Blockchain4Cities at IE Business School

By April 6, 2018Uncategorized

An enriching experience to showcase and discuss with the IE Business School community

The past week the members of Blockchain4Cities including Stefan, Gildo, and Javier co-organized “The Future Cities: A Look Into the Blockchain Society” with the IEU Computer Society (special thanks to Anaïs for pushing this through) at the IE Business School. This event represented our step towards bringing the internal discussions to the outside community.

Alongside us at the simplistically well designed Paper Pavilion were:

  • Alex Preukschat, Lead at BlockchainEspaña & author of Libro Blockchain,
  • Luís Iván Cuende, Project Lead at Aragon,
  • and Mònica Zeng, Founder of ./human.sh

discussing the potential of decentralized systems to create value, the purpose behind decentralized governance, and the role of leadership in a crypto world.

Improving urban governance

Some of the greatest and current challenges of our world are the challenges of our cities, and blockchain enables a new narrative around rethinking the governance models of our cities.

Without going too far in time, 60% of the world population will be urban by 2020. And not just any 60%, but a hyper-connected collaborative society that can change the world for better or for worse in a matter of clicks.

Trapped in the traditional model of vertical silos such as healthcare, security, or education, cities are in the quest for an ultimate horizontal cross-cutting platform that integrates across sectors. As of 2018, there is still no clear path forward for cross-organization.

What we’ve come to figure is that integrating blockchain in cities makes sense. Cities are networks in themselves, where diverse selfish entities are in constant exchange of information. The data for ongoing optimization is real-time, and both qualitative and quantitative, and yet hard to grasp by centralized administrative authorities. This information needs to be trusted, and at the same time goes through a multitude of intermediaries that can now be disintermediated.

The use cases are already there

Turns out, many of the applications we envision as part of a cross-organization platform for cities already exist. Yet these are scattered throughout the spectrum of vertical silos.

Some examples Stefan presented at the talk include China’s implementation of the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance with Walmart, IBM and JD, Sweden’s buy-and-sell of real estate within minutes, or the Blockchain Mobility Consortium, in the works to provide data sharing, p2p transactions and access to public transit, all decentralized.

An example of a platform already established is the famous case of E-Estonia, or in particular the case of Tallinn (capital of Estonia, holds almost half the population of the whole). Estonian citizens have access to a cross-cutting national platform achieving zero bureaucracy, a real-time economy, e-residency, and a maximum national security.

Through a decentralized platform of city services (see district0x and their fantastic approach for decentralized markets and communities), we envision an urban governance model where services and projects are interconnected, supported by a large pool of real-time data (see Ocean Protocol) that self-organizes into new urban solutions, and even recommended policies.

Beyond interconnected services, blockchain as a platform could solve the problems centralized governance is incapable of, including:

  • Information systems security
  • Maximum transparency
  • Avoid corruption & fraud
  • Increased participation

Bringing our proposal to the table

As early as we are into the journey of Blockchain4Cities with roughly a month in the works, we have identified a series of products and services that already exist and bring partial model solutions to the problems of our cities.

These include uPort’s approach to single sign in identity, Balance’s approach to a multi-asset wallet beyond currency, Colony’s and Aragon’s approach to open organizations and digital jurisdictions, Ocean Protocol’s and IOTA’s approach to decentralized IoT and city sensing, and district0x’s approach to decentralized community and market districts.

At Blockchain4Cities, our mission is to investigate the use of blockchain in governance models with a focus on the development of smart cities, and to share this knowledge with anyone interested in areas such as smart cities, governance, blockchain, and city services.

We envision smart cities embracing blockchain will be more inclusive, participating, transparent, sustainable, competitive, with less corruption and fraud, and better responding to citizen needs for better places to work and live.

Through the existing digital infrastructure of crypto projects and open source collaboration we aim to bring these together towards a solution for cities to move towards embracing blockchain and its many potential societal benefits.

Bringing these concepts to those who attended our first event at IE Business School was a fantastic first opportunity to raise awareness about the urban challenge and discuss the future of our cities.

To everyone we saw or met there, thank you for coming! See you at the next one, because there will definitely be a next one 🙂

Some photos of the other amazing speakers we shared stage with:

Alex Preukschat from Blockchain España

Luis Iván from Aragon

Mònica Zeng from ./human.sh

Upcoming events

We are planning an event at Campus Madrid sometime mid-May. If you’re planning to attend, make sure to say hi in person! You can also join one of the community channels below to hear about any spontaneous Blockchain4Cities community gatherings in between, and more.


Javier Alaves

Javier Alaves

Javier combines his current work at BC4C with general DLT research with a strong focus on fundamental analysis. He has written a thesis on distributed resource management for future cities. and holds +6 years of experience in the fields of EdTech, digitization and robotics.

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