Blockchain Technology has come home to roost in Moldova. Around the world some of hottest topics in banking, insurance, government and most sectors involves the words “Blockchain” or “Distributed Ledger”. Over a billion dollars has been invested in blockchain projects, making it one of the most interesting trends of our time. Without getting into details, blockchain technology brings unprecedented levels of transparency, immutable and security of data and systems. On Tuesday, 10th January 2017, at IT4BA, ASEM, Moldova’s first Blockchain Laboratory was unveiled. It will study the possible benefits and use cases of the technology, and will afford opportunities to students and non students for internships where they will gain knowledge and work experience in this exciting new field. Internships will offered in projects from international players in this space, with a view to mentor and train interns, potentially leading to employment in Moldova. Workspaces for these purposes are to be obtained via IT4BA. The launch of the Blockchain Laboratory was formal and non-technical to introduce the gathered audience to the technology and the opportunities. There will be ongoing effort to generate further interest around future developments and to determine the appetite for this initiative among students. This is a bold move by IT4BA and Asem, and they are showing their willingness to be the pioneers in Moldova for Blockchain Technology. Students interested in internships must submit their applications at IT4BA at Block B, office 817 Asem University ATT: Dr. Sergiu Tutunaru More information will be provided on www.dtmoldova.md – a UK Based Consultancy – working within the Economic Free Zone to accelerate blockchain startups and inward investment. Launch of Drachmae Project Laboratory 2.0; summary of the proceedings.
- Entrepreneur and Organiser Lee Gibson Grant
“I believe Moldova has unique potential to explore Blockchain technology and create entrepreneurships around blockchain. I was very excited by the turnout of attendees who gave their time to attend, from the National Bank of Moldova, E-Government, UNDP, USAID and academics from ASEM University and many more. I look forward to the next event on the 23rd and 24th of March at ASEM University.”
- Introductions by Dr. Sergiu Tutunaru, Associate professor at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, Director Innovative IT Incubator
- Blockchain presentation by Marc Pilkington, PhD, who is an associate professor of economics at the University of Burgundy, France, currently on entrepreneurial leave.
- Some initial projects were disclosed around blockchain technology are based on transparency and immutability. The role of Digital Identity tools by Derick Smith, CEO of Chainreactor, and Land Registration by Eric Grill, Founder of Chain Bytes. Whilst the ideas was being discussed participants of the audience debated some valid points around Identity.
- More projects proposed for Internships are as follows:
Drachmae Market: Digital currency exchange to be worked on for Point of Locations, such as kiosks, to sell vouchers that can be used on the platform, and conversion of digital currency to local currency for payment processing and remittance.
TamTam Travels: Private travel discount club providing benefits and savings, via its memberships and purchases, using the blockchain platform and native digital token.
Moldova Discount Travel: Special discounts and promotions for tourism and restaurants in Moldova using a native digital token. Provision of vouchers using tokenization.
Drachmae Money: A web wallet for the management of tokens with multi functionality. SMS interaction and Mobile App and Beacon integration, as well as stored value cards, which can potentially double as ID cards. As part of the on-boarding process, users to perform a Know Your Customer (KYC) verification, typically using an authoritative 3rd party.
The project will explore extending this functionality as part of a wider e-citizenship initiative to cross reference citizen information in a secure manner, providing an immutable verification of their ID, and therefore a mechanism that could be used during on-boarding at other government or corporate services such as e-voting. For reference, there is a real need for a recognised and standardized KYC and Customer Identity approach for Tier 2 & 3 banks and Money Providers to provide “robust” compliance in order to conduct Tier 1 lending. Data can be stored, enabling certain functionality via www.groovix.io . Groovix is a partner in the project, leveraging existing certified regulatory technology for recording, processing and storing data to international banking (MIFID / DODD Frank) and ISO standards.
TV Documentary: As part of an initiative to promote tourism via film at Asem University, a project name Remember IT was created. The Moldovan countryside and tourist monuments are captured on film, while the documentary will also cover politics, education and technology in the country. A blockchain based delivery platform will bring transparent ownership, and the use of digital tokens for pay per view or outright purchases of the footage for commercial use.
DT X Top Secret USSR White Paper of blockchain exploration: Advances in information technology now make it possible for non-government entities, or governments themselves, to establish and run a national, parallel, paperless monetary system, Viability of Blockchain for E-Governance and Smart Cities. The workings of such a system is described and discussed. Such systems may ameliorate the dire state of affairs in the hardest hit economic zone adjacent to the Eurozone, the EX USSR or Russian Federation. Can Blockchain provide not just technical innovation by funding innovation meaning member states can privatise assets and national infrastructure opposed to IMF, World Bank EU Loans. Digital Identity: People are used to providing documentation to prove their identity and other information when opening bank accounts, for example. In the process documents may be photocopied and stored, and, at that point, you lose control of your data.
This has, in recent years, started a conversation globally as to the measures any organization like a bank must take to safeguard customer data, and for what purposes that data may be used. Abuses of customer data could result in invasion of privacy and even fraud.
The development of a robust digital identity framework, aimed at placing control of digital interactions in the hands of the customer, is therefore an important undertaking. The “Theft of the Century” at the National Bank of Moldova is illustrative of the systemic problems that could be solved by strong digital identity and the transparency and immutability enabled by blockchain technology.
A robust, universal framework for the individual’s digital Identity persona also be used for e-voting should such ideas be adopted at the government level.
Tourism: Tourism is an important topic, with Chisinau hosting the European Festival, “Tourism and Strategy”. Some relatively simple Apps and social engagement projects could be undertaken by interns, which could deliver significant value to the tourism sector in Moldova. Blockchain technology could drive further entrepreneurship, and it is therefore important for Moldovan Business owners to participate in using such initiatives.
Drachmae Project: Trials involving blockchain technology, collectively known as the Drachmae Project, were conducted on a small Greek Island called Agistri. During the opening presentation one specific point was made abundantly clear; the extent to which the global media follows and reports on blockchain projects.
This small island received media coverage from CNN, Forbes, and RT to name a few, and in 2015 the Island experienced a 17% increase in tourism compared to 2014 as a direct result of the large media exposure. Thus blockchain technology developments could clearly be used as a marketing tool for Moldovan tourism.
Initiatives around Tourism and Mobile Games were launched on 12th August 2016, where one can complete challenges and win digital tokens, vouchers and discounts. This is not an entirely new concept, but it remains to be seen if businesses in Moldova will adopt such tools to promote their businesses on a global scale.