Meetup Recap: Blockchain as a Social Technology

Cover for meetup Livestream 2019-01

In our first Meetup of 2019, we invited people to Werk1 to listen to three presentations around the topic of “Blockchain as a Social Technology”. The special thing about this Meetup was the decentralized nature of the event. Parallel to the event in Munich there was a meetup hosted by the University of Bayreuth and Fraunhofer FIT. The two locations were linked via a live video feed. Additionally we piped in guest speakers from remote locations in Denmark and the USA. Everything was broadcast in real time via a live stream on our website. You can rewatch the video here!

The first presentation was held by Jon Hearty, Business Development Director of Origin Protocol. He gave us some insights about blockchain-based decentralized marketplaces and the many social implications of this innovation. Moreover he talked about his blockchain platform for building decentralized marketplaces ‘Origin Protocol’.

According to Jon, many of today’s marketplaces that seem to be fully P2P have central companies sitting in the middle of all transactions which hoard and swallow the data to monetize it later. With the use of a blockchain-based decentralized marketplace, problems like these can be avoided. He sees four major advantages to Origin’s approach to decentral marketplaces.

  1. The drastic reduction of transaction costs. Companies who run the platforms often request high transaction fees for basically just matching a buyer and a seller. With the use of blockchain there is no need of an intermediary so that the transaction fees can be put back in the hands of the buyers and sellers.
  2. Redistribute value more fairly throughout the networks. Users have a major impact on the success of the platform but hardly benefit from it compared to the platforms’ founders or directors. Cryptoeconomic incentives provided by a blockchain powered platform to distribute the value more fairly within the platform so users also benefit as a network effects set in.
  3. Promote free and open commerce. Many marketplaces aren’t available all around the world, they are limited or banned to a special region or heavily regulated. In the face of regulation, a company who runs the platform is a single point of failure. Decentralized Platforms don’t have this characteristic which makes them able jump in where where platforms like Uber, AirBnB are banned or regulated.
  4. Making services available to the unbanked. Billions of users worldwide don’t have access to financial services but they do have access to cheap smartphones and therefore wallets to store their values. The unbanked can leap from traditional financial system and make transactions over a blockchain-based network.

Origin Protocol itself just launched a blockchain-based marketplace as a dApp (decentralized App). As underlying technology Orgin Protocol uses the Ethereum Blockchain and IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) for identity management. Go and check it out on https://dapp.originprotocol.com/#/.

Jon and Pablo over Video Call

Our second speaker of the Meetup was Pablo Velasco from the University of Aarhus who focuses on the digital culture through its technical infrastructures including the political and social aspects of technology. In his research, he deals with topics such as how the development of social technology happens and how it contributes to micropolitics such as how social relationships modify the outcomes of certain technologies.
As an example, technology can be used as a political tool for including or excluding relevant stakeholders in a system.

Regarding the blockchain technologies that rose up during the last years, Pablo said, that they can be merged together as a list of attempts of some sort of parallel payment system or decentralized, electronic money. In Bitcoin, for instance, the key element was the exchange of economic value using cryptography and this cryptography was a elementary need for the social integration of the technology.

He also pointed out how different technologies have impact on the social interaction. As an example, sending coins over a blockchain network requires a new and different trust paradigm and therefore builds up a new type of social interaction.

Rebecca and Anna-Laura during their presentation

In the third presentation Anna-Laura Liebenstund and Rebecca Johnson from the European Blockchain Association presented the importance of a governance model in decentralized organizations.

They pointed out why it is important to have regulations in the use of technology and how the interaction impacts our social behaviour as well as the way we think.

A key aspect was that we have to be very careful about the inputs, design processes and implicit cultural assumptions behind our development of new technology. Artificially intelligent agents, for instance, will always be a reflection of the training sets to develop them.

Technology without principals will become antisocial sooner or later.

As a result, we need governance as a framework for techno-social interactions. Recent projects like ‘the DAO’ failed and Bitcoin and Ethereum got forked because of inconsistent governance.

Therefore it will be important for decentralized organizations to establish common principles, ethical code of conducts, membership rules and a solid basis in existing social networks to ensure the durable success of the organization.

Anna-Laura during the presentation

We want to thank the speakers for their very interesting presentations on this, the opening meetup of 2019! Also, thank you to the team of Werk1 who provided the location, organized the catering as well as providing support for the A/V setup. And we thank ZD.B for supporting the meetup in general!

We also want to thank our audience in Munich and Bayreuth for attending. We hoped you enjoyed the Meetup. Feel free to give us your feedback.

Our next Meetup will take place on Tuesday March 19th, 2019 on the topic ‘Privacy by Design?’. We would be very happy to see you there again!

Blockchain As A Social Technology – Meetup, 22 JAN 19

In his 1901 published article titled “The Scope of Social Technology“, Charles Henderson renamed social art as ‘social technology’, and described it as ‘a system of conscious and purposeful organization of persons in which every actual, natural social organization finds its true place, and all factors in harmony cooperate to realize an increasing aggregate and better proportions of the “health, wealth, beauty, knowledge, sociability, and rightness” desires.’

Later, the term social technology was given a wider meaning in the works of Ernest Burgess and Thomas D. Eliot,, who defined social technology to include the application, particularly in social work, of techniques developed by psychology and other social sciences.

As a result of its decentralised architecture, its openness, and its data immutability, Blockchain can be regarded as a social technology: New governance models, represented in DAOs and DSAOs, have demonstrated the social impact of Blockchain technology.

Getting Results: Blockchain Mobility Hackathon Solutions Map

Blockchained Mobility Hackathon

The Blockchained Mobility Hackathon on the weekend of July 20-22 saw a flurry of innovation by a colorful mix of corporate and independent hackers along with some of the world’s biggest mobility players. In order to visualize the PoCs presented, we’ve built an interactive infographic.  

Building a blockchain mobility ecosystem with multiple distributed ledger technologies is a complex task that will require the smartest minds among us over a number of years. To that end, we asked each of the hacker teams competing at the Blockchained Mobility Hackathon to locate their prototype within a specific point in the tech stack as part of a future mobility user journey. In the infographic above, you can click to explore each of the PoCs presented and see immediately where the solution fits into the big picture for blockchained mobility. 

Embedded in the infographic you’ll also find the results for each team including videos of the final pitches, team interviews about next steps and you can even drill down into the code with direct access to the repositories from each team. Click the image now to expand the infographic and navigate to detailed information about each teams results.

We’re working hard to move toward the development of a mobility future where everyone can compete and collaborate by leveraging blockchain and distributed ledger technology across the mobility industry. Thank you to all of the participants and sponsors of the Blockchained Mobility Hackathon 2018! This is just the beginning.

Team “Pac-Man on Wheels” – Third place in the Blockchained Mobility Hackathon

Pac-Man on Wheels, the winners of third place (for USD 1 000 + 15 000 XSC tokens)

Democratize autonomous driving by crowdsourcing and gamifying the data collection via IOTA Tokens

Q: What problem does your project solve?

A: In order to empower autonomous driving hundreds of thousands hours of sensor data are required. Individual data acquisition without merging possibility is never able to gain the appropiate amount of data needed to secure all driving scenarios. This can only be achieved by crowdsourcing the data by incentivizing road users with IOTA Tokens. A decentralized market place ensures the complete data availability.

Q: What expertise and roles did you have on your team?

A: Michael Karl: Business Development, Distributed Ledger Evangelist, IoT, Autonomous Driving & Sensorfusion Expert

  • Dr. Simon Hassannia: Head of Business Innovation and Automotive Industry Expert
  • Martin Mihaylov: Computer Vision & AI Engineer, Entrepreneur, Designer, All things tech enthusiast
  • David Hawig: Iota, Ipfs and Ntru C# Developer
    • Dr. Simon Hassannia: Head of Business Innovation and Automotive Industry Expert
    • Martin Mihaylov: Computer Vision & AI Engineer, Entrepreneur, Designer, All things tech enthusiast
    • David Hawig: Iota, Ipfs and Ntru C# Developer

    Q: Which technologies and tools did you use in your project?

    A: NTRU for encryption, IPFS for decentralized file storage, IOTA for immutable decentralized data exchange and monetization, Xamarin for multi-platform application development

    After we finished the Blockchained Mobility Hackathon with the 3rd place our team quickly set up communication channels to stay connected. Although our team has just found itself on the Hackathon we have a very strong attitude our project will successful be enhanced and implemented now. Because of the perfect mix between software and business developers and the seamless collaboration inside the team we have a strong starting point now. By attending at the DAHO.AM conference right after the Hackathon we received positive feedback from several attendees and company representative to have found a well-fitted business case here. The strong interest in “Pac-Man on Wheels” strengthened us once more to proceed with the project. We already spoke to interested companies and investors at the DAHO.AM and figured out some approaches how to get going. We are still in negotiations if the project will be kicked off as a start-up or, which is actually more likely, integrated into a project of an existing company. Since nothing is settled yet, we appreciate and want to encourage any interested party to get in touch with us to discuss common realization possibilities.

    European Mobility Players Are Getting Serious – Compete & Collaborate At BlockchainedMobility Hackathon

    Blockchained Mobility Hackathon

    Over the weekend of 20-22 July, heavy rain poured on the streets of Munich. Which did not prevent 20,000 people to demonstrate against xenophobia at Königsplatz, also went more or less unnotced by the 150 participants of the BlockchainedMobility hackathon who met to create blockchain-based mobility solutions. 

    Hacker teams of leading European mobility players, such as BMW, Volkswagen Group, Bosch, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom, Amadeus, and others mixed with freelance developers, designers and business experts to work on IOTA and Ethereum. On Sunday afternoon, the jury saw 18 project teams presenting a broad variety of mobility solutions, from specific applications, such as a EV charging station finder, to more generic solutions like a mobility API to match offerings of mobility providers with the needs of the end user.

    Georg Eisenreich, Minister of the State of Bavaria

    The hackathon started on Friday with a keynote by the Minister of State for Digital, Media and Europe, Georg Eisenreich, who highlighted the importance for collaboration of the State of Bavaria with on the one hand corporations, such as the hackathon‘s sponsors, on the other hand with the technology – or more specifically – the blockchain community. Minister Eisenreich emphasised the role of the State of Bavaria in providing a sound economical framework for blockchain startups and projects. He encouraged the participants to be creative and dare to found companies in order to foster Bavaria‘s and Europe‘s competitive advantage in the area of blockchain.

    Michael Reuter (Datarella), Peter Busch (Bosch), Dominik Pietsch (BMW) Alisa Maas (IOTA) Klaus Schaaf (Volkswagen Group), Herbert Mangesius (Vito Ventures)

    After the keynote, the representatives of the main sponsors Dominik Pietsch (BMW), Klaus Schaaf (Volkswagen Group), Peter Busch (Bosch), and Alisa Maas (IOTA) discussed the state of mobility and the expectations of the mobility players for the hackathon with Herbert Mangesius (Vito Ventures) and Michael Reuter (Datarella). At BMW, Volkswagen Group and Bosch, blockchain has obtained an important role within the areas of technology to work on. Dominik Pietsch, Klaus Schaaf and Peter Busch all agreed upon the importance their companies put in blockchain as a foundational layer for mobility solutions. Particularly in regard to the complex regulatory requirements for large corporations in any case of collaboration, blockchain serves as a neutral technological layer that allows for a joint use of mobility data provided by different players within the ecosystem.

    Deutsche Telekom. Breakout Session

    During Saturday and Sunday, hackers worked highly concentrated and steadily to create their applications they had to present towards the jury. Breakout sessions by the sponsor teams and Yoga interludes gave variety in the workflows. Some teams, e.g. Bosch and Deutsche Telekom, provided not only APIs but sensor-driven hardware the hackers could integrate into their projects.

    Sunday evening, the jury announced 3 winners out of 18 projects, who received IOTA’s in worth of USD 5,000 (#1), USD 2,000 (#2) and USD 1,000 (#3) as well as 50,000 XSC (#1), 30,000 XSC (#2) and 15,000 XSC (#3). Additionally, Lewis Freiberg of the IOTA Foundation announced a special prize: the opportunity to receive USD 50,000 in IOTA tokens provided by the IOTA ecosystem fund for the best open-source project.  The hackathon‘s winners were:

    #1
    OMS – Open Mobility API: USD 5,000  + 50,000 XSC + the opportunity to receive USD 50,000 from the IOTA ecosystem fund

    OMS – Open Mobility API

    #2
    AgentFinder – EV Charging Station Finder USD 2,000 + 30,000 XSC

    AgentFinder – EV Charging Station Finder

    #3
    Pac-Man On Wheels – Crowdsourced Incentive Scheme For Privately Collected Driving Data USD 1,000 + 15,000 XSC

    Pac-Man On Wheels

    We will publish short interviews with each project team over the next few days.

    After the jury‘s decision, the hacker crowd gathered for a few more hours to get themselves the last drinks and discuss next steps: since everybody enjoyed this weekend and we received so much positive feedback from the community, we have already started thinking about how to build upon the success of the BlockchainedMobility hackathon. Hopefully we – and new sponsors and participants  – will meet again, soon!

    REGISTER NOW: The Blockchained Mobility Hackathon 2018

    THE BLOCKCHAINED MOBILITY HACKATHON @DAHO.AM

    Compete and collaborate: The Blockchained Mobility Hackathon brings together the biggest players in Europe’s mobility ecosystem with the brightest independent developer teams for 2.5 days of blockchain mobility hacking! You’ll use bleeding edge blockchain tech to imagine and build prototype solutions for a sustainable mobility ecosystem. Network and innovate in an open sandbox with industry peers! All participants will get free tickets to the DAHO.AM Tech Conference in Munich on July, 24th2018 and the hackathon winner will receive prizes to be announced at the event.
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    Blockchain Meetup 13: Crypto Exchanges 2.0 – Secure Cryptocurrency Trading


    In 2018, the cryptocurrency market has lost roughly 50% of its 2017 value. Some crypto exchanges had to close, others find themselves preventing regulatory bodies from shutting them down because of lacking KYC/AML procedures.

    Tonight, we have banker Dr. Michael Hasenstab, CEO of ACON Actienbank AG, and crypto expert Johannes Angermeyer, kick-starting the evening with a joint introduction on ICOs vs IPOs. Then, representatives of crypto exchanges presenting their views on how to provide a secure, legally compliant, cryptocurrency trading for mainstream users.

    Our first talk: Dr. Michael Hasenstab, ACON Actienbank AG & Johannes Angermeier, Black Pearl Digital AG
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    Blockchain Meetup 12: The Convergence of AI & Blockchain

    The Convergence Thesis: We strongly believe that blockchain technology will prove as the key underlying technology stack for the technologies that emerge with numerous applications on top of it. This view has been influenced by Outlier Ventures’ Jamie Burke, who coined the term ‘convergence’.

    Blockchain provides an infrastructure for emergent trends like; IoT, 3D Printing, Autonomous Robotics (drones) to scale securely. More specifically, there are a handful of emerging technologies that hold the most promise for this blockchain-enabled convergence:

    – Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    – The Internet of Things (IoT)
    – Autonomous Robotics (Drones & Autonomous Vehicles)
    – Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)
    – 3D Printing
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    Blockchain Meetup 11: Does Blockchain Enable Co-opetition? On Consortia, Alliances And Initiatives

    Confronted with new technologies, market participants quite often choose to become members of some kind of group, organisation, alliance or initiative. Same with blockchain technology. In this meetup, we will hear about some practical experiences of members of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance and B3i, the blockchain initiative of insurers.

    Our first talk: Oliver Volk, Allianz SE

    We’re happy to have Oliver Volk, Allianz Re Blockchain Expert and B3i Representative, to present his perspective.
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    Blockchain Meetup 10: C8 – A Global Cooperative: Exchanging Assets, Services, Time And Money

    Boyd Cohen

    Sometimes, old ideas experience a renaissance triggered by the advent of a new technology. The decentralized architecture of the blockchain finds its equivalent in traditional co-operative schemes as they exist in many different shapes throughout the world.

    In this meetup we will discuss how blockchain technology is used to shift power from centralized entities to cooperatives. The Collabor8 (C8) Community Token which aims to develop a protocol and token to support a global ecosystem of decentralized but interconnected platform coops focusing on P2P exchange of assets, services, money and time.

    Boyd Cohen, C8’s Economy Director and the author of ‚Post-Capitalist Entrepreneurship‘ will present the community process of designing tokens and the cryptoeconomics needed to motivate people to work and interact in a decentralized, collaborative way.

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