Blockchains have demonstrated that it is possible to provide a societal function, namely fiat money, that has so far required a central trusted party. This surprising fact compels further study: what other societal functions are technically feasible to achieve via decentralized systems? Which of these are socially desirable? What are the economic, legal, and ethical implications?
Indeed, the combination of proofs and consensus promises decentralized versions of functions that are currently top-down or centralized: PKIs, contracts, banking, markets, auctions, and elections. Meanwhile, the absence of authorities raises questions in social science, such as the proper distribution of power across stakeholders (miners, developers, users, regulators). Other questions surround the legality and ethics of blockchains (example: when there is no central party to complain to, how does one remove harmful content from the blockchain?).
This workshop will consider the implications of combining proofs and consensus. We will highlight research that studies intriguing new applications as well as the fascinating and urgent economic, legal, and ethical questions.