Unchaining Access to Justice: The Potential of Blockchain | Insights | HiiL

By Dr. Martin Gramatikov, Senior Justice Sector Advisorand Georgi Chisuse, ScalatorCryptocurrencies, and its underlying blockchain technology, are everywhere today. Bitcoin’s revolutionary breakthrough provoked intensive research into the potential adoption of backend technology into a multitude of fields. Essentially, blockchain is a secure digital ledger which can record almost anything which has value – coins and financial transactions, ID documents and ownership titles, votes and shares, property and contractual rights, positive and negative reviews. It is clear that blockchain technology will transform and probably disrupt many areas of the law in the months and years to come.Based on mutual consensus between all participants and automatic authenticity checks, the decentralized blockchain technology has shown tremendous potential for building independent systems. Thus, the autonomy as well as the transparency of those systems would guarantee a broader access to justice to everyone involved.But is it going to remain a technology geared towards the needs of big business such as banks, insurance, the fintech sector and investors? Can blockchain help the billions of people who need the law for protecting their basic justice needs?Throughout the years, HiiL has asked tens of thousands of people around the world about their justice needs and experiences with access to justice. We find that worldwide, large numbers of women and men encounter legal problems that might have a legal solution. At a global level, people most often need accessible and fair justice journeys for: crime, land problems, disputes with neighbors, family problems, employment and money-related disputes. Problems around ID documents (i.e. birth, citizenship, marriage and death certificates) and welfare benefits are common among the most vulnerable groups.The answer to our question is – Yes, blockchain technology has huge promise for the justice needs of the people. Countries like Estonia, Ghana, Honduras, Ukraine, Sweden, the Indian state Andra Pradesh and Georgia already experiment with registering land titles and ownership rights using blockchain. There is a great hope that this will make land transactions more affordable, transparent and secure.In the field of family justice, there are already examples of e-marriage and marriage certificates encoded in public and private blockchains. The fields most likely to be innovated using blockchain are inheritance, dowry, and prenuptial agreements. Benefits of such innovation include smart contracts which can help women to secure and enforce their rights.Employment is about livelihood. Millions of people need protection against exploitative practices, unfair dismissal, unpaid wages and dangerous working conditions. Employment contracts and their clauses can be registered in a blockchain. Complex schemes of intermediaries can be hold accountable through transparency. Data can be exchanged with labour inspectorates and watchdogs. In Brazil, a startup called CreditDream works on decentralized blockchain applications for universal access to credit.Undoubtedly, there is a great potential for blockchain technologies to deliver just and fair solutions to millions and even billions of people who need justice. The creativity of the industry will lead the way. But there is a need for visionary leadership which steers innovation towards people’s most prevalent and pressing justice needs.

Source: Unchaining Access to Justice: The Potential of Blockchain | Insights | HiiL

WODC | 2815 – Verkennend onderzoek naar de sociale en ethische gevolgen van de Blockchain en hoe de overheid zich hiertoe zou kunnenmoeten verhouden

Blockchain kan beschouwd worden als een nieuwe vorm van gedistribueerde informatietechnologie. De Blockchain-technologie kent vele toepassingen. Een daarvan is Bitcoin, een virtuele munt waarmee via Internet wereldwijd betalingen kunnen worden verricht. Hoewel niet duidelijk is of alle veronderstelde toepassingsmogelijkheden van blockchaintechnologie realiteit zullen worden, heeft het meerwaarde als de overheid zich verdiept in blockchaintechnologie en de mogelijke gevolgen daarvan voor wetgeving. In dit onderzoek worden de (mogelijke) ethische en sociale gevolgen van de Blockchain-technologie in kaart gebracht. Ook wordt nagegaan in hoeverre de overheid zelf Blockchain-technologie zou kunnen inzetten in uitvoering, toezicht, handhaving etc., onder welke voorwaarden en wat dit zou betekenen voor wet- en regelgeving. Het onderzoek is toegezegd aan de Eerste Kamer (Eerste Kamerstukken, Vergaderjaar 2016-2017, 33009, verslag schriftelijk overleg vastgesteld 22 december 2016).Onderzoekgegevens

Source: WODC | 2815 – Verkennend onderzoek naar de sociale en ethische gevolgen van de Blockchain en hoe de overheid zich hiertoe zou kunnenmoeten verhouden

A Blockchain Research Framework | SpringerLink

While blockchain technology is commonly considered potentially disruptive in various regards, there is a lack of understanding where and how blockchain technology is effectively applicable and where it has mentionable practical effects. This issue has given rise to critical voices that judge the technology as over-hyped. Against this backdrop, this study adapts an established research framework to structure the insights of the current body of research on blockchain technology, outline the present research scope as well as disregarded topics, and sketch out multidisciplinary research approaches. The framework differentiates three groups of activities (design and features, measurement and value, management and organization) at four levels of analysis (users and society, intermediaries, platforms, firms and industry). The review shows that research has predominantly focused on technological questions of design and features, while neglecting application, value creation, and governance. In order to foster substantial blockchain research that addresses meaningful questions, this study identifies several avenues for future studies. Given the breadth of open questions, it shows where research can benefit from multidisciplinary collaborations and presents data sources as starting points for empirical investigations.

Source: A Blockchain Research Framework | SpringerLink

Did Bitcoin just prove it can’t scale? | Hacker News

If proof of stake proves itself to actually work, Bitcoin will adopt it. Migrating a 200 billion dollar network to an untested PoW proposal would be irresponsible.Arbitrarily increasing blocksize without addressing propagation delay and centralization impacts is also irresponsible.Bitcoin has been tirelessly working on the scaling problem in a responsible way. SegWit will allow up to 12t/s. Mimble Wimble and Schnorr Signatures will further compress transaction size and increase t/s to roughly 20t/s. All this without increasing propagation delay (increasing blocksize).Lightning network further reduces the number of onchain transactions necessary.Rootstock adds ethereum compatible smart contracts to bitcoin as a side chain.All these technologies responsibly scale Bitcoin. Your comment implies Bitcoin is stagnant which to me implies you don’t know what you’re talking about.reply PaulRobinson 1 day ago [-]PoS will never be adopted by Bitcoin. The mining pools that have invested in PoW won’t allow it.Every attempt to date to improve transaction rates on BTC have been hampered by a small group of developers who have a vested interest in it not scaling for reasons explained here: https://www.reddit.com/r/BitcoinMarkets/comments/6rxw7k/info…Bitcoin won’t get any of the improvements you hope it will because there is too much money vested in keeping it exactly how it is today.

Source: Did Bitcoin just prove it can’t scale? | Hacker News

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

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