Palais des Nations, Geneva, 29 January 2018. On Monday 29 January, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, UNICRI convened a restricted group of global experts from international organizations, the private sector and civil society organizations to discuss and validate possible applications and risk scenarios related to Blockchain technology.
Blockchain is one of the several thematic areas covered by the Knowledge Centre “Security Improvements through Research, Technology and Innovation” (SIRIO), a project of UNICRI launched in 2017 aimed at engaging governmental and inter-governmental entities, industry and research institutions in the analyses and promotion of knowledge and technology solutions to address emerging security risks.
Following a brief overview of the SIRIO Project, the experts delved into the very core of the meeting, namely an analysis of opportunities and challenges resulting from the use and possible misuse of Blockchain technology.
Regarding the opportunities offered by Blockchain, reference was made to:
Challenges and risks were then extensively discussed. In this regard, major concerns include (but are not limited to):
Finally, risk scenarios related to the use and misuse of blockchain were identified and validated, with a focus on:
The experts attending the meeting, recognised that although both the above risk scenarios would require a high degree of technical expertise and the available evidence of their occurrence is still limited, other concurring factors, like the lack of regulation, the disparity in countries adoption, are currently worrying elements of vulnerability and they might have serious consequences in the medium and long term. Therefore, the risk of different forms of misuse cannot be underestimated.
As a follow-up to the workshop, UNICRI will facilitate the development of future risk scenarios and the preparation of a Risk Report. These will be used to open a discussion with technology providers and map the technology solutions that can mitigate the risks. All results on security risks and solutions connected to the blockchains will be showcased with the Member States of the United Nations and other relevant stakeholders.
Photo credits @williambout