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Hot topics in Blockchain and Web3

This text has been published in Blockchain Technology Report, Vienna Business Agency, 2020.

Since the creation of Bitcoin as the first blockchain, many established industry sectors have made use of this technology to various degrees. The main trend of blockchain use lies in the finance sector, with examples such as the development of Facebook’s Libra with the concept of DeFi (decentralized finance) and the Open Finance movement. RIAT Institute for Future Cryptoeconomics has identified the main trends and the following key issues for 2020 and subsequent years.

An initial representation of the Web 3.0 Source: Ethereum Foundation Blog, 18 August 2014

Data sovereignty

Data sovereignty refers to the greatest possible control and command of one’s own data. This concept, also known as “digital sovereignty”, involves being able to handle one’s personal data in a self-determined way. Web3 enables its developers and users to achieve data sovereignty, as well as enabling companies to process personal data in compliance with the GDPR. Topics within this trend include digital identity (self-sovereign identity) and data marketplaces. In the context of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) and the Foundation for Data
Protection in Germany warn against COVID-19 tracing apps 17. The debate around PEPP-PT and DP3T 18 technologies has significantly increased public awareness of data sovereignty in the health sector.

IoT and Blockchain

The Internet of Things has been a trending topic for many years, but it has so far failed to achieve broad distribution. The IoT connects people, places and products and opens up new possibilities for added value. Blockchain could provide the breakthrough moment for the Internet of Things, especially when machines are considered to be their own economic agents. Topics within this trend include open source hardware, machine agency and NFT (Non-Fungible Token).

Fractional ownership

Fractional ownership refers to the option of distributing risks and separating resources from assets such as land or artworks. Although the term has been around for some time, it is only recently that this method has been used in the context of blockchain – predominately in the real estate sector, but increasingly in the areas of art and luxury goods as well. Decentralized governance also allows for possibilities such as distributed resource management. Democratic processes can be applied to these shared resources by means of e-voting. The decentralized method provides a means of managing common property (commons). Sub-topics include decentral autonomous ownership and smart commons.