On November 8-10, 2018, Oxford University's Centre for Technology and Global Affairs – together with Adjoint and B2C2 – hosted the first Workshop on Blockchain and Cryptoassets. The event convened senior regulators, academics, policymakers, and industry leaders to explore pressing policy challenges associated with the development of cryptoassets and other blockchain technologies.
Lucas Kello, Centre Director and Senior Lecturer in International Relations, opened the event with a dinner at Rhodes House, commenting: “Recent technological advances in the blockchain sector have outpaced policy understandings. In view of this situation, expert workshops with a distinguished audience such as this one may contribute significantly to the development of new policy-oriented knowledge – in keeping with the Centre’s mission of fostering an interdisciplinary research environment whose members work at the intersection of technology, industry, and government.”
Notable speakers at the event included, among others, Pēteris Zilgalvis, the European Commission’s Head of Digital Innovation and Blockchain; Zeeshan Feroz, Coinbase UK’s CEO; and Dan Morgan, Ripple’s Head of Regulatory Relations, Europe.
Discussions at the workshop explored topics such as the latest applications of blockchain technology by private enterprises and governments; innovative approaches to blockchain and cryptoasset regulation; security and geopolitical implications of cryptoassets; governance of decentralized platforms; and technical issues related to the security, scalability, and interoperability of blockchain protocols.
Experts broadly agreed that regulators and industry players would benefit from a much closer collaboration among them – especially in efforts to establish clear regulatory frameworks. Currently, a lack of clear standards and best practices for the development and application of blockchain protocols has produced inefficiencies in the new sector. Speakers emphasized the importance of establishing industry-wide governing bodies tasked with developing common standards to facilitate further progress in the sector.
Reflecting on the workshop’s outcome, Mr. Zilgalvis stated: “It was a very interesting event, gathering a diverse group of experts to discuss the policy, legal and technical considerations related to the development of blockchain and crypto assets.”
The Workshop on Blockchain and Cryptoassets was the first in a series of events aimed at creating a sustainable forum of inter-sectoral dialogue to exchange knowledge and share experiences across industries and disciplines. The event was organized by the Centre’s Working Group on Blockchain and Cryptoassets, which synthesizes insights from industry, civil servants, and academic experts to produce new knowledge on a number of major topics – including applications of blockchain technology to industry and governments, the governance challenges of distributed ledgers, and the security and geopolitical implications of cryptoassets.
Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, University of Oxford
The Centre for Technology and Global Affairs at Oxford University is a global research and policy-building initiative focusing on the impact of technology on international relations, government, and society. The Centre serves as a bridge between researchers and the worlds of technology and policymaking. It strives to create new knowledge that influences policymaking in the resolution of pressing policy problems across six technological dimensions: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cyber Issues, Blockchain, Outer Space, and Nuclear Issues. Artur Kluz is Founding Donor of the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs, which is supported by core funding from Kluz Ventures.
Kluz Ventures is a private investment firm passionate about new technologies, investing in sectors that will revolutionize our world and drive future growth. Through a family of sector-specific funds, Kluz Ventures invests in breakthrough and transformative technologies, the Technology of Flight, and medical technologies. Its fund The Next Impact actively invests in blockchain and FinTech, artificial intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity, and augmented reality.