June 18, 2019 Valentin

[UN]BLOCKED 2019 - Conference Summary

“Programming a Sustainable World” was the tagline of the [UN]BLOCKED conference. 600 people attended the conference in April 2019 to explore how blockchain technology can help us achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN.

The conference was designed as a two-day event. The aim was to bring together different stakeholders, who normally do not interact with one another: sustainability experts, policy-makers, international organisations, startups. The main goal of the conference and the entire [UN]BLOCKED initiative is to foster a culture of interdisciplinary discourse out of which projects can grow that build on inclusive solutions. The conference bridged the gap between those who understand the technology and those who have a deep understanding of the SDGs.

The first day of the conference served as a fertile ground for everyone to meet and establish a community around the topic. In order to prompt the discussions, the event was divided into two sections: the conference room and the exhibition area. The conference was clustered around 4 tracks: (I) Local Currencies, (II) Supply Chain transparency, (III) Governance & Accountability, (IV) The power of Incentives. Each track was comprised of 3 talks and ended with joint Q&A sessions of all three key-note speakers. The intentional long breaks between tracks ensured that the conference visitors had enough time to interact with startups showcasing in the exhibition area, and also to mingle with other speakers and attendees.

All talks, as well as the panel discussion, have been recorded and can be found here:

Day 1 - Tracks & Talks

Local Currencies

Building Self-Sufficient Societies
Rob Hopkins, Founder Transition Towns

Building green, inclusive and prosperous cities using Qoin
Edgar Kampers, Qoin

Humanitarian Aid on Blockchain
Houman Haddad, World Food Programme

Supply Chain Transparency

Blockchains in Logistics - Opportunities & Challenges
Mario Dobrovnik, Assistant Professor @ WU

Supply Chain Management with Blockchain and IoT - Real Use Cases
Angel Versetti, CEO Ambrosus

markta: Short & Decentralised Supply Chains for Local Farmers
Theresa Imre, Founder markta

Governance, Accountability, Transparency

Privacy on the Blockchain
Elad Verbin, Lead Scientist & Founding Partner @ Berlin Innovation Ventures

The dxDAO - A community governed DAO for the DutchX
Mareen Gläske, Project Manager @ Gnosis Ecosystem Fund

The future of Crypto Donations: Realigning Incentives Around the Commons
Griff Green, Founder Giveth

Power of incentives, Purpose-driven Tokens

Tokenizing Energy Savings
Omar Rahim, CEO EnergiMine

Tokenizing CO2 – How DLT can help reduce carbon emissions
Franz von Weizsäcker, Head of GIZ Blockchain Lab

Etherisc: Decentralized Insurance & How to Incentivise Risk Transfer?
Stephan Karpischek, Founder Etherisc

The conference was rounded up with a political panel. The topic was “How can blockchain help policy makers achieve sustainable development goals?” The panelists discussed the relevance for local and international organisations to integrate blockchain technologies into their activities


Jürgen Schneider (Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism)
Shermin Voshmgir (Director @ WU Institute for Cryptoeconomics)
Houman Haddad (World Food Programme)
Giulia Moscardelli (Finance and Monitoring Expert at UNIDO)
Jason Slater (Head of Financial Management at UNIDO)
Moderated by Nikolaus Jilch (Journalist at DiePresse)

Day 1 - Project Space

All conference visitors, as well as bypassing students and researchers from the university, were able to listen to presentations in the exhibition space, engage with people behind startups and learn more about their token designs. Following 18 initiatives had the chance to showcase at the conference:

  • Ambrosus
  • Giveth
  • The Sun Protocol
  • Collective Energy
  • Humanventure
  • Decent
  • The Studio
  • Fairkom
  • GIZ Blockchain Lab
  • Coinsence
  • Air Quality Chain
  • Re-invent Group
  • FIBRECHAIN BOKU University
  • Expanding Focus
  • Changers
  • 3F Solar
  • Conda

Day 2 - Closed Workshops

The second day of the conference was held in a form of a closed workshop with 50 participants, including seven startups and several local and international organizations like the World Bank, UNIDO, GIZ Blockchain Lab, Ministry of Education, Science and Research and BOKU University representatives. The day was dedicated to developing pilot project designs that unite decentralized energy markets with better and more transparent impact assessment. Policy makers have, in direct communication with startups, outlined implementation limitations they have been faced with in the past and what is necessary for potential partnerships and collaborations when it comes to achieving the SDGs with the help of blockchain technology. Two pilot project designs were created and presented, which initiated discussions around token design, token functionalities, built in reputation systems, incentive mechanisms and the interplay of different stakeholders and their contributions.

The project’s findings and project related research done by the Cryptoeconomics Institute and RCE Vienna will be published in an easy to read White Paper, which will be available for download at the [UN]BLOCKED website in the summer of 2019.


While the conference was an important first step, the community still has a long way to go to integrate cross-disciplinary learning as well as research & development. [UN]BLOCKED plans to continue bringing different stakeholders together in both conference and workshop settings, bridging the gap between blockchain and sustainability experts. We are looking forward to next year’s conference.

If you would like to :

Speak at next year’s conference: fill out the application form
Exhibit your startup/project/initiative at next years conference register here.
Sponsor [UN]BLOCKED 2020, send an email to [email protected]
Get notified for next year’s conference, sign up to our newsletter.

by Tatjana
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