ITU hosts blockchain summit: Denmark can become a frontrunner

Several Danish companies are discovering the potential of blockchain, and Denmark has the potential to become a leading player in the development of the promising technology, according to Professor Roman Beck from the IT University of Copenhagen. On August 18, ITU will host the first Nordic blockchain summit.

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On Thursday, August 18, international blockchain experts, researchers, students and companies are coming together at ITU to discuss the much-hyped blockchain technology.

Professor Roman Beck believes that Denmark is particularly well positioned to reap the benefits of blockchain and has organised Nordic Blockchain Summit to raise awareness of its potential among companies as well as policy makers.

"Right now there is no particular company or nation that is steering the innovation of blockchain - it is not driven by Silicon Valley or companies like Microsoft or Google. This creates a great opportunity for countries like Denmark. We have strong world-class companies here that would like to get involved, the public sector is among the most innovative in the world, and digitalization has been on the political agenda for a long time. This means that Denmark can become an important player when it comes to defining the standards of blockchain solutions that will be around for decades to come. Blockchain is going to change a lot of things in the coming years, and it's better to be among those that are driving the changes, than to be run over by them," says Roman Beck.

Hands-on understanding
The Nordic Blockchain Summit marks the end of the Blockchain Summer School, where 36 students will develop blockchain solutions for six specific use-cases in cooperation with Maersk, Nordea and SKAT, the Danish tax authority. At the summit, the best groups will present their cases. In addition, participants will meet a number of prominent blockchain experts, including Henning Diedrich and Vinay Gupta. Finally, companies that are already experimenting with the technology will share their experiences.

"This will not be a theoretical, abstract discussion. Here you will meet companies who will talk about their experiences with blockchain. I hope that people will leave ITU with a better, more hands-on understanding of blockchain and how it can change their industry and society."

Transparent transactions
Blockchain is predicted to revolutionize business processes in a range of industries, from the financial to the public sector, by making transfers of money, goods and information transparent and non-manipulatable, which ultimately removes in parts the need of trust in transactions. So far, the technology is best known for supporting the electronic currency Bitcoin, but the second generation of the technology, including the one-year-old Ethereum platform, opens up for a wealth of other uses.

"The Ethereum blockchain makes it possible to formulate virtually any type of contract in code. The fact that the contract is written in code and not on a piece of paper means that you can be certain that the contract will be fulfilled exactly as it has been encoded in the blockchain," says Roman Beck.

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There is a window of opportunity here, but it requires that you develop an awareness of what we are talking about – and the technology is indeed a bit complicated to understand – and based on that, make a decision about what needs to be done next.

Roman Beck, Professor at ITU.
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This makes the technology particularly suitable for transactions between partners who do not know each other well.

Far-reaching potential
Roman Beck believes that blockchain will initially reduce transaction costs, for example in the financial sector, but that it has a much wider potential in the longer term.

"In the beginning, the applications of blockchain give us solutions that are less expensive than current systems, without changing anything on the surface – it will still be the same service. Only in the next round will we see new types of services, but we do not know yet what they will be," he says.

"There is a window of opportunity here, but it requires that you develop an awareness of what we are talking about – and the technology is indeed a bit complicated to understand – and based on that, make a decision about what needs to be done next. And it requires that we come together across industries and disciplines."

Further information

Roman Beck, Professor, email romb@itu.dk

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk