Nele Declercq

Nele Declercq is projectofficer for the BLING project at the city of Ghent in Belgium. She works in the department of Climate and Environment at the Spatial Department of Ghent.

1. How is Ghent involved in blockchain; can you tell us a bit about your (latest) developments?


The City of Ghent is exploring what blockchain technology can do for the organization. We have a pilot where the focus lies on the Energy Loan of Ghent. We want to drastically reduce the duration of the application and relieve all parties involved in the administrative workload. We started with a business- and stakeholder analysis and are now working on the functional and technical analysis. During our project we started to see a lot of potential in the blockchain technology.

At the moment we are exploring where we could use blockchain technology regarding the concept of the energy wallet, and how this can support us with the energy transition. Blockchain can be used in various aspects, we’re figuring out how we can piece the puzzle together. Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) will be an important aspect for this transition.

2. Which blockchain topics do you find the most interesting or promising?

It is getting more and more important for citizens to get back control over their own data. Self-Sovereign identity does not only give citizens control over their data, but also guarantees protection of their privacy.

In the future we would like to explore how blockchain technology and SSI can help with the energy transition. We see potential in organizing the transaction of data with these technologies.

3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far by working together with international partners in this European project?

The exchange of knowledge and expertise is very insightful and inspiring. It offers us the opportunity to spread this knowledge further in our organisation, resulting into new conversations and ideas. Seeing the different kinds of scenarios between our partners, helps to see the full potential of blockchain technology.

We also learned that some projects are very dependent on a specific area or laws. This means that a solution that works for one area will not always be the solution for another area.

One of the biggest challenges in a project is to get a good mix of technical and operational experts on the same page. This is essential for a project to succeed.