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Start-ups showcase how smart and sustainable cities can integrate blockchain technologies

How can blockchain technology help to capitalize on the opportunities of smart cities for sustainable development?

Aiming to harness this potential, start-ups from ten countries congregated in the Palais des Nations this week as part of the 25th Session of the UN/CEFACT Plenary, coinciding with UNECE’s Day of Cities – which gathered over 50 Mayors from across the region – and the 68th Commission session of UNECE.

At a Start-ups side event on 8 April, 12 start-ups chosen by Slovenian Ecosystem, CryptoValley (CVVC) and European BlockTech Federation,  presented their projects and ideas on how they could use blockchain to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly in cities, which are leading hubs of innovation and connectivity. This highlighted the in-depth understanding by start-ups and blockchain experts of the legal and regulatory challenges linked to the use of this innovative technology. Moreover, the start-ups are proving to be very capable in managing the multi-party and pre-competitive collaboration needed to bring distributed and commonly shared blockchain applications to life.

Blockchain is the most talked-about technology for tomorrow, certainly with regard to security and trust in electronic exchanges. Countries like Slovenia, together with Baltic countries and inter-governmental bodies like UN/CEFACT, are very active in supporting projects that are aimed at delivering full trust and semantic interoperability in paperless trade systems. The growing maturity of the blockchain ecosystem will help viable start-ups to acquire capital for growth and gain credibility with decision makers. This being the case, it can be expected to see some significant blockchain application breakthroughs in the next few years.

It also became clear that there is strong alignment with most, if not all, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By tapping into real needs (many of which are similar all over the world) blockchain projects are helping to provide self-sovereign identities, establishing good quality land titles, food traceability, peer to peer markets in energy, fair and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-compliant use of citizen data to create new value, seamless smart city services in public transport. Moreover, it was evident that many start up projects are vectored towards more common and balanced ownership by citizens and other stakeholders and enhancement of common decision-making processes pertaining to commonly owned assets.

The start-ups where also present among the exhibition on “Smart Sustainable Cities: Drivers for Sustainable Development” organized by UNECE on 8-9 April at the Palais des Nations. The exhibition gave the start-ups an opportunity to showcase their projects, featuring demos and prototypes, to the participants of the 68th Commission Session of UNECE.  

The following start-ups were present in the events:

Caelum Labs: caelumlabs.com

City Pulse Protocole: www.arsla.org/protocole-pulse

Civis Blockchain: civis-blockchain.github.io

Communia: communia.io

DataFund, FairData: datafund.io

Dezentrum: www.dezentrum.ch

Fetch Blockchain: fetchblockchain.co.uk

HashNET: www.hashnest.com

Nomoko: nomoko.world 

OriginTrail: origintrail.io

SunContract: suncontract.org

Urban mobility (AJV): vmc.ai