Annual NILG Conference 2018 

Where: University of Groningen, the Netherlands

When: Thursday 29 & Friday 30 November 2018

Blockchain, Public Trust, Law and Governance

The Economist named blockchain the ultimate ‘trust machine’ that is deemed to replace traditional banking systems, land registers, public record systems, and even traditional election voting systems. Blockchain offers the opportunity to address the trust, transparency, and bureaucracy challenges that several public bodies currently face. Furthermore, the blockchain offers new collaboration opportunities between governments and citizens. It verifies close to real time transactions, simplifies regulatory compliance, promises efficiency gains through the reduction of intermediaries, and reduces the risks of fraud and cybercrime.

Throughout the world, governments are experimenting with blockchain in different areas. However, it remains a black box to many citizens, public bodies, and companies. This in itself raises concerns for areas where democratic processes are essential to create legitimacy. Additionally, many question whether the technology is stable and secure over the long-run, if total transparency is desirable for all kinds of public services, whether it is scalable enough or consumes too much energy, what its social impact is, whether existing legal frameworks are challenged by this system, and how the technology and its users can be “fixed” if mistakes occur. Hence, the ‘trust machine’ has not been able to conquer the minds and hearts of many skeptical public and private actors.

The conference ‘Blockchain, Public Trust, Law and Governance’ will bring together reputed academics, talented professionals, and a selection of innovative entrepreneurs working on blockchain to discuss the applications of this technology to government as well as its regulatory, ethical and policy challenges.

Confirmed speakers include:

– Karen Yeung (University of Burmingham, School of Law and School of Computer Science);

– Balàzs Bodò (University of Amsterdam Ivr, ERC project Blockchain & Society);

– Christoph Bush (University of Osnabrück);

– Primavera De Filippi (CNRS/Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University), One of the authors of ‘Blockchain and the Law’ (Harvard University Press);

– Liav Orgad (WZB Berlin and European University Institute, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya);

– Florian-Martin Bariteau (Law and Technology, University of Ottawa, Director of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society);

– Dirk Zetzsche (University of Luxembourg, Faculty of Law, Economy and Finance).

This conference is hosted by the department of Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Public Administration of the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen that specializes on the study of how public law can contribute to public trust in government.

Contact information:

For any information requests or quests, please send your email to blockchain@rug.nl.

You can download the programme here.

Conference fees per person:

Regular: € 175 (limit: 20 tickets)

NILG members: € 75 (limit 60 tickets)

PhD students: € 50 (limit: 20 tickets)

Conference speakers: € 50 (limit: 50 tickets)

Government/Startups: € 125 (limit: 20 tickets)

Academics: € 100 (limit: 20 tickets)

Registration & payment is possible here.

In case of any questions do not hesitate to contact Nynke Kleinenberg-Scheurer, contact person for the Netherlands Institute for Law and Governance, on n.kleinenberg-scheurer@rug.nl.