Blockchain has immense potential to change our society

Blockchain and Society

These are the insights shared by experts at Polaris Odyssey

Blockchain has opened up a wealth of possibilities to accelerate collaboration and share information in a secure way. Undoubtedly, it also impacts our work here at Visma Connect. We advise clients on when to use blockchain applications. In addition, we design, develop and maintain them. Part of our task involves keeping our knowledge on the subject up to date, as this field is constantly changing. That is why we are a member of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition and Odyssey - an organization that wants to promote the adoption of blockchain in the Netherlands and abroad. Odyssey organized Polaris on November 7. It was a very successful event that took place near our home base in The Hague. We were thrilled to attend and learn about what others in the industry are doing. The event featured great speakers like MIT lecturer Otto Scharmer and Marijn Fraanje (CIO of the City of The Hague). Here are some of the insights we gained.


Blockchain is much more than a technology

This was a recurring theme at the event. You can look at Blockchain as a technology that cuts out intermediaries and increases efficiency and security by enabling peer to peer exchange. But it’s much more than that. Blockchain has the potential to change society in a fundamental way. Complex issues like climate change and poverty cannot be solved by a single entity. They require mass collaboration. Blockchain can bring different parties together and offers a powerful means to implement new solutions to old problems. This brings us to the second learning.

How do we facilitate cooperation through Blockchain?

Today, we see discussions about Blockchain centering on adoption, rather than the technology itself. Blockchain is cool, but you need an ecosystem of parties to adopt it. When are the conditions right and what are the best use cases to start with?

Self-sovereign identity (SSI) is gaining traction as a use case

One of the primary use cases for blockchain is digital identity, and self-sovereign identity in particular. Identities are currently organized in silos, we typically have one for each online service we use. If someone has access to our email, they can “own” our identity. Alternatively, we could rely on Facebook or Google’s ID service. These types of “federated identities” have their advantages, but in the end, the service provider (in this case Facebook or Google) has control over your data. Self-sovereign identity puts the person back in control. With blockchain, SSI can become more efficient in verifying and issuing credentials. SSI will be a new track in Polaris’ 2020 hackathon. We look forward to participating!

Making Blockchain inclusive


Last but certainly not least, there was a lot of discussion about inclusiveness at the Polaris event. Technology should not be a problem for certain people, but a solution for everyone. How can we get everyone up to speed? This will be a challenge for blockchain professionals and organizations that embrace the technology.

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Event images by: Rutger van Zuidam.