This one day policy workshop brought together experts, practitioners, politicians, civil servants and citizens interested to discuss what role the European Institutions and in particular the Horizon 2020 public funds for research should be playing as Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) begin to encroach on areas far removed from finance and into every aspect of our social interchange. The aim was to define a vision and research agenda on DLT applied to sustainability challenges.

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Agenda and presentations:

The workshop was organised by EPSC (European Political Strategy Center), DG CONNECT (Communications Networks, Content and Technology Directorate-General), DG FISMA (Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union Directorate-General), DG GROW (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Directorate-General) and the JRC (Joint Research Centre).

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is not just Blockchains and Blockchains is not just Bitcoin. Experts are saying that the Internet will come to be seen as the background technology that made distributed ledger applications possible. Will DLT really bring a more profound change to our societies over the next ten years than the internet has over the past ten?

The event aimed at tacking stock of existing activities in this emerging field, considering their regulatory and standardisation implications, as well as at defining a roadmap of how the European Commission can contribute to these developments, in particular through Horizon 2020 actions.

The workshop discussed the potential of DLT beyond financial applications, with the help of Primavera De Filippi, Research Fellow at Berkman Center For Internet & Society, and several other experts on technological, social, policy and communication aspects of blockchains.

Interactive roundtables focused on the strengths and limitations of distributed ledgers technologies for social applications (by discussing concrete examples), as well as on the policy and regulatory challenges associated with decentralising governance. The final panel presented and discussed ongoing activities supported by different Commission services, in order to draft a roadmap for future research and policy activities in this emerging field.

All audio recordings from the event can be accessed here

You can also have a look at the Speakers biographies

The event was on twitter as #BCsocialgood, #blockchain


9:30 Introduction: Markku Markkula, President of European Committee of Regions, and Mário Campolargo, Director Future Networks, DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology

9:45 "Blockchain technology, Towards Decentralized Governance", by Primavera De Filippi, CNRS, Research Fellow at Berkman Center For Internet & Society

An overview of existing as well as potential applications of DLTs

10:45 Coffee break

11:00 Roundtable: Strengths and limitations of distributed ledgers technologies for social applications – concrete examples (Chair: Primavera De Filippi)

Sharing experiences and recommendations for impactful research on distributed ledgers. What has worked and what has not? What are the main roablocks?

Aaron van Wirdum, Bitcoin Magazine
Brett Scott, Alternative Finance Explorer, Fellow of The Finance Innovation Lab
Jessi Baker, blockchains for tracing Provenance
Matthew Golby-Kirk, IBM Global Blockchain Labs Enablement
James Hazard, Common Accord, For Good Ledgers
Amin Rafiee, Bitnation Refugee Emergency Response

12:30 Lunch Break

14:00 Roundtable: Decentralising governance (Chair: Robert Madelin, Hors Classe Adviser "Senior Adviser for Innovation", European Political Strategy Centre)

What could the EU / EC bring? What is necessary to promote practical use cases and governance? Do we need any standardisation/regulation?

Jakob von Weizsäcker, Member of European Parliament
Philippe Dewost, Caisse Des Dépôts, France, New Blocks on the Chain?
Philip Boucher, Policy analyst, European Parliamentary Research Service
Pindar Wong, Chair of, Decentralising Governance: Dynamic Subsidiarity
Catherine Mulligan, Imperial College, UK report on DLT beyond blockchains
Martin Koeppelmann, Basic income on the blockchain
Marco Sachy, DLT Designer, Foundation, Freecoin: Complementary currency toolkit

15:30 Coffee Break

16:00 All: Defining a roadmap for EU research on Blockchains for Social Good (Chair: Fabrizio Sestini)

What has the EC done insofar? What benefits can DLT bring to EU society in the future? Brief summary of ICT call on "distributed architectures for decentralised data governance" (DG CNECT), DG FISMA and DG GROW activities, followed by open discussion on a research and policy roadmap for the EU.

Fabrizio Sestini, Senior Expert Digital Social Innovation, European Commission DG CONNECT, Harnessing blockchains to decentralise data governance
Susana Nascimento, Policy Analyst - Foresight, Behavioural Insights and Design for Policy, European Commission JRC, DLT: Upcoming activities of the EU Policy Lab
Joachim Schwerin, Principal Economist, European Commission DG GROW,

Open discussion and conclusions, see the slides on research roadmap edited with the audience

18:15 Closing


Agenda (PDF)


Contact information