Ron Berndsen: Dutch Central Bank Reveals Details on Blockchain Experiments

AMSTERDAM - Reportage bij De Nederlandse Bank, DNB. foto: tekst DNB. ANP XTRA LEX VAN LIESHOUT
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In a prepared speech by Ron Berndsen of the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank) at a recent conference in The Netherlands – he revealed some interesting details on the central bank’s experiments with their Blockchain experiment with a currency they call DNBCoin. 

“So last year we started our DNBcoin experiment. The general idea was that by adapting the Bitcoin software ourselves we could learn deeper how an actual implementation of the Blockchain really works than if we would only perform desk research.”


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“And just to avoid misunderstandings – the DNBcoin is only developed for internal test purposes, it will not be put into circulation. For the experiments, we didn’t establish a traditional steering committee with working groups, mandates and budgets; we just formed a bootstrap team of intrinsically motivated colleagues coming from different parts of the Bank. If you work on innovation, you should work in an innovative way as well.”

They adapted the bitcoin client software in two major ways and DNBcoin prototype 1 replicated the early days of bitcoin (Jan – Feb 2009) using five laptops in a connected network antheir home-made Genesis Block.

“We were able to generate a couple of thousand blocks, to enter transactions and set transaction fees. We also established that you could easily mine blocks too quickly: every 3 minutes instead of every 10 minutes like bitcoin. Reassuringly the software then issues the warning: ‘abnormally high number of blocks generated in the last four hours’.”

The second DNBcoin prototype they worked on developed the other extreme of bitcoin by jumping to the year 2140, the year when the last fraction of the 21 million bitcoins will be issued. This maximum follows mathematically from the halving of the issuance of new bitcoins every 210,000 blocks, starting from the initial reward of 50 bitcoin per block.”

“As you probably know the next halving of the bitcoin block reward – from 25 to 12.5 BTC – will take place in a couple of weeks from now. We thought that the second prototype would therefore be a so-called pre-mining variant. All DNBcoins would be mined first by only one laptop before opening the network to the other laptops. To minimize power consumption, we have started with an initial block reward of 1 billion DNBcoins in the first block and a very high frequency of halving that reward, namely every two blocks. In doing so we were able to generate 3 billion DNBcoins in 30 seconds. In addition, we observed that after all DNBcoins had been generated, blocks could still be mined and added to the Blockchain. The reward was reduced to zero but transaction fees were still collected by the miner who finds the next block.”

“These two prototypes were focused on the Blockchain as a vehicle for a virtual currency. But virtual currencies are not the most promising application of the Blockchain. So the third DNBcoin prototype will not be about a virtual currency.”

“Let me conclude. History teaches us that when looking ahead into the distant future, it is wiser to predict that something is possible, rather than that something is impossible. The Blockchain technology offers a number of advantages over existing technologies. But there are also some drawbacks and barriers to overcome. Well it is high time to finish our game of Jeopardy. The winning question I would endorse today with the answer “Blockchain” is… “Which technology for the next generation of financial market infrastructures?” 

About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST
2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency
($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company
Blockchain Partners
(Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser
at leading industry event CryptoFinancing (Europe's first ICO event now
branded Tokenomicon)
– Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher,
innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards
of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500
articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and
has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.  Irish Tech News put him in the top
10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of
at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang
at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he
was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School
for Business Automation 4.0 programme. Chevalier (Knight) - Ordre des
Arts et des Technologies at Crypto Chain University and an Advisory
Board Member of International Decentralized Association Of
Cryptocurrency And Blockchain (IDABC) as well as Advisory Board Member
at U.S. Blockchain Association. Over a half a decade experience judging
and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the
European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor
and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain
technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels,
Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki,
London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, San
Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel
Aviv,  Utrecht, Venice,  Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and
Zurich.  His network is global and extensive.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has
ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean
& Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business
Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and, and his work
and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and
French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart,
Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to
TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to
marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian
expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the
world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called,
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on
yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently
lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage
daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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