Exploring Blockchain for Alternative Finance

Exploring Blockchain for Alternative Finance was a multi-stakeholder working group from 2018 to 2019 established with the aim of reflecting emerging and established trends around blockchain for the crowdfunding sector and identifying opportunities and challenges of implementing blockchain technologies.

Blockchain promises to offer the potential to achieve considerable cost savings, efficiencies and resilience. We embrace these developments as a key innovation potential for the European crowdfunding and alternative finance industry.

The goal of this working group is to leverage the potential of blockchain technologies in the alternative finance sector by analysing the state of the art, understanding challenges and opportunities and providing recommendations for enabling and supporting blockchain empowered use cases for different target groups of the sector, namely crowdfunding platforms, investors, start-ups and SMEs and policymakers.

Key Questions

  • What is the status quo of the blockchain technologies and what is the outlook, including solving current issues like scalability, security and privacy?
  • How will blockchain technology disrupt the crowdfunding industry?
  • Which elements of the crowdfunding business model are affected?
  • What can investors, start-ups and SMEs active in the field of alternative finance learn from current use cases?
  • How can the EU and its member states enable start-ups and SMEs to profit from blockchain technology and support further use cases in the field of alternative finance?
  • What can the EU and its member states do to build the foundation for being the main blockchain hub in the world?

The European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) executes initiatives aimed at innovating, representing, promoting and protecting the European crowdfunding industry as a key aspect of innovation within alternative finance and financial technology. Therefore, we focus on the implication of the blockchain for the (alternative) finance industry with the goal to share our findings with the relevant stakeholders including policymakers.

The Working Group  is organised by Christin Friedrich, the Chair of the non-executive board of ECN and Conny Weber, Senior Research Analyst at ECN.


  • Prof. Heike Hölzner, HTW Berlin, Germany
  • Paolo Tasca, UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, UK
  • Dr. Dusan Gajic, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Jovan Tisma, RealMarket, Serbia
  • Magne Fretheim, blockbonds, Norway
  • Robert Michels, Dentons, Germany
  • Jens Rockel, Fraunhofer, Germany
Contributing Members
  • Reinhard Willfort, 1000×1000, Austria
  • Matthew Caruana, Zaar, Malta
  • Coenraad de Vries, Oneplanetcrowd, Netherlands
  • Lisa Hees, Startgreen, Netherlands
  • Ingi Rafn Sigursson, Karolina Funds, Iceland
  • Céline Mahinc, Anacofi, France
  • Erik Ackermann, Fraunhofer, Germany

Dr Conny Weber, Christin Friedrich and Oliver Gajda are represented the European Crowdfunding Network within the Working Group.

Roadmap & Milestones

  • 2018: Analysing the state of the art and collecting existing best practices, with the aim of encouraging a joint effort towards the understanding and exploitation of innovative alternative finance business models
  • 2019: Identifying opportunities and key challenges by entering into dialogue with crowdfunding platforms, start-ups and SMEs, Investors and European institutions