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DSI talks: blockchain for transparency and ethics

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Waag

Nieuwmarkt 4

1012 CR Amsterdam

Netherlands

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DSI Talks is a series of talks about digital social innovation. Digital social innovation is a growing community of people who use digital technology to tackle societal challenges.

Blockchain technology has been at the top of the agenda of many tech-optimists. In many cases the hype surrounding blockchain turned out to be bigger than its capacity to solve real-world problems. However, in sustainability issues the technology may be of genuine value. Many sustainable or fair trade companies struggle with an intransparent supply chain. For example, how can we make sure that our coffee is grown in an ecologically responsible way, or that our banana comes from a plantation where workers receive a fair income? Can a blockchain-driven distributed database help to make supply chains transparent?

Many believe that the transparency and security offered by blockchain technology allow for a trustless transactions: the proof is in the chain. But can we substitute social trust for digital trust that easily? Do we not rather want more social in our economies, instead of less?

At present, there are still many questions surrounding the merits of blockchain: transactions are published and the source code is open, but the chain management is often highly undemocratic and intransparent. And what is the value of open systems when only a handful of people can understand and use them? Who will be the winners and losers of the current blockchain rush? And do we really understand what problem blockchain is meant to solve?

This evening, well look at three cases that apply blockchain technology to sustainability challenges. We’ll look at the motivation for using the blockchain, and examine how it is expected to guarantee social and ecological outcomes. Do blockchains allow for new business models for previously precarious services? We will explore the future developments and potential pitfalls of the technology, and assess how it compares to other decentralised or collaborative data solutions.

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Waag

Nieuwmarkt 4

1012 CR Amsterdam

Netherlands

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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