On 20 March 2017, Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp received the action agenda of the National Blockchain Coalition. The agenda is a joint initiative of over 20 organizations active in the logistics, energy and financial sectors, as well as governments and research institutes - Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) being one of them. With this initiative, the Netherlands aims to be an international leader in the application of blockchain technology.
Working safe and efficiently in a large network
Blockchain technology makes it possible to perform digital transactions that are guaranteed accurate – without the intervention of a third party. In this way, large networks of suppliers and customers can work together more securely, efficiently and self-sufficiently. The founding partners of the National Blockchain Coalition anticipate that it will have a huge impact on energy, financial services, logistics and ultimately healthcare. The coalition foresees positive effects on the autonomy of citizens, transparency of operations and cyber security, as well as reduced administrative burdens.
"Blockchain technology promises the secure delivery of digital information," says Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp. "It's good news that Dutch companies, knowledge institutions and authorities are already gaining early experience with the capabilities of this new technology. It will make digital payments and data exchange easier and safer in many ways. By keeping the Netherlands at the forefront of the application of innovative technologies, our knowledge base remains progressive and world-class. That creates jobs and income."
Although the National Blockchain Coalition expects wide-ranging, rapid change, similar to the advent of the Internet, René Penning de Vries, spokesperson for Team ICT, stresses that much remains to be done before the technology is ready for widespread use. "Development and implementation of blockchain technology demands a coordinated approach to challenges by parties in many sectors," he says. "If the Netherlands seizes the available opportunities at this pioneering stage, we can become a world leader in blockchain technology."
Lines of action
The action agenda primarily focuses on the development of so-called digital identities, so that persons, properties and legal entities can conduct digital transactions as part of a blockchain. In addition, the coalition is working on solutions in the areas of legislation and acceptance. For knowledge development, there are agreements on training, knowledge sharing and skill building.
Public-private knowledge sharing
National Blockchain Coalition is a partnership of governmental bodies and companies. Partners include ABN AMRO, ING, Volksbank, Nationale Nederlanden, Rotterdam Port Authority, Enexis, Alliander, the Dutch Royal Notarial Association, Brightlands and the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure and the Environment, Security and Justice, and Interior and Kingdom Relations. On the knowledge side they are joined by TU Delft, Tilburg University, Radboud University, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) - the national research institute for mathematics and computer science), NWO and TNO join. The social perspective is added by ECP | Platform voor de InformatieSamenleving (Platform for the Information Society).
One of the founding coalition partners is ABN AMRO. Its Innovation Center head Arjan van Os says of the importance of knowledge sharing, "Blockchain plays an important role in further strengthening confidence in the world of digital transactions. This technology will have a positive effect on the efficiency of organizations operating within the financial sector."
The formation of the National Blockchain Coalition is an initiative of the ICT Team set up by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and is one of the actions in the government’s Digital Agenda which aims to accelerate the digitization of the Dutch economy.
For more information about the coalition and a list of participating partners, see https://www.dutchdigitaldelta.nl/blockchain
More about Blockchain technology
Blockchain is a new technology for the secure exchange of digital data and payments. Abuse is difficult, because each transaction is controlled by a plurality of computers, and is completely transparent, without the intervention of a third party.
Text: the National Blockchain Coalition/ECP. Translation: JS/CWI.