How does a typical evening with us look like? An insight using the example of an event at Hadley’s in June 2018 by Christopher Nigischer

About Hadley´s

The Hadley‘s is a charming restaurant and café on the ground floor of a former hospital in Hamburg Eimsbüttel. It is a place for good meetings and conversations and on a regular basis Hadley‘s Salon is taking place, where new trends and developments are discussed in a dialogue between subject matter experts and the audience.

The event

I was invited as a representative of Blockchain Research Lab for the evening of 25/06/2018 to talk about „Blockchain: a technology as a basis for institutional and social innovation?“.

The audience of around 30 people covered the whole range from just having heard about Blockchain but not yet taken a closer look yet to people with experience in developing Blockchain based applications.

The course of the event

The introduction

Sarah Tischer as member of the moderator team of Hadley’s Salon led through the evening. She guided the discussion to cover the whole bandwidth of the most relevant questions and challenges as well as imaginable future scenarios and potential solutions. Sarah started with some basic questions to come up with a definition of what a Blockchain is, how it functions, what different kinds of Blockchains exist, and which benefits they can bring. From the audience questions were raised on how to get started with Blockchain individually and where and how Blockchain is already used. A major focus of interest was non-fintech use cases and the adoption of Blockchain technology in non-profit organisations.

Exchange on advantages and disadvantages of DLT

In a second block questions that were discussed evolved around the advantages and disadvantages of a decentralized technology like Blockchain for our society. One of the challenges addressed by the audience was the impression that Blockchains have problems in ensuring that all desired transactions are processed quickly and cost-effectively. Though solutions to scalability are coming up, it was doubted whether Blockchain technologies could ever be used for large applications like digital identities for all EU citizens for example.

In this context the ongoing and foreseeable regulation activities were mentioned concluding that nation states will not easily give away power and control in favour of Blockchain technology. We shared the hope that we will find a way as mankind to leverage the full potential of this technology and not to undermine this opportunity by overregulation.

Final discussion and conclusion

In the final discussion we dealt with the use of Blockchain technology in the future: What are potential visions for our economy and society? What needs to be done to really seize the opportunities and minimize the risks? Though some of us can‘t await to see bright visions of the future unfold, we also need to respect that there is legitimate scepticism and critics. From my perspective it was mainly the diversity of the audience that nurtured the discussion and led to interesting arguments.

To me personally it was a great experience to not simply give a presentation and answer some questions at the end but to have vivid discussions right from the beginning and throughout the whole evening. In many aspects we found common grounds and definitely learned from each other. At some points we simply agreed to disagree. As there were plenty of statements and questions from the audience, it was not always easy to balance between giving everyone the chance to contribute while at the same time covering all planned topics. But Sarah greatly accomplished that task and we all benefited from having a good discussion.

I can highly recommend Hadley‘s Salon and will definitely visit one or the other upcoming event.