Funder: EPSRC


Team: Chris Speed, Aggelos Kiayias, Raluca Bunduchi, Jonathan Rankin, Kate Symons, Aydin Abadi (University of Edinburgh), John Vines, Chris Elsden (Northumbria University), Nigel Davies, Mike Harding, Ludwig Trotter (Lancaster University); Alan Stevenson, Ian Sibbald (Volunteer Scotland); Emma Joy (Oxfam UK); Joshua Hallwright (Oxfam Australia).


Website: https://oxchain.uk/


Timeframe: 2016-2019

The arrival of blockchain promises to radically change the way we share, circulate and distribute the things that we value. Blockchain is a software technology which underpins alternative currencies. It is a distributed, secure and shared database of transactions which opens up the possibility of fundamental changes to our current use of fiat currencies as the primary method of value exchange, enabling new forms of social interaction, and different models of trust between people and institutions. However, the possible benefits for the not-for-profit sector has only begun to be understood, and much research and innovation is presently limited to the financial and tech industries. The goal of our research is to explore how Blockchain technologies can be used to reshape value in a much broader and diversified way.
Oxchain is a major research project between the Universities of Edinburgh, Northumbria and Lancaster, and research partners Oxfam, Zero Waste Scotland, Volunteer Scotland and WHALE Arts. It brings together experts in digital and collaborative design, cryptography, business and international development. More broadly, drawing on the expertise and practices of our research partners, we will explore the reconfiguration of economic, social and cultural life which may be made possible by digital and peer-to-peer value exchange. We’re exploring this in three different contexts relevant to our partners and blockchain technologies – smart and contracted giving to charity, the circulation of donated items and their value, and identity management and volunteer promotion in communities.

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Elsden, C., Feltwell, T., Lawson, S., and Vines, J. 2019. Recipes for Progammable Money. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’19), In Press.


Elsden, C., Trotter, L., Harding, M., Davies, N., Speed, C., and Vines, J. 2019. Programmable Donations: Exploring Escrow-based Conditional Giving. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’19), In Press.


Elsden, C., Manohar, A., Briggs, J., Harding, M., Speed, C., and Vines, J. 2018. Making Sense of Blockchain Applications: A Typology for HCI. In: Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’18), Article 458.https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3174032


Elsden, C., Nissen, B., Jabbar, L., Talhouk, R., Lustig, C., Dunphy, P., Speed, C., and Vines, J. HCI for Blockchain: Studying, Designing, Critiquing and Envisioning Distributed Ledger Technologies. In: Extended Abstracts of ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’18), W28. https://doi.org/10.1145/3170427.3170602


Elsden, C., and Vines, J. 2017. Speculative Approaches to Understanding DAOs. In: Proceedings of DIS 2017 Workshop on New Value Transactions. https://goo.gl/GhDoAJ


Nissen, B., Symons, K., Tallyn, E., Speed, C., Maxwell, D., and Vines, J. 2017. New Value Transactions: Understanding and Designing for Distributed Autonomous Organisations. In: Proceedings of the ACM Conference Companion Publication on Designing Interactive Systems(DIS ’17), pp. 352-355. https://doi.org/10.1145/3064857.3064862