The ONTOCHAIN project 3-years journey is already halfway through! As the project consortium is starting to design its third and less open call, Caroline Barelle, the Project Coordinator, tells us in this interview what has been achieved so far and what the entire community, both technical and non-technical people, will get from ONTOCHAIN.
Looking back at the year 2021, what were ONTOCHAIN’s biggest achievements, in your opinion?
Despites a challenging year 2021, made of unprecedented scenarios because of the pandemics, ONTOCHAIN kept its course and can look back with pride at its achievements. 2021 has been filled with expectations, in every respect, and especially in terms of traction around its specific goals for trusted, traceable and transparent ontological blockchain-based knowledge management. It has even exceed our expectations in terms of participation for our first open call, with 137 applications received and 17 projects selected to specify the blueprint architecture of the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem.
These 17 projects working all together with the core consortium for a common goal have overall created interesting and promising content in terms of specification related to SSI, credential storage and management, data privacy, reputation management, authorship and reuse, ontologies, integration of semantic into the blockchain … to dive into the second phase of ONTOCHAIN which is all about these specifications implementation for the foundation of the software ecosystem.
After again a huge participation in our second open call and a very selective process, 13 projects have been embedded in the ONTOCHAIN journey taking advantage of the knowledge build in our first open call, to go on building the pyramid jointly with the ONTOCHAIN core consortium. The innovative ideas proposed in these second batch of projects are once again of great quality.
The ONTOCHAIN consortium is doing its utmost to ensure that the results live up to its expectations thanks to close coaching support to the ONTOCHAIN innovators.
Worth noticing that ONTOCHAIN and its OC1 innovators have been already highlighted in a variety of recognized European media and international major events in the blockchain domain, paving the way for its wide adoption across Europe. The torch is now in the hands of our second open calls innovators.
This is a very distinct project, in which all parties involved have to work together towards the creation of a new software ecosystem. Has this been a challenge?
It is a challenge in terms of organisation and management. Indeed, nurturing the ecosystem community, establishing and maintaining relationships between ecosystem actors and enabling an adequate representation of all actors’ knowledge in the ONTOCHAIN ecosystem with equal rewarding for all is probably the most difficult task the core consortium has to face. After one year of implementation it has been worth the effort.
Benefits are already tangible! We are seeing increasing attractiveness to collaborate with ONTOCHAIN and to contribute to the platform. By fostering high quality knowledge transfer between all stakeholders involved in ONTOCHAIN and by adopting an open source development model, we are confident that all together we are building a platform that will gradually take all its place in the blockchain landscape and especially for trustworthy knowledge management and trustworthy service exchange on the internet.
In 2021, ONTOCHAIN selected two batches of blockchain projects to join the programme. What surprised you the most about the solutions that have been proposed?
ONTOCHAIN is a very specific project with a common thread that is to deliver a complete software ecosystem and novel, ambitious Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applications, hence decentralized and trustful, i.e. demonstrating trustworthy content and trustworthy information handling. In less than one year and a half we have been able to select 30 blockchain projects that all aim to contribute to a more resilient, trustworthy and sustainable internet and placing at the heart of their development the European value of Human rights Democracy, Equality, Rule of law… which is rather comforting for the evolution of our society and our digital life!
What will be ONTOCHAIN’s main challenges in 2022?
The challenges that lay ahead for ONTOCHAIN are the same than when we started the adventure and are all about sustaining the ONTOCHAIN community to develop software applications, to ensure trustworthy knowledge management and give the possibility for their users to make ethical choices through them. The ONTOCHAIN course for 2022 is dictated as previously by the following aspects: more credible content on the internet, more trustworthy transactions, less centralisation, more inclusiveness, higher accountability but no arm to anonymity and privacy.
What can the broader community, that doesn’t have a technical knowledge on technologies such as blockchain or semantic web, expect from ONTOCHAIN?
ONTOCHAIN intends to empower the civil society, the industry at large and governments with trustworthy applications and services to better control and govern their data when participating in joint value chain thus to evolve in a secure and trustworthy manner in the digital world. In the third year of the project, applications that build on and leverage blockchain and semantic web assets are expected that will among other improved standards of living, allow safer and greener mobility, better healthcare, new jobs, or the personalisation of public services … A little more patience, ONTOCHAIN is almost there in terms of development and the broader community will have the chance to explore, use and even enhance the vast potential of ONTOCHAIN in all the sectors of our lives!