Read more about the general market situation (end 2023) and the main findings for TruBlo at the end of the active period in November 2023.
The text excerpts below are from the Impact deliverable of the TruBlo project.
The central vision of the TruBlo project was to nurture and facilitate research beyond the state-of-the-art on blockchain technology, which will lead to more scalable blockchain-based solutions and applications. The latter will contribute to ensuring the exchange of trustworthy and reliable content on social networks and media.
To achieve this, the project implemented a series of open calls that targeted academics, R&D companies, and research teams. They were invited to define and then implement small-scale research projects on two related use cases, obtaining technical support as well as business and innovation mentoring from TruBlo:
- Use case 1: Trust and reputation models on blockchains. This targeted innovative applications, technologies, technical approaches, and methodologies that increase the levels of trust in blockchain-based information exchange, emphasising user-generated content on the Internet and social media and considering data from IoT infrastructures.
- Use case 2: Proof-of-validity and proof-of-location. The focus is on innovative mechanisms to increase transparency and trustworthiness of user-generated genuine content. As part of a blockchain, users can apply additional verification mechanisms to increase transparency, validity, and a high level of trustworthiness, such as Proof-of-Location and Proof-of-Validity.
Context: The blockchain industry grew in 2023 despite global economic uncertainty. Investments in blockchain also continued to grow, with larger deals becoming more common. However, in Europe, blockchain investments experienced a decline in 2023. The global economic uncertainty had a mixed impact on blockchain investments, with some seeing blockchain technology as a potential solution to financial challenges while others were uncertain about the economic path forward.
The diverse applications of blockchain technology across industries further underscored its potential to drive innovation and address complex challenges. As the industry evolves, monitoring the interplay between blockchain investments and the global economic landscape is essential.
Blockchain technology continues to evolve and gain momentum in various industries since its inception in 2008.
- In the long term, elements of blockchain technology have the potential to change the current set-up of digital information profoundly. Further, the cross-section of trust, content and future technologies for storage, identification, verification, etc., such as blockchain, remains a crucial field where research and innovation are needed.
- Essential concepts include decentralization, tokens for ownership or payments and smart contracts. Eventually, this will lead to new approaches to providing and using digital information. Potentially, the changes will let the internet evolve into web3.
- But to get there, there is a latent demand for “future blockchains”, which need to be (1) more secure against theft or hacking and (2) more straightforward to use and maintain. In addition, there is a need to see one or several blockchain-based media offerings thrive.
- Blockchain has multiple problems: Many competing concepts and approaches exist, and speculative crypto projects overshadow the entire blockchain community.
- As for 2023, it seems the most relevant area of further development for blockchain beyond crypto is the management of banking assets. Blockchain applications could help transfer large amounts faster and more easily. This at least seems to be the prospect when looking at current hiring for blockchain specialists, driven by demand from large banks, most of them located in the US.
Key features of blockchain relevant for TruBlo: The combination of content with blockchain technology can fundamentally change digital content (including text, photos, videos, audio, animations, and raw data):
- Using reliable timestamps in connection with the blockchain can help search and filter duplicated, non-original or falsified content.
- Content theft of texts and visuals can be reduced by adding blockchain timestamps for provenance or verification of origin.
- Tokenization can help to redefine ownership. Authors, photographers and musicians can directly connect to their users/buyers. Royalties can be paid in weeks, not years.
- Important documents such as land registrations can be fully transparent, digital workflows can be used for information, and documents can be sheltered against tampering.
- The collection of data for IoT or delivery chains can become more trustable and immutable .
- Ultimately, blockchain can open the door to “distributed trust”, where the network can be trusted, regardless of whether we know the participants, and where participants’ reputations can be transparently managed .
Based on the analysis, we conclude that the main topic and research direction of TruBlo towards “trustable content on future blockchains” is still highly relevant. How content is generated, presented, used and verified – all those aspects are fundamental, and blockchain technology provides the means to address the challenge decisively.
Impact on TruBlo projects: For TruBlo projects, the current situation has immediate effects. The willingness of investors to fund blockchain ideas has notably changed towards caution. TruBlo is focused on the innovative application of blockchain technology to a wide content area, including content creation, reliability, trustability, and monetization. The key takeaways are:
- So far, no commercial or open-source platform with a distinct European approach to “trustable content!”
- Conversely, the need for trustable content and secure information provision without privacy concerns is still relevant. It will potentially be a key topic for the next ten years. Digital data and information are so critical for humanity that the current shortcomings, the many options to falsify and distort the truth and facts, are a considerable threat to democracy.
- The attention in the content area has shifted away from blockchain to the use cases with generative AI (such as ChatGPT). But it can already be seen that this new machine-generated content might result in many new issues, even the critical prospect of “automated propaganda”.
- In summary, the work on reliable information for aviation, agriculture, and the fight against mis- and disinformation or security in IoT is highly relevant and still needs much further work. Even if the current situation makes it more challenging for early-stage blockchain projects to become sustainable, TruBlo has become a handy tool to overcome such difficulties.
- As a result, TruBlo has shown informative and relevant early-stage results (positive and negative) to the European science and entrepreneurial community, aiming to have the learnings also considered in future projects.