Archive, Article

Trading value across the IoT?

Explore the future of value beyond money in a dynamic workshop activity, run by you!


The world has changed.  The push economy that has long dominated the way we consume products and services has been disrupted by a new pull economy, characterised by platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, where consumers take part in providing and shaping the services provided.  The rise of the digital currency Bitcoin, along with its supporting technology Blockchain, offers a radical new model of peer-to-peer trading, which raises questions about our existing economic models, and threatens to undermine long accepted financial power structures.  This has precipitated an explosion of new products and thinking around decentralised trading of goods and services. Value comes in many forms, whether we’re exchanging currency or personal data, exploring peer-to-peer trading between individuals, organisations and devices across the Internet of Things (IoT) is an essential part of understanding this new space.

The Design Informatics team at Edinburgh University have developed a workshop called Block Exchange. It’s a fast-paced activity that will open minds to alternative means of value exchange. The aim is to consider the potential for social change and disruption, and explore the wealth of new scenarios and applications this technology might support. Using Lego to simulate the Blockchain, participants will experiment with different ways of trading, starting from the basic acquisition of resources, through a fluctuating market and finally exploring peer-to-peer trading of value where anything goes!

This workshop is for anyone interested in exploring this rapidly developing new territory and is aimed primarily at people with non-technical backgrounds who want to explore the possibilities of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. People skilled with technology can also benefit, especially if they are new to Blockchain, as this is more about opening up ideas on value rather than a technological explanation.

The Design Informatics team have run this workshop at numerous events and venues. We have now compiled a toolkit with all the information and resources required to run it, so anyone can have a go!

For more information and to download the toolkit visit the project website-

Any queries please contact Ella Tallyn: