Arnaud Wenger and Wim Stalmans (Letzblock): Blockchain in a nutshell
“Due to its specificity, blockchain will push our standards ahead for the benefit of everyone by enabling new applications in multiple sectors”, say Arnaud Wenger, Head of Executive Committee, and Wim Stalmans, Events Leads at Letzblock. Interview.
What is LëtzBlock?
LëtzBlock defines itself as a Luxembourg non-profit association founded by a group of blockchain and crypto experts aiming at promoting blockchain technology from all its aspects including from legal, technological, and practical standpoints. The association strives to explain in a simple way what blockchain is and what can be done with it through cooperation with stakeholders in Luxembourg, the EU and at the international level. The association also fosters collaboration with other blockchain associations. Last but not the least, LëtzBlock strongly encourages blockchain-experimentation with and by members, supports the creation of interdisciplinary working groups and organises training courses, seminars, and other events with specialists on a myriad of Blockchain-topics. Particularly loved by LëtzBlock’s members are the Blockchain Tuesdays – set up every first Tuesday of the month – giving the floor to professionals and experts to present and exchange about a project or topic linked to the blockchain.
“For the first time, assets and liabilities can exist and be transferred directly from person to person within the infrastructure of the internet”
How do you define the blockchain and what is its potential?
In its very essence Blockchain is a transaction database. So, you can imagine it as an excel sheet in which you have on each line a transaction that describes the transfer of ownership of a certain asset from one individual or entity to another individual or entity.. Now, traditionally, transaction journals are maintained by third parties who are trusted to create a truthful record of the history of the ownership of an item. The difference that Blockchain introduces is that, instead of the trusted third parties, it’s the users of the register, that maintain it collectively. The authenticity and integrity of transactions is ensured by using cryptographic signing algorithms, while the honesty, immutability, and unchangeability of the Blockchain is enabled by imposing on the maintainers a schema of investment-and-return. This schema yields a positive economic result when the users maintain the Blockchain honestly and yields a negative result when done dishonestly. The direct consequence of the emergence of the Blockchain technology is that, for the first time in history, assets and liabilities can exist and be transferred directly from person to person within the internet infrastructure. Shortly said, Blockchain enables the Internet of Value.
What trends do you identify in terms of the use of this technology?
Blockchain technology will scale up our current standards. The keywords are decentralisation, smart contracts, and security. The blockchain technology can support the development of new businesses and financial models, by moving, for example, the distribution of services and products, or even the organization itself, to a decentralized model. This has the potential to enable more direct, efficient, and independent interactions between value creators, stakeholders, and clients. Another interesting trend in the use of this technology are the non-fungible assets or NFTs, used by both traditional artists and the young generation to tokenise their virtual art and develop a new economic model based on the traceability of smart contracts. The technology has also been applied in areas like FinTech and supply-chain. The application of cross-border payments, direct asset transfers from person to person and stakeholder identification, can improve considerably the procedural efficiency and reduce previously existing frictions due to the intervention of a multitude of intermediaries. In terms of security, there are two additional trends: one related to voting protocols, where companies or states can protect shareholders, participants and citizens against unwanted interference and guarantee a safe electronic voting system; and one related to medical research, where research projects can ensure the traceability and the origin of the data and analyse automatically research related parameters.