WS5: Financial and other applications of Blockchain Technologies

The past two (2) years with the coronavirus crisis, modern society has faced huge changes. New modern ways of teaching established, new channels (on the supply chain) developed in order to serve the increased needs of people in essential goods.  Transportation companies, sprouted like mushrooms as the existing ones couldn’t cope with the amount of product which was increased daily. At the same time, we noticed a decrease on the need for liquid fuels, as many flight departures were cancelled or were forbitten, but on the other hand the need for electricity was increased as every employee, all over the world, was working from home using their personal computers.      Many new assets converted into cryptocurrencies so as to be used as a new way of payment, new tools were developed for raising funds and many computer users started to invest on cryptocurrencies and few of them became miners on Decentralized networks. This might have been the main reason for the absurd increase on the price of graphic card units (PSU), but on the other hand also consisted a motivating power for the development of Decentralized Finance (DeFi). So, all the above are proof that the form of the external environment of Organizations & Companies, as we knew it, has changed and those changes happened with the speed of light.

On this Workshop, the speakers are going to present you with some applications of the Blockchain Technologies that have already been developed in order: (1) to face those changes, (2) to serve the new needs, (3) to ensure the viability of the Organizations & Companies in their new environment and finally (4) to create new opportunities for further development.

Mr Alexios Lymperis

University of Piraeus – Department of Informatics, Greece

Mr Alexios Lymperis has graduated of the University of Piraeus – Department of Informatics – Orientation: Technology of Software and Intelligent Systems. He wrote a Bachelor thesis called “Ethereum Blockchain Decentralized Application for Vote Centers” which was graded with “excellent” by a panel of 3 professors. In 2021 he was certified from the first academic program in Greece in the area of crypto economy named “Blockchain Economics: Introduction in Cryptocurrencies” of the Panteion University. Also, he completed the online course “Ethereum and Solidity: The Complete Developer’s Guide”. Currently, he is working as an Application Development Associate at Accenture and at the same time he is studying as a postgraduate student the Master’s in Computer Science “Concentration in Blockchain Technologies” at the University of Nicosia.

An Ethereum Blockchain Decentralized application for Vote Centers

Blockchain and its applications have promising results and they have drawn the attention of the tech industry and investors. The Blockchain platform itself and the concept of Decentralized applications will help to improve, refine and reform of unresolved solutions in order to ameliorate services and make new opportunities for developers.This Decentralized Application (commonly known as dApp) can replace the current program and system the elections work with, and the electoral commission of every vote center will now register the votes they have collected in this new dApp. Anyone in the world can access the dApp and watch the elections live and see every vote that is being register, without of course having the permission to configure the application. The specific dApp is built to run in the Ethereum Blockchain and for its implementation we used the programming language Solidity for the application’s Smart Contract, the web3 API which is a collection of libraries that allow you to interact with a local or remote Ethereum node using HTTP, IPC or WebSocket and the Truffle which is a development environment, testing framework and asset pipeline for blockchains using the Ethereum Virtual Machine.

Mr. Nikolaos Zoannos

University of Piraeus – Department of Informatics, Greece.

Nikolaos Zoannos has a Master in Informatics and he is a PhD Candidate at the University of Piraeus (Department of Informatics), studying the Blockchain Technologies (BT). He is also certified as: (a) a Systemic Analyst, (b) a CISCO Administrator, and (c) a CISCO Security Administrator. He has been a Security Officer and IT Administrator at the Ministry of Citizen Protection since 2002. More specifically, from 2002 to 2005 he was working on the Olympic Games Security Division and he was trained as an administrator of Cisco equipment. From 2007 until 2009, he was working on the Informatics Division of the Hellenic Police Headquarters and he was responsible for Cyber Security. In 2009 he was transferred to the Security Division of the Greek Parliament, in which he stayed until 2013. He has participated, in cooperation with the company “Integration Power ICT – Security Defense”, in the European Union “HORIZON 2020” research and development project, with code name “AUGGMED” Ref:653590, in which his duties were: 1) the development of requirements analysis, 2) the study of Critical Infrastructure vulnerability, 3) the development of technical specifications, and 4) system design. Also, in 2012 he transacted a Vulnerability Analysis for the Security of four (4) Illegal Immigration Stations in the Greek Borders. In order to gain experience in teaching Informatics, from 2013 until 2014 he was working as a Professor Assistant of Computer Science in a private school, after a special approval which was given from the Chief of the Hellenic Police. In 2020, he started teaching programming languages in a Greek private school of Informatics, called “Education 4 you”. Nowadays, he is teaching the course on “Financials of Blockchain: Introduction of the Cryptocurrencies” at Panteion University and on “Certified Systemic Analyst Professional (CSAP)” at Piraeus University. At the same time, he is developing a new Systemic Multimethodology for managing new technologies, such as Blockchain.

Proposal for a new Blockchain application, which will ensure the Integrity of the available products and will protect the customers from possible frauds

Nowadays many platforms are available for buying products online. Such platforms are AliExpress, Alibaba, Dhgate, Banggood, and many other. In Greece, a similar platform is called “Skroutz”. But, right at this point a reasonable question arises: “How did those platforms succeed to manage the huge number of orders during the coronavirus pandemic?”  In order to answer this question, we must start thinking in a different way, and that way is “Systemic Thinking”. The main reason is that we have to examine many variables which contributed to the situation created over the last two years. More specifically, if we examine the amount of complains that were filed during this time of period and if we focus on the reason why those complains were made, we will trace that the delays in the delivery time of products and the condition of the products in which they arrived on their final destination were the main reasons for creating unsatisfied customers. Some other reasons were: (1) the products that arrived to the customers weren’t the same as the ones they have ordered, (2) the products’ price which had skyrocketed due to high demand and (3) in some cases the problems regarding the warranty of those products. We will examine in more detail the reasons concerning the warranty because you will find out that many Companies/sellers in order to cope with the growing demand they were forced to proceed with their own imports, which led in many problems regarding the products’ warranty. For example, a product which was imported from the official representative of the country had two (2) years of warranty according to the rules of Europe. In contrary, a product, which had been imported directly from the seller, in some cases had one (1) year of warranty and in some other cases it had two (2) years of warranty (the first year was by the official representative of the country and the second one by the seller). So, the main purpose of our session is to present a feasible application using the Blockchain Technologies, in which each Greek Company/seller is going to save data (on Blocks) regarding their supplier, the country in which the product was manufactured, the storage conditions of the product (temperature, humidity etc.) and information about its import in our country. Thus, each buyer will be able to examine whether the product he/she has received is original or not, whether the product was intentionally falsified at some stage of its transfer and finally if this product will be covered by the warranty in case of any malfunction or damage.

Mr. Panagiotis Georgitseas

Panteio University, Athens, Greece

Mr. Panagiotis Georgitseas is an AML/CFT Analyst at Eurobank and a PhD Candidate in the Department of Public Administration of Panteion University of Athens. He holds a M.Sc. in Banking from the Hellenic Open University, and graduated from the Department of Public Administration in the direction of Economic Science, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. Mr. Georgitseas maintains a broad knowledge of the diverse financial products offered by financial institutions, evidenced by his previous positions in Transfers Clearing and Trade Finance Division at Proton Bank S.A. (2007-2013) and in Payment Systems Department at Eurobank (2013-2015). In the context of his current occupation as an AML/CFT analyst (2015-until today), he participates in the enhancement of operational risk reporting in the AML/CFT area, by analyzing transactional data and applying the respective risk assessment. Mr. Georgitseas is a member of the Economic Chamber of Greece and also an academic tutor in the e-learning course “Blockchain Economics: Introduction to Cryptocurrencies, offered by Panteion University. His research interests focus on the Economics of Blockchain and to Cryptocurrencies Ecosystem, while his PhD. Dissertation (in progress) titled “Determinants of success of Initial Coin Offerings”. Last, Mr Georgitseas is co-author (with Dr. Nikos Daskalakis) of the book “An Introduction to Cryptocurrencies: The Crypto Market Ecosystem”, Routledge London,(2020).

Fundraising methods based on Blockchain

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are an innovative way to raise capital, based on the blockchain technology. ICOs allow fundraisers to raise capital directly from the public, at a global scale, with no transaction costs, and following a relatively easy process. These ICO features have resulted in tremendously fast and high-valued fundraising, where millions of dollars can be raised in a few hours’ time. This session will discuss how fund raising is performed in the crypto markets, the main ICOs features, the main steps of conducting an ICO, and the role of the issued tokens. Particular attention is given to the role of the white paper, as the one key document where all ICO details come together and are synthesized. Finally, in this session we will briefly discuss the similarities and differences between ICOs and the closest alternatives in the traditional markets, as also the evolution of ICOs nowadays.

Dr. Nikos Daskalakis

Assistant Professor

Panteio University, Athens, Greece.

Dr. Nikos Daskalakis is Assistant Professor in Finance and Accounting in the Department of Public Administration of Panteion University. Dr. Daskalakis is an experienced researcher having published in numerous top-rated academic journals (ABS:4 and ABS:3) and his publications enjoy a high level of awareness with more than 1,500 citations. His current scientific interests lie in the area of crowdfunding, blockchain applications in finance and SMEs access to finance. Dr. Daskalakis has held consulting positions at top European bodies for matters that regard financial services. He is currently a member of the Insurance and Reinsurance Stakeholder Group (IRSG) of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). He was a member of the European Crowdfunding Stakeholder Forum (ECSF), assisting the European Commission in developing policies for the area of crowdfunding (2014-2016). He served as a member of the Financial Services User Group (FSUG), consulting the European Commission on matters that refer to the users of financial services (2010-2016). Last, he was member of the Banking Stakeholder Group (BSG) of the European Banking Authority (2013-2018), consulting the Authority on actions concerning regulatory and implementing technical standards, guidelines and recommendations. Dr. Daskalakis combines academic research with practical experience. He was Head of Market and Entrepreneurship Development Discipline in the Small Enterprises Institute of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (IME-GSEVEE). Part of his role was to design and implement several consulting projects for SMEs and to represent the Confederation in various domestic and international fora for matters that mainly regard SMEs access to finance. Dr. Daskalakis is still consulting the Confederation in matters relative to SME financing.

Blockchain Applications: Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

The links between technology and finance have gradually become very strong over the last decades. New technological advancements constantly interact with the world of finance, which gradually adopt them in the services they offer. This interdependence of technology and finance has led to the modern concept of FinTech. So far, all technological innovations have been implemented within the existing financial system, which is based on centralized systems that always require an intermediary to operate. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is considered as the latest technological advancement that disrupts the way the traditional financial system works. It questions the very architecture and technological foundations of the financial system, proposing a new way of doing (financial) business. DeFi refers to a financial ecosystem, built on blockchain technology, that offers financial services, excluding intermediaries. This session will briefly discuss how DeFi works and how it has evolved to date, via presenting specific examples of applications such as the decentralized exchanges and decentralized lending and borrowing.