Blockchain for Research

This report zooms in on the potential of blockchain to transform scholarly communication and research in general.By describing important initiatives in this field, it highlights how blockchain can touch many critical aspects of scholarly communication, including transparency, trust, reproducibility and credit. Moreover, blockchain could change the role of publishers in the future, and it could have an important role in research beyond scholarly communication.The report shows that blockchain technology has the potential to solve some of the most prominent issues currently facing scholarly communication, such as those around costs, openness, and universal accessibility to scientific information.

Source: Blockchain for Research

Blockchain helpt koffieboeren

I was talking to the Dutch daily De Telegraaf about blockchain applications in the global supply chain.

Nederlandse bedrijven testen tientallen vernieuwingen voor economie

FOTO AFP
Op koffie verdienen boeren nu nauwelijks. Verkoop zonder tussenpersonen op blockchain moet hen laten profiteren.

AMSTERDAM Koffieboeren in Ethiopië verdienen op elke verkochte boon per euro net twee cent. Door de rijke tussenhandel met alle betalingen transparant te maken, moet meer geld naar de arme boeren stromen. Ze doen dit met digitaal logboek blockchain, waarop de bitcoins miljarden waard werden.

Het Amsterdamse koffiemerk Moyee Coffee, dat boeren 20% meer dan doorsnee betaalt voor de groene bonen, gaat als eerste de hele handel van pluk tot koffiebaal openleggen. Het bedrijf werkt samen met onder andere het internationale FairChain-netwerk en andere duurzame producenten.

Kopers van een latte macchiato kunnen straks, net als de boer, de koffieoogst vanaf het wassen, de verwerking en verzending over de wereld volgen via de blockchain, inclusief de prijsstijgingen door bewerking en het branden. Door deze manier zal blijken dat grote handelshuizen en een netwerk van opkopers voor de latte macchiato hoge marges eisen waarvan de boer maar bitter weinig ziet.

De blockchain werkt als een mobiel toegankelijk transparant logboek met uniek geregistreerde transacties die voor iedereen te zien zijn. Het is nog nooit gekraakt. „Blockchain laat straks iedereen zien hoe de grote koffiebranders en inkopers exorbitant veel geld verdienen aan de bonen, maar dat de verdiensten van boeren achterblijven”, zegt oprichter Guido van Staveren van Dijk van Moyee Coffee. „Wij hebben de tussenpersonen er uit gesneden. We branden ter plekke en kopen direct van de boer. De helft van de verkoopprijs is voor de boer. Belangrijk is dat er een herverdeling van de inkomsten in de hele koffieproductieketen komt.”

De koffiewereld kijkt gespannen naar het initiatief. Koffie is na ruwe olie een van de meest verhandelde producten, met voor Afrika een geschatte waarde van $100 miljard. Een directe handel tussen boer en consument via blockchain betekent dat kosten voor administratie, talloze certificatiedocumenten en transportpapieren kunnen verdwijnen. Moyee Coffee zet momenteel druk op Douwe Egberts en Nespresso om mee te doen.

De koffieblockchain is maar een van de tientallen blockchaininitiatieven die in Nederland naar boven zijn gekomen, nadat fintechbedrijfjes bewezen banken, met hun dure diensten, te kunnen passeren als tussenpersonen. Concertkaartjes worden steeds minder via dure tussenpersonen verkocht. Philips werkt aan de veilige overdracht van medische dossiers via dit netwerk. Energiebedrijven als Enexis testen het systeem om teveel verkochte zonnepanelenenergie eerlijk tussen particulieren te verhandelen.

En de Universiteit van Wageningen bekijkt voor EZ naar een blockchaincertificaat voor voedsel. Consumenten kunnen dan zien waar voedsel is geteeld, hoeveel de boer daarvoor krijgt en hoe het in de supermarkt komt. Net als Moyee Coffee denkt de Rotterdamse haven dankzij blockchain bijvoorbeeld fruit dagen eerder bij de groenteboer te krijgen door de omslachtige tussenhandel te schrappen.

Econoom Balázs Bodó (UvA), die de effecten onderzoekt van blockchain, plaatst kanttekeningen. „Het lijkt interessant tussenpersonen uit de handelsketen te halen. Maar ze voegen soms ook waarde toe. Het is niet eenvoudig. Wat als je direct via blockchain verhuurt en de huurder de boel in de fik zet? Nu kun je tussenpersoon Airbnb om hulp vragen.’’

Despite run-up, bitcoin’s future is still uncertain – The Boston Globe

That’s the theory. But Preston Byrne doesn’t buy it.“It’s outrageous what CME is doing,” said Byrne, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank in the UK and former chief operating officer of Monax, a blockchain software company in London. He pointed to a statement issued Friday by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in which the agency admitted that it has little power to keep bitcoin markets honest, and warned of “the potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts.”“This is the understatement of the century,” said Byrne.He believes media hype is attracting individual investors to the bitcoin market. Some are gambling their retirement funds, while others are buying the currency with credit cards, saddling themselves with high-interest debt. The bitcoin boom, said Byrne, “exhibits all of the classic features you would expect from a financial mania.” He is sure it will fall, and he worries that the CME’s decision to permit futures trading will ensure that damage from the crash will spread to other financial markets.But for now, nobody’s listening.

Source: Despite run-up, bitcoin’s future is still uncertain – The Boston Globe

Everyone’s crazy about CryptoKitties

(we thought it bc would change the world. instead…) There’s a new craze in the world of cryptocurrencies: kitties. A game called CryptoKitties, built on Ethereum’s blockchain, has exploded since its launch last week, with players spending thousands of dollars worth of ether (Ethereum’s currency) on digital cats. There’s a problem, though: The game is so popular that it’s clogging Ethereum’s network

Source: Everyone’s crazy about CryptoKitties

Anticipating Blockchain for Development: Data, Power and the Future – The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group

Research on anticipated, contingent and imaginary blockchain-enabled ‘aidlands’ (Mosse 2011) is crucial now: much is at stake. What will the role of blockchain be in identity management in global contexts where population control regimes proliferate to the detriment of the many? Through multi-stakeholder ethnographic work with user communities, the development industry, technical, legal, regulatory and governmental communities, I aim to make a practical intervention in public social science, developing best practice principles or ‘infraethics’ (Floridi 2017) from concrete sociotechnical findings about the specific ways in which DLTs can empower communities in global contexts, how, and what new digital inequalities or unintended consequences arise (cf. for example the energy consumption issue with Bitcoin mining, which is currently a ‘hot’ topic). I have a hunch that working on best practice may involve pointing out when a blockchain isn’t really necessary.

Source: Anticipating Blockchain for Development: Data, Power and the Future – The Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality Group

Blockchain technology for social impact: opportunities and challenges ahead: Journal of Cyber Policy: Vol 0, No 0

While much has already been written about blockchain applications and prospects in the FinTech industry, little research has been done to explore blockchain technology’s user-centric paradigm in enabling various applications beyond banking. This article is an effort to contribute to that body of scholarship by exploring blockchain technology’s potential applications, and their limits, in areas that intersect with social impact, including human rights. This article explores whether blockchain technology and its core operational principles – such as decentralisation, transparency, equality and accountability – could play a role in limiting undue online surveillance, censorship and human rights abuses that are facilitated by the increasing reliance on a few entities that control access to information online. By doing so, this article aims at initiating a scholarly curiosity to understand what is possible and what is to be concerned about when it comes to the potential impact of blockchain technology on society.

Source: Blockchain technology for social impact: opportunities and challenges ahead: Journal of Cyber Policy: Vol 0, No 0

A History of Bitcoin by Usman W. Chohan :: SSRN

The meteoric rise of Bitcoin has led to heightened investment, academic, commercial, numismatic, transactional, and practitioner interest in that cryptocurrency, as well as in the growing array of such instruments worldwide. This leads to an accentuated need for an examination of the historical evolution of Bitcoin as the seminal instrument in the development of cryptocurrencies, and this discussion paper seeks to address that gap.

Source: A History of Bitcoin by Usman W. Chohan :: SSRN

Someone deleted some code in a popular cryptocurrency wallet — and as much as $365 million in ethereum is locked up | Business Insider

An estimated $US280 million ($AU365 million) worth of the cryptocurrency ethereum is now locked up after a user accidentally deleted the code necessary to access the digital wallets hosted by the company Parity Technologies.The vulnerability impacted the “multi-sig” digital wallets launched through Parity since July 20.Multi-sig wallets usually contain large sums of money since they are primarily used by startups or large groups looking to prevent any one member of the group from running off with the money.

Source: Someone deleted some code in a popular cryptocurrency wallet — and as much as $365 million in ethereum is locked up | Business Insider