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Blockchain Summit CeBIT 2017

At the second day of CeBIT 2017 the first “CeBIT Blockchain Summit” took place. The full day, fee-based, event was very well visited (around 140 tickets sold according to the organisers) and the structure of the international audience varied: some visitors were quite well experienced, others still seeking for a first base understanding what blockchain makes so powerful. It is somehow logical that this diverse knowledge level among the audience members must have been a challenge for the organisers to find the right setup for the summit.

To my mind for the future there is some room for improvement when it comes to a proper structure. It would be beneficial to divide the event into some logical segments like “basics”, “technology” and “business” or so. But besides this the summit was a success. The CeBIT team provided a nice speaker lineup with great talks (among others: Meinhard Benn from Satoshi Pay, Sven Laepple from Astratum or Fabian Vogelsteller from Ethereum), the feedback from the visitors was impressive. I look forward how this format will be developed at CeBIT.

Talking of CeBIT development: on the day following the summit Oliver Frese, head of CeBIT, announced a radically changed CeBIT concept from 2018 onwards: a mixture of business, conference and festival – no longer in March, but in June. Please see the official announcement here. It will be interesting to witness, how this new concept evolves. And what roll blockchain technology will play.

Attached you find some impressions from the summit as well as from the press announcement for CeBIT2018. Last not least there is a link to my CeBIT Blockchain Summit 2017 presentation “Blockchain in Business: Technology Overview and Current Projects.” on Slideshare.




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Blockchain activities in Hamburg

Since a couple of weeks “Der Medienlotse” Jan C. Rode reports about blockchain related activities in Hamburg. In his actual article (in German language) Jan provides – besides information about startups and research activities – all blockchain interested people a helpful overview on events related to blockchain in Hamburg.


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New opportunities for the energy sector

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise the energy system.” Using this quote from Süddeutsche Zeitung the Germany Energy Agency dena invited to participate at the dialogue forum “Blockchain – new opportunities for the energy market” to Berlin´s Novotel on the 1st of March 2017.  Almost one hundred guests followed this invitation and experienced a day full of information as well as interesting discussions around blockchain technologies.

After some welcome words by  Andreas Kuhlmann, Chairman of the dena executive board, and by Dr. Wolfgang Langen from BMWi,  Philipp Richard, project director at dena, explained about the agenda of the day and how this dialogue forum fits into the dgitization projects of dena.

Afterwards I had the pleasure to hold some introduction presentation to blockchain (please find the link to the presentation below). A brief Q+A session next to my presentation was a good indicator that a reasonable share of the participants already had digged into the “blockchain space”.

Following there was an interesting panel discussion among a couple of energy market experts. Tobias Frederico from Energy Brainpool brought a distinctive  aspect into play: “Blockchain can make the energy transition more reliable.” And Kirsten Hasberg, Co-Founder of StromDAO.de, made an interesting comparism between early promotors of Renewable Energy and Blockchain.

Christoph Burger, Senior Lecturer / Senior Associate Dean of Executive Education ESMT Berlin, was next with his talk about “Business fields for blockchain in the energy sector”. Clear statement: the focus for the development of blockchain-based applications should be on process optimization and on platforms.

Before the coffee break a workshop part was conducted – divided into three groups: technology and efficiency, data protection and data security as well as standards, interfaces and regulation. The interesting discussions held there made it obvious, how complex the challenges in the energy sector are – especially when it comes to the usage of new technology concepts like blockchain.

The final presentation was held by  Prof. Dr. Strüker, professor for energy management at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt. He concentrated on what concretely needs to be done now to come from the idea to a real implementation. E.g. I found his statement that we are  on the way into a realtime energy economy remarkable.

Phillip Richard, Project Lead Energy Systems and Energy Services at dena, about the dialogue forum “Blockchain – new opportunities for the energy market”:

„It is important to understand the key characteristics of digitization in order to seize its opportunities and to handle its risks. Among its key characteristics are e.g. extremely high amounts of data that are being exchanged at an increasing pace; the possibility of data scaling and an increasingly accurate identification of target groups; aspirations for transparency and sharing; multiple use of data sets for different purposes. The vision of blockchain addresses these key characteristics in a unique way and offers the potential for solutions both for upcoming questions concerning digitization in general and for the issues of data security and data protection in particular. On its way to concrete solutions and applications the blockchain technology has yet to confirm its ambitious targets. Trust in this technology has to build up slowly and the efficiency of the technology will have to increase significantly in the coming years.”

Please find additional information on the event on the dena website (german only).

dena dialogue forum fb
from Frank Bolten

Copyright pictures: Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) and own pictures

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High dynamics during the kickoff for the Hamburg “Digital Hub Logistics”

On the 22nd of February the Hamburg Authority for Economics, Infrastructure and Innovation (BWVI) hosted a “Digital Hub Logistics” kickoff event for the stakeholders, which are closely related to the city government.  Around 40 guests from associations, universities and further institutions were invited. At first the State Council Dr. Bösinger from the BMVI and Prof. Dr. Witten, Chairman of the “Logistik-Initiative Hamburg e.V.” underlined the importance of the hub concept for the metropolitan area Hamburg. After that Dr. Bühler (Managing Director Bitkom e.V.) and Dr. Mellwig, department manageress at the BWVI, presented the generell status of the hub concept and the first thoughts on the Hamburg “Digital Hub Logistics”.

As a logical transfer of the successfully established “Next Media Accelerator” the following presentation was covering the idea of a “Next Logistics Accelerator”.  First discussions with potential partners for that new accelerator have already started. The presentation part was concluded by four companies / startups, which presented their intentions and reasons, why they are interested to make use of the “Digital Hub Logistics”. I had the opportunity to be among that presenters and explained about a startup we are planning to setup in Hamburg.

In the second part of the kickoff we conducted a Design Thinking process, which had been well prepared and led by Prof. Dr. Hörbig from the Hamburg School of Business Administration. By this process we drafted significant requirements and ideas concerning communication, location, financing and networking. This kickoff was a promising start for the according to my judgement important “Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg”. Over the next couple of weeks there will be further events with the target to secure  a successful establishment of the Digital Hub. With the high dynamics the kickoff was  a really good start to achieve that goal.


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Blockchain @Bitkom

Four months after the “Bitkom Blockchain day” took place a meeting of the Bitkom Project Group Blockchain was held. Obviously there is high interest on blockchain – the event was very well visited. The meeting was structured as a workshop. After busy sessions three moderated groups on “legal”, “technology” and “business” presented their working groups results – I had the pleasure to represent the business group.

There was consensus among all groups: the blockchain technology has to be understood as a base technology, bears enormous potential, but a number of challenges as well. It was common sense that Bitkom should a establish a separate official “Work Group Blockchain”. This recommendation will now be discussed and decided following the regular processes of Bitkom. As a further measure it was suggested to establish blockchain competence and knowledge transfer in so-called “Digital Hubs”, which are currently under establishment in several areas in Germany.

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Hamburg as an important location for “real life” blockchain applications

Some days ago Jan C. Rode published a blog post titled “Blockchain rüttelt Hamburgs Wirtschaft auf” (blockchain brisks up Hamburg economy) on Nextmedia-Hamburg.de. After I posted the article on the social networks LinkedIn and Xing with the comment “Hamburg has the potential to become an important location for “real life” blockchain applications” an interesting discussion started in my network. Topic:

Is there any chance for a blockchain startup scene to survive in Hamburg in competition with Berlin?

My vote: a clear “yes”. And this would be good – for Hamburg, for the development of blockchain applications in Germany and for Berlin as well.

Good for Hamburg

The Hamburg startup scene still has some room for improvement and especially the blockchain technology has the potential to bring massive chances to a lot of industries. Hamburg would be winning, if plenty of startups with blockchain competencies in different industries would be formed and collaborate with experts from different branches.

Good for the development of blockchain applications

A critical success factor for emerging technologies is the operationality in the real economy. For blockchain that is the case as well. Hamburg is a stronghold for eCommerce, Media, Renewable Energies, Aviation and – most of all – for the Maritime Economics and for Port Logistics. In all these areas there have been already first developments of very interesting business model approaches deploying blockchain technology at several places on the world. To utilise the groundbreaking developments for the German economy in a successful manner a close collaboration among established branch experts and technology experts out of specialised startup companies is an important factor. In Hamburg there is a good basis for this, i.e. is the newly set up “logistics hub” out of the hub-strategy of the Federal Ministry for Energy and Economics (BMWi) is very well suitable for that kind of approach.

Good for Berlin

Over the last years a fascinating startup scene developed in Berlin. Innovation, creativity and “disruptive power” can be felt almost everywhere. Such centres outside Silicon Valley are important and Germany can be happy to have with Berlin one of the most important startup centres for digital economy. But: the centres of the federal state Germany for the different industries are not located in Berlin, they are spread to different places of the country. There is a need to develop the digital transformation in and with this centres. It is said that the blockchain technology has the potential to change the way we live together and how business and work is organised just like it happened with  the rise of the internet over the last years. Therefore it is necessary that the established economy understands the potential of the technology and has a decisive role when it comes to the formation of the future. Berlin can only win, when the digital transformation is done in close and good collaboration with the economic centres of the country.

Hamburg is one of the most important centres of Germany and has in addition very good travel connections to/with Berlin. It is easy and comfortable to commute between the two metropoles und to make use of the benefits of the two cities. In my eyes the major advantage of Hamburg lies in the fact that in the branches, which are located in Hamburg, “real life” blockchain applications are developed. Jan C. Rode listed a couple of promising Hamburg blockchain projects in his article. It can be expected that this is only the beginning of a promising and important development.


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Expert talk “use cases for blockchain technology”

Some days before Christmas “Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)” invited to hold an expert talk about “use cases for blockchain technology” on behalf of the Bundeswirtschaftsministerium BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy). The meeting was well organised by Matthias Kuom (DLR) and had the main purpose to discuss the innovation potential of blockchain technology among a small number of experts from academics and business on the one side and a couple of members from BMWi and DLR on the other side. The accountable department from BMWi uses that kind of event formats during the opinion-building process when the necessary steps shall be defined to foster the development of attractive ICT solutions for the national economy , especially for the German “Mittelstand”.

As a start I was asked to hold a 15 minutes presentation on blockchain (you find the presentation below), after that each out of our expert group of seven had the opportunity to comment on three mayor topics: “state of play”, “disruptive potential” and “the role of the government”. The further participating experts were (in alphabetical order):

Raimund Gross (Innovation Manager Blockchain from the  SAP Innovation Center Network)
Prof. Wolfgang Prinz (Vice Chair Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT)
Philipp Richard, Project Director at the “Deutsche-Energie-Agentur GmbH” (Dena)
Stefan Teis (SVP, Group Product & Business Development,  Deutsche Börse AG and Member of the Governing Board of the Hyperledger Projekts)
Stephan Zimprich (Partner at the law firm Fieldfisher and head of the competence group blockchain at the eco association)

In a closing discussion round some additional experts played an active role. With Kirsten Hasberg, energy expert BlockchainHub Berlin, gave very interesting insights into blockchain based projects in the market for renewable energies. Another expert was Dr. Martin Holland, who is a member of the management board of PROSTEP AG and the responsible coordinator of the interesting project SAMPL (Secure Additive Manufacturing Platform), which you can find here.

During my business life I happened to attend a couple of events with the target to convey the standpoints of academics and business to responsible persons from the government. The expert talk “use cases for blockchain technology” for me was an outstanding event. The chosen format (brief introduction presentation as a start, afterwards a round of questions to well chosen experts following a clear framework and finishing with a discussion round) was well fitting the complexity of blockchain. And our “target audience” – the members from BMWi and DLR – were well prepared and put intelligent questions what led to good and intensive discussions.

For sure there will be further events “politics meets blockchain”. The many-layered aspects of the blockchain technology bear enormous potential, where politics can, and probably here and there must, play an important role – either when we look at regulations challenges or when we look at the gonvernment as a user.