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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Thursday, May 17 • 11:00 - 11:25
Beyond the Hype Cycle: What does Blockchain Mean for Human Rights Online?

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Trust in corporations, governments, civil society and the media is in unprecedented crisis globally (see Edelman Trust Barometer: https://www.edelman.com/trust2017/). Citizens have lost faith in institutions, experts, and former gatekeepers of truth. This has worrying implications for democracy and human rights advocates attempting to build more inclusive, open societies.
Distributed ledger technology such as blockchain is being heralded as a potential antidote to corrupt systems: as a mechanism for improving transparency in government; giving people control over their digital identities; eliminating untrustworthy middlemen; and validating facts without need of a central decider of truth. However, the bulk of the energy and vast majority of the investment has been in financial technologies or other corporate applications. New alliances between the private sector, academia and blockchain companies are emerging to fill this gap and apply the power of distributed ledger technology to these critical social problems. As one example, the Blockchain Trust Accelerator, a multi-stakeholder collaboration led by the New America Foundation, BitFury, and NDI, is attempting to bring together international civil society with blockchain-based businesses to research, pilot and scale blockchain for social impact pilots. Harvard University’s Berkman Center is similarly working to apply emerging blockchain technologies to bootstrap improvements to democracy. The panelists hope to foster a conversation in the RightsCon community on who is or would like to be using blockchain for human rights and democratic advocacy - and how.
In particular, the discussion would include:
- Information on current pilot projects and lessons learned from the Blockchain Trust Accelerator
- Open sharing of other blockchain initiatives, in whatever phase
- Discussion of the ways in which blockchain can - and won’t - be useful to the RightsCon community
- Ways the Blockchain Trust Accelerator or academic institutions like the Harvard Berkman Center may be able to assist social good-focused organizations

avatar for Chris Doten

Chris Doten

Chief Innovation Officer, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Super interested in global politics and tech - how do you help individuals organize for more democratic societies, and how do you help political institutions keep up with their people as they get swamped by the tech tsunami? Lead for DemTools initiative (https://dem.tools) designed... Read More →


Thursday May 17, 2018 11:00 - 11:25 EDT
Village Main Stage