At any given moment of time, the demand and the supply of our electricity system must be equal. The role of TenneT is to manage this balance. Because the energy systems are changing, consumers will also be able to be deliverers of energy. TenneT is now running a blockchain project to manage this change and came up with a way to use electric cars to generate energy for others. If TenneT experiences a drop in the balance, they can asked plugged-in cars for their energy to add to the supply. This way you can earn money with your electric car while it’s charging at night! How does it work? René Kerkmeester (TenneT) & Leo Dijkstra (IBM) explain at the BIC17!
Jacob Boersma is Manager Blockchain and Digital Identity at the Risk Services department of Deloitte. Certain fields he is specialized in are Blockchain Technology, Information Security, Digital Identity, Electronic Signatures and Electronic Payments. Trying to stay ahead of the digital transformation and keeping the ‘big picture’ in Internet transaction development in mind, he is experience in working in public-private partnership projects. Together with Jan-Willem Santing he is looking at the opportunities for Blockchain in the real estate market. They believe that the real estate market is both old-fashioned as very complex which needs a lot of transparency and collaboration between several parties. All these parties are continuously checking the latest version of the contracts in their database. 40 percent of the time of assessors is checking information because there is a climate of distrust in each other’s data.
Blockchain can be the single source of truth in this network with the additional benefits of payment monitoring, sharing of information, ownership registry & transfer, identification of real estate objects, signing lease agreements and having a modular & extendable platform. By implementing a Blockchain the settlement time can be decreased, the visibility into the data can be guaranteed near real-time, the processes can be simplified and the rights to each other’s data can be secured through a private environment. This use case is shown through a demo at the conference.
Simone Vermeend dived into Blockchain about a year ago, feeling pretty lost. After an intensive weekend of study, she felt lost even more. Not feeling demotivated by it, she set out to write the first Dutch book explaining the phenomena called Blockchain.
What problem does Blockchain solve? The internet introduced easy sharing and copying files, resulting in a revolution in efficiency. For values or transactions, copying and sharing is of course not the way to go. Assets can only be spent once. So for digital currencies, internet’s easy sharing is very useful, easy copying not so much. Blockchain makes sure this ‘double spending’ problem is tactfully mitigated. Simone used 4 building blocks to explain Blockchain. First of all, Cryptographic security, the mathematical way of securing your system. Second is the gathering of transactions in Blocks.
Furthermore, the blocks are interlinked into a chain, thats why block-chain. Finally, information is replicated through the network. Everyone keeps a full history of all transactions, so everyone is able to check whether transactions add up.
In the presentation, various key words are discussed and put together to explain the wonders of blockchains. One of the most interesting keywords of the talk is hashing. It is also the most difficult to grasp.
A hash functions transforms a piece of information, a message, into a summary. A summary has 2 distinct features; it is short, and it leaves out information. For example, A fingerprint is a summary of a person. Without describing everything about this person, it can still be linked to only 1 person. Also, given the fingerprint, one cannot distinguish whether the person is male/female, whether tall or short, or preferring Bitcoin or Ethereum. It so omits information. The fingerprint is unique to this person but does reveal the identity of the person, changing the person a tiny bit will change the fingerprint entirely.
These two features have a useful result; it is easy to check which fingerprint the person has, but very hard to find the right person to a found fingerprint (that’s why policemen have difficulty solving crimes). Difficult to find, but easy to check! A hash function is a one-way function; the private key is ‘hashed’ to make the public key, which is the fingerprint of the private key, your identity. The public key will be your address, and the private key is your ‘password’.
Blockchain is new and revolutionary. Nothing is sure except the fact that a lot will go wrong. It is a new technology able to disrupt and fix. Experiment with it and lets see where
Toufic alRjoula is co-founder and trust architect of Tykn. Toufic is of Syrian origins and left the country to live in the Netherlands. After a number of years as a corporate trainer in the health care industry, in 2012 he began to work fulltime with cryptocurrencies. Tykn secures documents through blockchain technology.
“You never appreciate what you have, until you lose it.” With that sentence Toufic alRjoula, co-founder of Tykn, opens his presentation at BIC17. “…And that’s especially true for birth certificates.” Toufic, a Syrian refugee himself, knows what it’s like to have his birth registry destroyed and grow up with the label unknown. To this day nothing has changed in the way governments treat birth certificates. Tykn is trying to change this by using blockchain and make sure no one can ever lose theirs again.
Dennis de Vries is currently employed at KPMG where he is responsible for services regarding Blockchain, also known as the department of Digital Ledger Services. With a background at ABN Amro and ING, he has thorough understanding of the financial sector. Within each role he had at a company, he has been working on innovative technology and as an expert he is one of the true ambassadors of Blockchain at the yearly Blockchain events.
For him Blockchain in a nutshell is about digital value transfer over the internet, maybe without a trusted third party but he believes they will keep an altered role. For instance, a role of establishing the link between the new digital world and the real one. It is of course a distributed ledger held amongst multiple parties in a value chain where a single source of truth is created.
In his presentation he goes into the concept of how trust is organized in our society. He basically points out that trust hasn’t changed that much and has been placed in organizations for many centuries. Which role can Blockchain have in this? At this moment he regards Blockchain as an inspiration to guide us towards a new model of trust. Furthermore for an auditing firm as KPMG, the fact that there can be constant confirmation on the external auditing is a really interesting development, triple entry accounting.
One of the concepts he is involved with concerns a portal for people’s pensions where current information is updated together with future predictions. This together with warnings can provide a more interactive play to the user. Other concepts include a reward-system on a FitBit and an optimized way for personal budget.
Dave Birch an author, advisor and commentator on digital financial services. known as a decent public speaker, a reasonable consultant and good board-level non-executive, a respected media commentator, a well-read blogger and inveterate tweeter. Also one of the founders of Consult Hyperion, a leading consultancy in the field of electronic transactions.
David Birch was one of the few sceptical voices heard on BIC17. While seeing the potential of blockchain, he is also weary for blockchain projects that are blockchain just to be blockchain. The magical question in his mind is; So you have a blockchain project, that is nice, but what is in the block? In this funny presentation David comments on the current blockchain hype in a way only he can!
If you can tell what is in the blocks, this shows that you do understand the mechanics and know what Blockchain has to offer. It is not the magic potion curing all problems in the world, although it does have very useful aspects that can certainly be used for good.
Also, another fresh perspective given by Dave Birch was the notion of security. Blockchain makes use of an public ledger. This means that everything stored on the blockchain is public to all nodes in the system. While measures can be taken to obscure parts of this information, security and privacy does have to be taken seriously. With the example of Vivienne Westwood’s idea to make clothes smart, he vividly portrays a vision of a future where underwear talks to underwear. Is this what we want? What are the consequences of this? And do we think this is scary?
Marc van der Chijs is managing partner in venture capital fund CrossPacific Capital in Vancouver and on the board of Chinese P2P lending company Dianrong.com and has been a very successful blockchain investor for a long time now. The demand for cryptocurrency is still very low but it will rise when especially companies will start using it more. Marc thinks all data companies like Facebook will be blockchain companies in the future.
Van der Chijs thinks ICOs are currently on top of the hype cycle and is only buying most coins to sell them the next day. Marc is Dutch, lives in Canada and has a Bitcoin investing fund. He predicts the crypto market will both crash and rise to $500.000 per Bitcoin.
Ling Kong, CTO of Dianrong.com and also a Stanford alumni, talked about the hotly discussed topic of P2P general innovation, the difference between the US and China models, and financial technology innovation and big data. While the world is still focused on figuring out crypto, Kong focussed on finding and succeeded in a way to make blockchain work in business.
Having been part of two Silicon Valley startups and positions at NetApp and Microsoft, Kong gained the experience later applied in China. There he co-founded a Sequoia backed mobile entertainment startup. After a successful exit, Kong joined DIANRONG, operating at the forefront of FINTECH innovation.
For Kong, blockchain began being interesting 18 months ago, when he saw the potential of blockchain to solve a number of problems concerning contracts. Contracts should be solid, immutable, even when DIANRONG would not be around.
As example; a supplier Foxconn asked for a loan, while the financial record of the supplier was not known or trusted. No contracts was provided and the supply chain to Foxconn was vague as well. The problem was: How to give this supplier credit? How to prove their trustworthiness? For DIANRONG, blockchain can solve this.
Foxconn could easily receive loans from chinese banks, because they are level 1 supplier (in this case to Apple). Still, these loans are on 6%-8% interest and the wiring of the money takes long time. Then the loan can be internally wired through down to lower levels, ending up at the (untrusted?) supplier at say, level 8.
DIANRONG transforms these loans into blockchain digital assets. Packaged digital assets can be used by Foxconn, a level 1 supplier, can wire it as payment for lower level suppliers without it having to pass through banks. A level 8, normally paying up to 20% in interest can now have far more reasonable loans, utilising internal digital assets on blockchain. While simple it is very elegant and robust.
Bart Mellink is currently the Practice leader for Disruptive Technologies at Gartner. This implicates the he advises clients on the strategic impact of those technologies on the client’s business and IT landscape. He started at a young age as a founder of a medium-sized systems integrator and software development company. After this experience, he started to work at Gartner to validate the trust people place in upcoming technologies.
At Gartners most recent Hype Cycle of 2016 the Blockchain was presented just before the peak of inflated expectations. The Gartners Hype cycle reflects how a technology moves over the time with regards to the expectation one has of it. To get a feeling what this stage implies, it can be compared to where Near Field Communication Payment was just five years ago. Of course, every technology will have its own path and Gartner expects this technology to be mainstream adopted in five to ten years.
The most important characteristic of Blockchain he regards that it can include programmable behavior. This feature can be placed in a self-enforcing perspective. This implying that new forms of interactions will take place and things will act for themselves. This is the furthest look in the future from where we are at the moment. At this moment we see a shift from digital marketing where interactions are optimized and digital business where new business models are created towards an adaptive perspective where things can initiate on our behalf and autonomous perspective where autonomous things can make decisions. The last step after this autonomous perspective is the self- enforcing perspective where Blockchain together with its smart contracts functionality is placed.
Torsten Dahmen is an Enterprise Solution Architect at the Innogy Innovation Hub (part of energy company RWE) in Germany. He currently works together with Motionwerk which is actually a spinoff from the Innogy Innovation Hub. It develops Blockchain infrastructure and technology to connect companies, people and machines in the mobility sector to bring the vision of an autonomous, shared, connected and electric mobility to life. The project is called Share&Charge and is the first mobility service on Blockchain for end-users. He refers to it as the ‘Airbnb for charging station’ and has already solved not only technological, but also regulatory and legal challenges of Blockchain.
Share&Charge accomplishes a shift from ownership-based mobility to shared mobility. They started in the beginning of this year by lean startup testing of a Proof-of-Concept which went live in Germany in the end of April. Now they have cooperation with a hardware manufacturer and integrated in an Oslo2Rome Network project. Their ambition is to launch to prototype in the USA later this year. This cross-border vision is compatible with Blockchain whereas the cross-border charging requires no roaming tariffs because it is paid with an own token with its own tariff, paid from the end-user’s own wallet. Not only this is feasible with Blockchain, also the added security level through Blockchain makes this project stand out from competing ones.