Blockchain. Building on a system of digital trust for Dutch society E-magazine Dutch Blockchain Coalition highlights opportunities and outstanding issues

News - 26 September 2017

Patient data that is safely sent from one hospital laboratory to another. Households that trade in energy. Smart contracts that ensure that freight consignments from container ships are efficiently transported on from the Rotterdam harbour via road, water and rail. The E-magazine published by the Dutch Blockchain Coalition today reveals how blockchain applications can help to realise further advances in our economy and society. At the same time the various articles and interviews also make it clear that a lot still needs to happen at the technical, societal and legal levels to ensure that blockchain becomes a reliable and future-proof exchange system. In the E-magazine you can read about the coalitions' ambition, the action agenda that it is currently realising and the use cases that the coalition partners are working on. Some of the coalitions experts are interviewed about the importance of adequate legislation as well as the need for good communication about the impact of blockchain on our everyday lives.

Opportunities for many sectors

Coalition partners from, amongst others, the healthcare, energy and banking sectors state what opportunities they see for their sector, how they acquired blockchain knowledge and which practical applications they think can be realised. For example, partner Norbert Schmidt from Brightlands Smart Services Campus foresees improvements in the area of security: “Often, patient data from hospital laboratories is still being sent by post to other hospitals and then manually entered in the computer. We will replace this expensive, error-sensitive and slow process with a reliable and efficient blockchain solution.” Partner Pieter Janssen from Enexis foresees new role models developing: “In the short term we envisage that energy can be traded by anyone. This requires new platforms and roles. In the long-term machines will interact with other machines on a blockchain infrastructure.”

Starting conditions

The coalition also interviewed several of its experts about the necessary legal and societal starting conditions. 

Claudia Zuiderwijk, President of the Executive Board Dutch Chamber of Commerce, emphasises the importance of a strong digital identity: “The Chamber of Commerce sees the confirmation of who you do business with as one of the fundamentals of doing business securely. This is why we focus on assisting the entrepreneur in controlling his identity. Something which becomes even more essential in the new age of digitalisation and the emerging platform economy.”

Jeroen van den Hoven, professor Professor of Ethics and Technology at Delft University of Technology, about the ethical aspects of blockchain: "We also need to need to give urgent and serious thought to blockchain and digital identity because all things being considered this will not automatically lead to a good and just society. And the government should take a leading role in this debate.”

Read more about the coalition, use cases of its partners and the necessary starting conditions in our E-magazine

More about the Dutch Blockchain Coalition

The Dutch Blockchain Coalition is a collaboration between twenty partners from the financial services, insurance, logistics, energy, security, knowledge and ministries as well as supervisory bodies such as the Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) and the Royal Notary Association (KNB)

The Dutch Blockchain Coalition has drawn up an action agenda that will be revised every year. The agenda 2017 has three lines of action:

Building blocks - Efforts in the first line of action will be made to realise strong digital identities that are secure, reliable and internationally applicable. This will be based on self-sovereign (autonomous) digital identities and open source architecture so that prototypes and demos can also be shared with partners outside of the coalition. Identity is a necessary condition for the introduction of each blockchain application and it is therefore the first item addressed.

Conditions - A second group will investigate the right conditions for the reliable use of blockchain applications. Such conditions include appropriate legislation, satisfactory supervision and societal acceptance (second line of action).

Human Capital Agenda - The focus in the third line of action is on training, sharing knowledge and increasing skills. Examples are the new professions that will arise such as legal coders: lawyers who can also program. Educational establishments and training centres must be able to anticipate such needs.

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