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Barlaeus diner ‘Trusting Data on the Blockchain’

At the Allard Pierson Museum on Thursday 24 May, academic, business and public representatives met over dinner to discuss the theme of “Trusting Data on the Blockchain”. The Keynote speech was delivered by Balázs Bodó PhD, founder of the Blockchain&Society Policy Research Lab, Institute for Information Law, UvA.

The Barlaeus dinners, organized since 2016, aim to build cross-sectoral dialogues among researchers, profit and non-profit organisations and government. With these dinners IXA UvA hopes to establish new possibilities for collaboration opportunities between the University of Amsterdam and third parties. At each event, a select group of participants raise questions and conduct discussions around the overarching theme. Previous dinners had topics from the Digital Humanities to Quantum computing and Amsterdam as a ‘Green Campus’.

Blockchain technology—the topic discussed at the dinner of 24 May —is a novel method of storing and sharing data in decentralized ways that do not depend on the approval of an overall authority. Wider public interest in blockchain technology, especially in the form of cryptocurrencies, creates an opportunity to rethink current ways of organising institutions, economies and social intercourse. Accordingly, each table at the dinner pondered the consequences of realising information from the custodianship of centralised institutions, and the participation of wider publics in the formation of knowledge and definition of truth. Invitees reflected on the development of blockchain-based data in relation to markets and the public (which produce and consume data), and government and law (which regulate information markets).

The Barlaeus diners are organized twice a year by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) UvA HvA, the valorization center the UvA. The next diner will be held in winter 2018.