Back in April the Dutch edition of the New Scientist published a special dossier on blockchain. They also interviewed us on the societal effects of blockchain technologies. Read the interview in full here (only in Dutch).
We invite interested candidates to submit an initial research and collaboration idea that could be jointly developed into an application under the MSCA European individual fellowships call. We welcome expressions of interest of candidates from legal studies and other disciplines, who want to conduct inter- and multidisciplinary research informed by information law, e.g. social sciences, in particular economics, digital humanities, computer, network and data science, on topics such as:Personalization of online media and servicesAlgorithmic governanceBlockchain law, technology and policyPsychology of ownership in digital goodsInformation security and surveillance (international aspects, oversight and accountability)Artificial intelligence and information lawRoles, responsibilities and liability of internet intermediariesInternational trade and investment in information goods and servicesOnline platforms and competition lawTrade secrets and information lawAccess and ownership of data
The Blockhain&Society Policy Research Lab introduced itself to business leaders and decision makers in no less than three high profile events last week: the Flying Money Conference, the Barlaeus dinner, and at the Advisory Board meeting of the Faculty of Economics and Business.
Balazs was discussing the challenges of (blockchain based) governance of planetary scale resources with critical theorist Geert Lovink, Eduard de Jong, a sotware architect with a long history in e-payment systems, and Caroline Nevejan, the chief scientist of Amsterdam. Listen to the panel here (thanks Inte Gloerich!):
The day after, together with the Innovation Exchange Amsterdam, we hosted this years first Barlaeus dinner, the topic of which was “Trust in the data on blockchains“. The dinner, named after Caspar Barlaeus (1584 – 1648), the Dutch mathematician, historian, poet, humanist, theologian connects a selected group of leading industry/companies, local/national government, policymakers, research funding organisations with top UvA researchers to network, share insights, and lay the groundwork for future excellence. The event was opened by the Rector Magnificus of UvA, prof. dr. ir. K.I.J. Karen Maex, and Mirjam Leloux, Director IXA, the valorization arm of Uva-HvA. Balazs gave a keynote on the most pressing challenges, which then in turn were discussed around four tables, using four different languages: that of the market, of government, of the law, and of critical theory. The freshly joined Lab members: Valeria Ferrari, Alexandra Giannopoulou, and Joao Pedro Quintais were introduced, present, and involved.
And finally, on the 28th of May, Balazs was speaking at the Advisory Board meeting of the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Amsterdam. Speaking after Heleen Kersten, Lawyer-Partner at Stibbe, Han van Dissel, the Dean of the Faculty, and Marc Salomon, the Dean of the Amsterdam Business School to industry leaders in the Board, Balazs was offering a realistic and cautious outlook on the industry applicability of blockchain technologies.
In the last few months Balazs was participating in the creation of the Dutch Blockchain Research Agenda for NWO, the Dutch Science Agency.
The Agenda spells out the research priorities, and topics where more interdisciplinary research is needed. To quote the Agenda: “Given the complex fabric of technological and societal questions around blockchain, future research seems to require at least the awareness of this multi-disciplinarity, or even seek collaboration across the boundaries of disciplines. Blockchain research carries many challenges on the level of research design and methodology. As is the case with systems focused research, the proper demarcation of scope of future research projects and programmes is essential. This scope also sets the disciplinary mix that needs to be involved. At the same time, it should be ensured that the required disciplinary progress can happen, especially since different disciplines require research at different time scales.
Since blockchain technology is a moving target, in terms of research methodology one must also consider more exploratory, theory generating,
high risk and open-ended approaches, including tools such as mathematical modelling and analysis, business modelling, techno-economic analysis, functional and non-functional design and testing, action research, simulations and experiments in research labs and living labs, horizon scanning, etc. As this research agenda includes both fundamental and applied research, it requires active involvement from non-academic stakeholders from public bodies, industry, market sectors and the general public.
Another methodological challenge is the futureproofing of research. In such a volatile field, it is often difficult to distinguish issues relevant only in the short term, versus long term blockchain specific problems, versus fundamental research questions that cut across multiple digital technologies and have been and will be with us for decades.
There are several streams of investment that fuel research in the blockchain technology domain. Private investment through venture capital and
ICOs (crowdsourcing) as well as public investment by governments, universities, and research funding bodies should be aligned in a smart way.
In that context it seems inevitable to identify the fields that Dutch academia, research institutes and research departments of Dutch organisations are
best positioned to answer, either because they already excel in certain domains, or because they want to build skills and research capacity through
The Agenda is now public And can be downloaded from here:
Balazs was speaking at the The Future of Digital Innovation in the European Union conference about policy issues of blockchain technology.
The conference was organized by the College of Europe on the 10th of April 2018.
Here is the prezi of the talk:
Andrea Renda is the Google Chair in Digital Innovation at the College of Europe. The event was the first of a series of annual conferences on Digital Innovation.
The outline of the event is the following:
Digital innovation is permeating a big portion of the economy, reshaping the way we live, work, interact. Two paradigms currently stand out as potentially disruptive: the emergence of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) such as blockchain, and the increasingly pervasive use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in a variety of applications, from e-commerce to self-driving cars. Policymakers find it increasingly difficult to keep track of this evolution given the breathtaking pace of innovation, and the challenge of dealing with algorithms, collective intelligence, and often a patchy and uncertain set of legal rules. The College of Europe Chair in Digital Innovation organizes a one-day conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities for innovation in the digital age. Key themes addressed by the conference:
- What are the key opportunities and challenges of DLTs and Artificial Intelligence?
- Is Europe competitive in the deployment of these technologies?
- What new forms of innovation may emerge from the diffusion of these disruptive technologies?
- Is the EU legal system well-equipped to cope with the peculiarities of these technologies?
- What can the EU do to harness the potential of DLTs and Artificial Intelligence to strengthen the Single Market and promote better economic, social and environmental outcomes?
In the last few weeks Balazs was busy working with the excellent Jaco van de Pol, chair of Formal Methods and Tools at the University of Twente, and Jeroen van den Hoven, professor of Ethics and Technology at Delft University on the first draft of what soon will be the Dutch research agenda on blockchain.
The work was initiated by NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, to define the topics and priorities for blockchain related public funding.
The experience of being part of this highly inter- and multidisciplinary effort to define a long term national research agenda was unique, and extremely exciting!
We’ll publish the agenda as soon as possible!
We have received an incredible amount of applications for the two postdoc positions and the PhD. In the last few weeks we have been super busy with Joao reading through the excellent CVs and project proposals, and we were amazed by the amount of talent, dedication, ideas this project brought forward.
We are humbled by the attention, and work given by the applicants to the applications. Sadly we will not be able to hire even a fraction of all the excellent candidates, which means that we’ll have to reject really great people. This is always the hardest thing to do. But this also means that we’ll have great people on the team. We are in the final rounds of interviews, announcements are coming soon!
Een vijfjarig Amsterdams onderzoeksproject bekijkt de maatschappelijke impact van blockchain en welke wet- en regelgeving nodig is bij toepassingen van deze technologie. Het project ‘Blockchain & Society Policy Research Lab’ van onderzoeker Balazs Bodo krijgt hiervoor 1,5 miljoen euro toegewezen van de European Research Council. Bodo is verbonden aan de rechtenfaculteit van de Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA), Instituut voor Informatierecht (IViR).
Our CPDP 2018 blockchain and copyright panel with Ruslan Nurullaev (International Laboratory for Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law, Higher School of Economics), Primavera De Filippi (CNRS), Susana Nascimento (Joint Research Centre, European Commission), Guido Noto La Diega (Northumbria University), and Alexander Savelyev (Higher School of Economics) is online.
My slides are here:
The Business Law and Economics Symposium, the Blockchain &
Society Policy Research Lab at IViR, and the Center for Law & Economics at ETH Zurich presents the Blockchain, Law & Policy workshop.
Date: February 12th, 2018 (8:30-17:15)
Location: IViR Documentation Room, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam, Roeterseilandcampus – building A, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, Amsterdam
9:00-9:15 Opening statement by Stefan Bechtold & Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci
9:15-10:15 Luis Garicano (LSE): The Governance of Blockchain: Hard Forks, Cryptocurrency and Norms
10:15-10:45 COFFEE BREAK
10:45-11:45 Davide Grossi (Groningen): A Social Choice-Theoretic Analysis of the Stellar Consensus Protocol
11:45-12:45 Stefan Bechtold (ETH Zurich) & Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci (UvA): Property Without Law: Personalized Property Rights Through New Contracting Technologies
12:45-14:00 LUNCH (served in the conference room)
14:00-14;45 Joris Cramwinckel (Ortec Finance, Rotterdam): Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts: Potential and Limits, with an Application to Pensions
14:45-15:45 Hermann Elendner (HU Berlin): Liquidity and Resiliency of Crypto-currency Markets
15:45:16:15 COFFEE BREAK
16:15-17:15 Balazs Bodo, Daniel Gervais and Joao Quintais (Amsterdam): Who Needs Copyright When We Have Blockchain and Smart Contracts?