Wim Van RenterghemWim Van Renterghem is a blockchain lecturer, researcher and developer at HOWEST, university of Applied Sciences in Belgium. He is involved in the European research project BLING, where he mainly develops pilots to explore the possibility and viability of blockchain in various areas of the daily life.
1. How is HOWEST involved in blockchain; can you tell us a bit about your (latest) developments?
Howest Research & Privacy is researching how blockchain can help improve local government services. We have recently developed a blockchain application that helps users to stay fit. This app interacts with a custom-developed smartwatch to register steps, sleep data, trainings and more. The registration is done on the blockchain. A coach can evaluate this data if the user agrees, and can help the user to reach their goals. In this pilot, privacy and data-ownership were our biggest focus and challenge.
2. Which blockchain topics do you find the most interesting or promising?
Personally, I really like public permissionless blockchains, such as Ethereum and Moonbeam. I find it interesting to think about how we can keep data safe and secure, even though it runs on a public blockchain.
3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far by working together with international partners in this European project?
There are many more projects utilizing the blockchain than you think. NFTs (Non-Fungible Token) are the biggest thing in crypto today, but behind the scenes, there are a lot of real-world problems being solved by blockchain. These projects just don't receive the attention like NFTs, so people think blockchain is only about NFTs. Creating awareness about blockchain is an interesting challenge for European projects such as BLING.