The Blockchain: What’s All the Fuzz About?

On Thursday evening the 25th of February FIBER and de Brakke Grond proudly present: Michel Bauwens & the Promise of the Blockchain. Recently the blockchain has received a lot of media attention: From critical reports on the current state of the Bitcoin, to artists publishing their music via blockchain technologies, and a consortium of banks developing their own platform. The blockchain is ‘hot’, but what exactly makes the technology interesting?

As the blockchain is increasingly applied in other fields next to the bitcoin, the technology promises to offer a solution to failing digital systems (financial, privacy). But the blockchain and its workings is layered and therefore quite abstract to understand. So we’ve set up a programme to get a grip on this phenomenon. What are the promises of the blockchain, and what impact do future applications have for the arts and social change. The main goal is to get insight in how the blockchain works and have a critical discussion: Is this technology really a prodigious solution, or should we categorize it as another example of technological ‘solutionsm’? Flemish p2p philosopher Michel Bauwens sets the stage and challenges blockchain experts Vinay Gupta, Primavera de Filippi, and Jaromil to elaborate on the various promises and pitfalls surrounding the blockchain. Our moderator Michelle Kasprzak has the talent to unravel complex issues and make them accessible for a broad audience. As such, she will start the evening with a blockchain crash course to get everyone on the same page.

Why is this interesting?
The blockchain has many things to offer for artists as well as ICT developers. It offer new forms of governance to alternative models of distribution that alter customer-producer relationships. For artist Imogen Heap the blockchain offers alternative forms of protecting intellectual property. is a start up that offer new ways to distribute digital work via the blockchain. At the same time it can also be used for new models of governance, collaboration, or equity crowdfunding. At Michel Bauwens & the Promise of the Blockchain we’ll present various critical perspectives which will enable you to discuss, with a nice Belgium beer in hand, if the fuzz was justified.

The event is interesting for people with various backgrounds. As the speakers will cover topics like smart contract, new forms of governance and alternative value systems ao. the programme is interesting for a broad audience. special attention however goes out to designers, policymakers, software developers, archive experts, ICT, creative coders, technology enthusiasts and critical theorists.

In the following days we will publish various articles and background sources to get you started. So watch our algorithmically moderated timelines to get an insight in what’s up ahead. For the people who already got the head start there is an expert meeting prior to the evening programme. For more information on that follow this link.

Photo credit: PWR Studio, part of V2_’s Data in the 21st Century.