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The U.N. + Capitol Hill Learn All About Ethereum




Blockchain-focused companies ConsenSys and Coin Center educated the U.S. Congress and the United Nations about distributed ledger technology.

At the United Nations on February 10, 2017, ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin and Chief Strategy Officer Samuel Cassatt spoke at the World Jurist Association Side Event of the Fifty-Fifth Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD55).

During the “Blockchain: A Highway to Deliberative Democracy” session, Lubin and Cassatt introduced Ethereum to an audience of government officials, academics, and technology leaders, focusing on blockchain use cases for humanitarian and social justice/development projects across the globe.

Hosted by the World Jurist Association in partnership with the Digital Currency Summit, Lubin and Cassatt joined experts from various domains (legal, philosophical, technical, and financial) to explain how blockchain technology can be leveraged as a resource to improve the transparency and effectiveness of governments, as a method to avoid corruption and injustice.

The United Nations website explains:

“The World Jurist Association is bringing the innovative researches and researchers that can help improving [sic] the defense of human rights to the legal international community. As our members stand from Supreme Courts, Law Schools and Law firms from all around the world, we serve as an arena that puts together law making and legal practice with technical innovation.”

Lubin educated the audience on the idea of self-sovereign identity on a decentralized Web 3.0, and how blockchain is poised to support the unbanked people of both the developed and developing world. According to the World Bank, United Nations, and ID2020 project, there currently exists 2-2.5 billion unbanked persons who could significantly benefit from blockchain-based identity. Because blockchain technology has the ability to create self-sovereign identities, users would gain control of their identity and data, allowing for financial inclusion to individuals and regions locked out of the global economy and other governmental services.

Lubin said:

“Blockchain is the first global long term, permission-less, transparent, non-reputable, shared database. It is really the first appropriate contest for establishing global identity. In the developing world, a person could establish their own blockchain identity and have their social context, launch attestations that share reputation with the person being identified, and in that way, establish a portable reputation on the blockchain, and perhaps get a micro loan.”

Cassatt introduced ConsenSys product uPort, the Ethereum-based identity platform, and explained why Ethereum is the blockchain of choice for establishing blockchain-based global identity.

Cassatt said:

“We often think of identity as something that’s given to us, a constellation of items that is rubber stamped or sanctioned by an entity that is not myself. In blockchain technology, you are the origin of that identity. Rather than a human construction, on blockchain [identity] is a number like an account. That’s what I log into, what I can sign with, the fabric for interconnected agreements that are automatically executed.”  

Following the U.N. event, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus held its first briefing on blockchain technology on February 14, 2017, at Coin Center’s headquarters located in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Coin Center, who helped launch the Blockchain Caucus two weeks ago, is the leading non-profit research and advocacy center focused on public policy for cryptocurrency and technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. During the first briefing, Coin Center Director of Research Peter Van Valkenburgh educated members of Congress about the differences between permissionless blockchains (Bitcoin or Ethereum) and the private blockchain networks being explored by enterprise corporations around the world.  

According to comments on the Coin Center website:

“[U]nderstanding this distinction is essential to understanding the critical role that open networks will play in the future of internet infrastructure and business innovation.”

The standing-room-only event was filled with lawmakers and their staff interested in demystifying blockchain technology and comprehensively gaining an understanding of technologies like Ethereum.  

The Coin Center Annual Dinner will be hosted on May 22, 2017, alongside the Consensus 2017 conference in New York City. The gala affair supports Coin Center’s advocacy mission and has featured past guest speaker U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney – an outspoken supporter of cryptocurrencies and President Trump’s unconfirmed pick as Director for the Office of Management and Budget.

Los Silva

Los Silva is a writer and filmmaker who has collaborated with tech and design companies. His interest in Ethereum stems from emerging creative applications that allow artists control of their work through blockchain technology.

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