Blockchain technology currently represents a great opportunity for e-government in general and for public procurement in particular, given their financial implications and potential political and social risks. Blockchain technology facilitates the procedures and processes of administrative records via smart contracts because of properties such as timeproof sealing and data record immutability. In the present paper, we present a truthfulness governance approach which uses a permissioned model based on neural blockchain technology and smart contracts to create blocks within which all information is held in an on-chain consensus system to avoid corruption in the field of public procurement. Our proposal represents a scalable, efficient, innovative solution that is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal requirements and constitutes a ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organization’ in itself. Our model highlights the benefits of blockchain technology in terms of transparency, immutability, security, inclusiveness and disintermediation in order to create new anticorruption policies and technical solutions.
Today blockchain technology provides us with a formidable tool in the struggle to trace economic resources, especially in the context of the circular economy. The circular economy has been proposed as a key element in the transformation of production models in the context of European post–covid-19 recovery plans with particular reference to the Next Generation EU instrument. It is also a fundamental part of the European Green Deal. All of which comes under the umbrella of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. The circular economy lays the foundations for the promotion of a new production and consumption model in which the value of products, materials, and resources remains within the economy for as long as possible, minimizing the generation of waste. This gives rise to a series of processes in which resource traceability is a key factor in preserving process integrity and guaranteeing process authenticity to the State, citizens, and companies. In this context, blockchain technology can provide solutions that are aligned with the 2030 Agenda. This technology facilitates the procedures and processes of logistics and of IoT sensor records via smart contracts through intrinsic properties that include timeproof sealing and data record immutability. In the present chapter, we describe the technological advantages that blockchain technology offers the circular economy. Sustainability is the cornerstone of blockchain models within the framework of the 2030 Agenda, so energy pollution in transactions or mining should be avoided. If we are able to overcome current environmental deterrents, distributed ledger technologies should represent a powerful tool in circular economy projects. In this chapter, we would hope to contribute to the debate on future paths towards sustainability. Specifically, we will describe how Blockchain as a Service-based traceability platform could be introduced into the circular economy while guaranteeing their straightforward but highly effective deployment in, for instance, the agrifood sector, at only minimal cost to SMEs. The underlying idea is based on finding blockchain solutions aligned with Sustainable Development Goals in order to ensure that the principal objectives and philosophy of the circular economy are upheld.
The evolution of Distributed Ledger Technologies since the first blockchain constitutes an opportunity for digital transformation in many social and economic contexts. This transformation will become even more intense in the post–covid-19 economic scenario. One of the most significant changes in the transformation consumers have undergone in their perception of the environment and of the sustainability of our societies. The circular economy is an agent of change that helps minimize humankind’s impact on the planet. And this change must be aligned with the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda. Since its inception, blockchain technology has represented an opportunity for transparency, immutability, and persistence in the processes in which it intervenes, allowing it to be incorporated into easily traceable, disintermediated networks. By implication, this suggests we can move towards a verifiable, reliable, circular economy. In this chapter we cover the fundamentals of blockchain technology including its history, the elements that define distributed ledger technologies, and how they have evolved into their most recent forms—e.g., Hashgraph, Direct Acyclic Graphs, Holochain or Neural Distributed Ledgers—which represent scalable, efficient, innovative solutions aligned with sustainability goals and facilitating the efficient, sustainable management of circular economy projects. Finally, drawing on striking use cases in Spain, we describe the use of blockchain technology in circular economy projects, and its operating status, as examples of ideas for the future development of models that may reach the market.
The BlockLab of the University of Granada was born within the framework of a cooperative, transformative and evolutionary project from MediaLab UGR – Research Laboratory for Culture and Digital Society, belonging to the Vice-Rector’s Office for Institutional Policy and Planning, and the MYDASS research group (Modeling and Development of Advanced Software Systems) of the Department of Computer Languages and Systems of the Higher Technical School of Computer Engineering and Telecommunications (ETSIIT) of the University of Granada.
In order to promote the launch of the Alastria Consortium Node (alastria.io), working with Hyperledger Fabric networks (and BESU) of our university, we make available to the university community, and society in general, a space for meeting, research, experimentation and innovation in which to explore the new frontiers of the digital shifting.
Also, we have access to the first existing Neural Distributed Ledger, a 4th generation blockchain. In the BlockLab we will launch a RETIS node as a testnet in collaboration with ByEvolution, the company that has developed this disruptive DLT.
1. Why the BlockLab of the MediaLab?
BlockLab is the UGR meeting point for any person, company or entity interested in the innovative potential of distributed ledger technologies; and especially, in its cultural, social and economic implications. Its setting within Medialab UGR (https://medialab.ugr.es/) responds to the transversal potential of this space in the university and in society from its conception of an open social laboratory for learning, research and experimentation around to the impact that digital technologies have on culture, economy, and on society as a whole. From these key points, there is already extensive experience in the development of co-creative innovation processes in various fields, including setting an example through initiatives such as Laboratory 717 – Laboratory of participation and democratic innovation in Andalusia (https: / /laboratorio717.org) or LabIN Granada – Granada Citizen Innovation Laboratory (https://labingranada.org). We also encourage the international cooperation within the academy and the companies.
BlockLab is organized as a laboratory of ideas, experimentation and exchange of projects, based on the philosophy of blockchain and ethical hacking; with two fundamental axes to develop changes in society: Cooperation and (co)creation.
Its main objective is to become a repository of information, experiences, code and training to create a Hub that fosters the creation of blockchain-based solutions in order to both provide innovative solutions to traditional problems and anticipate and respond to new challenges resulting from the interaction of the multiple technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
In line with what we do at MediaLab UGR, special emphasis will be placed on the development of new democratic formats, citizen participation and innovation, from a multidisciplinary and disruptive perspective.
All the projects and formats that are born within this framework of action will be aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and their 169 Goals, of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
2. Who can participate?
The BlockLab is not conceived as a professional forum, but as a physical and virtual meeting space for social innovators, disruptive minds and people dedicated to the world of research and the professional world as well as citizens, who share the interest of, from multiple perspectives and disciplines of knowledge, develop projects that use this technology as a vector to solve specific governance problems, improving processes and drawing new forms of organization. In short, the aim is to contribute to designing a disintermediated society based on the trust of its members in those areas that are critically determined.
Amongst the blocklabers are:
- People who contribute technological knowledge, both in the conceptualization of the technology itself and in the code that develops it; especially to develop an own community that spreads the training in the languages of the technologies of distributed registry (DLTs).
- Communities of professionals who want to expand their knowledge about these technologies and their application in their environments; especially the Spin-Offs and Start-Ups.
- People who are social leaders and want to help transform the old schemas of processes and participation of our democracies and systems of governance in organizations.
- People anxious to learn and / or transmit knowledge about these technologies to improve our society.
- People interested in developing a new ethic, ethical hacking for machines and algorithms with the help of blockchain.
3. What projects and activities do we develop at BlockLab?
As a cooperative and cocreative community we will set the limits between all the blocklabers, but by way of illustration we propose:
- Specific training on certain technologies, processes or programming languages in the field of blockchain.
- Development of an ethical hacking structure in relation to the possibilities offered by the blockchain.
- Organization of debates, workshops and seminars, either of general dissemination and / or academic to deepen the challenges that the decentralization of our society entails.
- Evaluation, design and testing of technologies in our Alastria Node or in those spaces that we help to create.
- Collaborative prototyping on new processes and strategies on how to achieve ethical systems of disintermediation for society that improve the democratic quality of our organizations.
En cooperación con la empresa ByEvolution estamos desarrollando una aplicación descentralizada dentro de la red de Blockchain RETIS, llamada VoteKeeper para facilitar los procesos democráticos en entornos locales, con el fin de garantizar su anonimización, seguridad, incorruptibilidad de los datos y un sellado de tiempo eficaz.
Para ello se utilizará una dApp desde la que se podrá votar con un smarphone o tablet, o con una solución front end, desde la web municipal.
En este proyecto colabora el MediaLab de la UGR y el Grupo de Investigación MYDASS de la misma universidad de la ETSIIT.
Currently Distributed Ledger Technologies-DLTs, and especially the Blockchain technology, are an excellent opportunity for public institutions to transform the channels of citizen participation and reinvigorate democratic processes. These technologies permit the simplification of processes and make it possible to safely and securely manage the data stored in its records. This guarantees the transmission and public transparency of information, and thus leads to the development of a new citizen governance model by using technology such as a BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) platform. G-Cloud solutions would facilitate a faster deployment in the cities and provide scalability to foster the creation of Smart Citizens within the philosophy of Open Government. The development of an eParticipation model that can configure a tokenizable system of the actions and processes that citizens currently exercise in democratic environments is an opportunity to guarantee greater participation and thus manage more effective local democratic spaces. Therefore, a Blockchain solution in eDemocracy platforms is an exciting new opportunity to claim a new pattern of management amongst the agents that participate in the public sphere.