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.

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.
Continue reading “REGISTER NOW: The Blockchained Mobility Hackathon 2018”

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
Continue reading “Blockchain Meetup 13: Crypto Exchanges 2.0 – Secure Cryptocurrency Trading”

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
Continue reading “Blockchain Meetup 12: The Convergence of AI & Blockchain”

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.
Continue reading “Blockchain Meetup 11: Does Blockchain Enable Co-opetition? On Consortia, Alliances And Initiatives”

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.

Continue reading “Blockchain Meetup 10: C8 – A Global Cooperative: Exchanging Assets, Services, Time And Money”

Blockchain Meetup 9: Blockchain, Quo Vadis?

Rob Habermeier

On blocks, tangles and meta-chains – what is the next step for Blockchain?

This time, we will return to the more technical aspects of blockchain: what is the actual state of different platforms, what’s going on with Bitcoin, IOTA, etc., and where does this all lead us to?

In the first talk, Datarella CEO Joerg Blumtritt will provide us with an outlook, especially on the following aspects:

Continue reading “Blockchain Meetup 9: Blockchain, Quo Vadis?”

Blockchain Meetup 8: The State of the Initial Coin Offering ICO

Jamie Burke

ICOs are all the rage in the blockchain sphere, these days. Tales of hitherto unknown projects selling their tokens and raising millions of US-Dollars within hours or even minutes have made it to mainstream media. With the traditional Venture Capital VC model, another industry seems to be ready for disruption.

In the past 12 months, blockchain-related projects have raised 2.4 times more from ICOs than venture capital firms and early-stage investors.

Funds raised by blockchain-related organizations in the last 12 months

In this meetup, we will approach the ICO from different perspectives, trying to get hold of this phenomenon:

Continue reading “Blockchain Meetup 8: The State of the Initial Coin Offering ICO”