On 31 October 2017 the Open University, together with the HUB4NGI project, organised a webinar – Blockchains as a Component of the Next Generation Internet.

In this webinar, Prof. John Domingue covered the impact of the technology in a wide variety of sectors (including energy, IoT, luxury goods and education), the basic principles and components underlying blockchains, including the use of cryptographic signatures, consensus mechanisms and smart contracts. John also explored the current and future potential for this technology to impact and shape the Next Generation Internet (NGI). In the end of the webinar Prof. John Domingue highlighted the European Union funding opportunities on NGI related Horizon 2020 Calls and an opportunity to meet NGI representatives at the ICT Proposer’s day in Budapest.

During the webinar, feedback and questions were collected from the 80 participants attending (135 registered). Participants were invited to submit their questions before or during the webinar to [email protected]. Prof. Domingue answered the collected questions during the webinar. One of the main questions was on the relationship between blockchain technology and IoT, in particular how blockchains could aid with the scalability of IoT based systems. The answer to this, was that blockchains would allow sensors to communicate directly with each other using Smart Contracts stored on the blockchain. This brings both the scalability inherent in peer-to-peer systems and the ‘intelligence’ layer that smart contracts add.

The webinar presentation is available for download here (pdf), and a video recording of the webinar here.

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Background about blockchains

Blockchains are best known as the technological underpinning for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, highlighted for its potential to revolutionise the financial world. For example, a World Economic Forum survey in 2015 found that those polled believe that there will be a tipping point for the government use of blockchain by 2023 and Santander have predicted savings of up to $20 billion by 2022.

The reach of blockchain technology, however, will go far beyond the financial sector, with pilots and deployed systems already emerging in a wide variety of sectors including: logistics, luxury goods, the Internet of Things, energy, music, education, land registry, social networks, human resources and insurance.

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What are blockchains:

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