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.