School, Dr Esther Keymolen of the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society and Dr Damian Tamburri of the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science.
More information can be found about this project on Blockchain in the network society: in search of transparency, trust and legitimacy | NWO-MVI.
The Dutch Blockchain Coalition and its partners Ledger Leopard, CMS, ECP | Platform for the Information Society and the CJIB (Central Fine Collection Agency, part of the Ministry of Justice & Security) are participating actively in this project, along with several other partners.