Fall 2019

Blockchain in Society: Applications, Economics, Law, and Ethics

Nov. 18Nov. 22, 2019

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Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell Tech), Abhi Shelat (Khoury College of Computer Science, Northeastern University), Peter Van Valkenburgh (Coin Center)

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.

Further details about this workshop will be posted in due course. Enquiries may be sent to the organizers workshop-proofs3 [at] lists [dot] simons [dot] berkeley [dot] edu (at this address).

All events take place in the Calvin Lab auditorium.

Registration is required to attend this workshop. Space may be limited, and you are advised to register early. The link to the registration form will appear on this page approximately 10 weeks before the workshop. To submit your name for consideration, please register and await confirmation of your acceptance before booking your travel.

Invited Participants: 

Eli Ben-Sasson (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology), Amey Bhangale (The Weizmann Institute of Science), Dan Boneh (Stanford University), Joseph Bonneau (NYU), Jonathan Bootle (IBM Research- Zurich), Benedikt Bünz (Stanford University), Jing Chen (Stony Brook University), Vincent Danos (CNRS), Primavera De Filippi (CNRS), Stefan Dziembowski (University of Warsaw), Chaya Ganesh (Aarhus University), Sergey Gorbunov (University of Waterloo), Prahladh Harsha (TIFR), Justin Holmgren (Princeton University), Yael Kalai (MSR), Mike Luby (ICSI), Giulio Malavolta (Friedrich-Alexander University (Erlangen-Nürnberg)), David Mazières (Stanford University), Claudio Orlandi (Aarhus University), Rafael Pass (Cornell University), Oxana Poburinnaya (Boston University), Alex Psomas (Carnegie Mellon University), Omer Reingold (Stanford University), Amit Sahai (UCLA), Clara Shikhelman (Tel Aviv University), Eran Tromer (Tel Aviv University), Muthu Venkitasubramaniam (University of Rochester), Eylon Yogev (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology), Vassilis Zikas (University of Edinburgh)