Dutch Blockchain Coalition - Ambition and working method
Blockchain is a valuable technology but a lot still needs to happen at the technical, societal and legal levels. The Dutch Blockchain Coalition is testing the possibilities, investigating the legislative aspects, and developing a Human Capital Agenda. With these efforts we are seeking to ensure that blockchain will be a reliable and future-proof technology. Twenty partners from the sectors financial services, insurance, logistics, energy, security and knowledge as well as supervisory bodies like the Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Royal Notary Association (KNB) have joined forces in the coalition. They have drawn up an action agenda to work on blockchain in the coming years, from building prototypes and realising a Human Capital Agenda to debating the legal and commercial aspects.
The partners from the coalition see opportunities to use blockchain to develop a reliable and secure digital exchange system. Penning de Vries: ‘Our society is based on trust. Each transaction and each proof of ownership is related to trust in underlying systems. Blockchain holds the promise of being able to digitise and secure these processes and ensure they are no longer falsifiable.’ - video
The coalition expects positive effects for the key sectors in the Netherlands such as energy, health, logistics, the financial sector and public services. Examples are the smart management of energy flows in and around the home, the rapid tracing of goods in a port, and international payments in real-time. All of these are applications that will help our society to advance.
National approach of blockchain
It is important that the knowledge sharing and talent development associated with this new technology are tackled at a national level. Many issues associated with blockchain, such as the construction of secure and reliable digital identities, are important for each sector. By sharing knowledge at a national level, the Netherlands will also be in a better position to anticipate the economic and societal changes that blockchain will bring about. Examples are new revenue models in industry or new types of collaboration between energy suppliers and consumers. As these will affect the entire chain, it is smart in a public-private context to pinpoint areas of concern and to subsequently tackle these.
The Netherlands has a long history of excelling in public-private-partnerships. Business parks, campuses and field labs are geographically close to each other, enabling public and private parties to easily find each other so that new collaboration models can arise which can count on widespread support.
The agenda 2017 has three lines action.
- In the first line of action efforts will be made to realise strong digital identities that are secure, reliable and internationally applicable. This will be based on self-sovereign (autonomous) digital identities and open source architecture so that prototypes and demos can also be shared with partners outside of the coalition.
- A second group will investigate the right conditions for the reliable use of blockchain applications. Such conditions include appropriate legislation, satisfactory supervision and societal acceptance (Line of Action 2).
- In Line of Action 3 (Human Capital Agenda) the focus is on training, sharing knowledge and increasing skills. Examples are the new professions that will arise such as legal coders: lawyers who can also program. Educational establishments and training centres must be able to anticipate such needs. You can read more about these three lines of action in the action agenda.
Research Science Communication
The coalition is being supported by researchers from Delft University of Technology and Radboud University who will make an inventory of the issues that play a role in the public arena of media-politics-policy.
Examples of such issues are privacy, encryption and security. In which phase of the development of blockchain will the issue play a role? Which interests are there? What does this mean for the public support of the technology?
An important aspect is an inventory of the current frames (perspectives) that are used in the media. These frames largely reflect what society currently thinks about Blockchain and are therefore narratives that the coalition can take into account.
Slide from the research proposal of Delft University of Technology and Radboud University
To pick up signals from society, the coalition wants to talk with stakeholder organisations such as the Consumentenbond, ANWB, Vereniging Eigen Huis and the Patiëntenfederatie Nederland (previously NPCF).
A home base has been established on the campus of Delft University of Technology since September where blockchain specialists can collaborate on research and blockchain solutions for concrete questions from industry and the government. Professionals from government bodies and industry can also follow courses here to apply blockchain technologies in their daily work. Furthermore, international guests will be invited to come here and they can request a temporary workplace.
Also interested in participating? Read here about how you can come on board
Opening of the home base by the Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, John Schmitz, together with professor Dick Epema (software engineering) and assistant professor Johan Pouwelse (distributed systems).
John Schmitz, Dean of Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science:
“I am pleased that the Dutch Blockchain Coalition has chosen to locate on the campus of Delft University of Technology. The coalition is now located just a stone's throw way from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. This will undoubtedly lead to a fruitful interaction in the area of this important, young technology.”