Scrolling through my Twitter feed, I saw “The Blockchain Tiramisu – Tech Stacks and Pragmatic Engineering,” and thought to myself I like tiramisu, and also blockchain!
Upon further investigation, I discovered that this event was not, in fact, serving tiramisu, but it ended up being a great experience anyway.
Vierde Vrijdag at The Hague Tech is a gathering for people in business and tech to socialize and learn from each other about various trends and developments in the industry. I didn’t know much about the presenters, but the programming sounded quite educational (for myself, at least). People spoke about intellectual property laws, blockchain, and digitizing the city.
Unfortunately I was not able to stay for the whole program, but I had the pleasure of listening to Susanne Pieterse talk about what blockchain is and how it can be useful to a variety of businesses.
Susanne Pieterse and her company Pieterse Innovate
Pieterse started her presentation informing us that she will give this presentation at an event for the Powerful Business Women’s Network, and we were a test-run audience. The PBWN asked her to present not only because of her prestigious status as a powerful business woman, but also because their audience wanted to know more about how blockchain technology can improve their companies.
As a woman interested in networking and being powerful, I was already intrigued.
She went on to tell us about her work experience as a legal consultant who worked in digital zoning for ten years. She had always been interested in computers, so she studied programming last year and then started her own business, Pieterse Innovate. The company advises clients on how to innovate and evolve their processes.
But her enthusiasm doesn’t end there. She also runs blockchain030, a blockchain co-working event every Monday in Utrecht, and she started the podcast Block Rock, which focuses on Dutch blockchain news and projects.
How Blockchain technology is being used
Pieterse gave a great explanation of blockchain technology (safe, immutable, shared ledger), emphasizing that its use is based in trust. While it’s not a solution for everything, it is extremely helpful when
- More than two parties are involved
- If there are conflicting interests
- In the presence of shared common trust
She also gave a few examples of how blockchain technology is currently being used. Pieterse mentioned the Port of Rotterdam collaboration with Blocklab, as well as automated micro-transactions for package deliveries, and an experimental effort to tag social welfare benefits. (Though it was noted that the kindpakket project decided it was too difficult to implement blockchain this way at the moment.)
But blockchain can be used for so much more.
Supply Chain Management: An experiment with a fishery found that everyone in the supply chain had conflicting interests. When an app was developed to solve the problem, many in the supply chain rejected its use because they felt it didn’t represent their interests.
Energy Usage Data: With Oehu, smart meter owners submit their energy usage data to the website. Users remain owners of their data, but the shared access to the information will help improve the technology.
Theater Tickets: GUTS Tickets uses blockchain to create a fair ticket resale market. As a result, it fights ticket fraud while giving fans a better opportunity to attend shows.
Document Verification: The University of Nicosia uses blockchain for certificates, which means future employers or organizations would not need to contact the University to verify the authenticity of the document.
Vierde Vrijdag was a great opportunity to participate in a discussion about the tech industry, rather than just reading about it. At first I was nervous because it seemed like everyone already knew each other and was familiar with each other’s work (that’s always the case at networking events, right?).
But when I got pulled into a conversation, it turned out that other people attending also didn’t have a background in programming. My greatest takeaway from the event – as well as Pieterse – was that it doesn’t hurt to just go: go to a networking event, go to a panel, go hard on the paint and start your own business. Just go.