Egalitarian Society or Benevolent Dictatorship : The State of Cryptocurrency Governance – Semantic Scholar

In this paper we initiate a quantitative study of the decentralization of the governance structures of Bitcoin and Ethereum. In particular, we scraped the open-source repositories associated with their respective codebases and improvement proposals to find the number of people contributing to the code itself and to the overall discussion. We then present different metrics to quantify decentralization, both in each of the cryptocurrencies and, for comparison, in two popular open-source programming languages: Clojure and Rust. We find that for both cryptocurrencies and programming languages, there is usually a handful of people that accounts for most of the discussion. We also look into the effect of forks in Bitcoin and Ethereum, and find that there is little intersection between the communities of the original currencies and those of the forks

Source: Egalitarian Society or Benevolent Dictatorship : The State of Cryptocurrency Governance – Semantic Scholar

Blockchain technology and the GDPR: the beginning of a beautiful privacy whac-a-mole?

On the first day of the CPDP2019 at 10:30 we’ll have a fantastic panel on blockchain technology and GDPR.

https://www.cpdpconferences.org/cpdp-panels/blockchain-technology-and-the-gdpr-the-beginning-of-a-beautiful-privacy-whac-a-mole

• What are the main points of friction between blockchains and the GDPR?
• What are the technological privacy enhancing mechanisms that could apply?
• What are the appropriate and necessary conciliations for the creation of privacy-preserving blockchains in accordance with data protection regulation?
• Is there a market for non-compliance that blockchain technologies are best suited to serve?

The speakers include: Michèle Finck, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (DE); David Ciliberti, DG JUST (EU); Alexandra Giannopoulou, Blockchain and Society Policy Research Lab, Institute for Information Law, UvA (NL); George Danezis, UCL (UK); and Konstantinos Stylianou,
University of Leeds (UK). The panel will be moderated by Mireille Hildebrandt, VUB-LSTS (BE), and chaired by Balazs Bodo.

ABSTRACT: Individual user control of data has become a central issue in the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), creating a more demanding data protection framework for involved actors, all while coming in conflict with fundamental characteristics of blockchains. Thus, the difficulty lies in designing a system without compromising core values of both privacy regulation on the one hand and blockchain technology on the other. Given the right incentives there is no doubt GDPR compliant distributed ledgers can, and will be designed. The real question is what happens if there is persistent market/social/political interest in those blockchain implementations which do not care for, or are unable to achieve GDPR compliance. Considering the interdisciplinary nature of the main question, the proposed panel consists of invited experts selected to cover various privacy-related fields including law and computer science.

• What are the main points of friction between blockchains and the GDPR?
• What are the technological privacy enhancing mechanisms that could apply?
• What are the appropriate and necessary conciliations for the creation of privacy-preserving blockchains in accordance with data protection regulation?
• Is there a market for non-compliance that blockchain technologies are best suited to serve?

All Smart Contracts Are Ambiguous by James Grimmelmann :: SSRN

Smart contracts are written in programming languages rather than in natural languages. This might seem to insulate them from ambiguity, because the meaning of a program is determined by technical facts rather than by social ones.

It does not. Smart contracts can be ambiguous, too, because technical facts depend on socially determined ones. To give meaning to a computer program, a community of programmers and users must agree on the semantics of the programming language in which it is written. This is a social process, and a review of some famous controversies involving blockchains and smart contracts shows that it regularly creates serious ambiguities. In the most famous case, The DAO hack, more than $150 million in virtual currency turned on the contested semantics of a blockchain-based smart-contract programming language.

Source: All Smart Contracts Are Ambiguous by James Grimmelmann :: SSRN

Professors From 7 US Colleges, Including MIT and Stanford, Have Teamed Up To Design a Cryptocurrency Capable Of Processing Thousands of Transactions a Second – Slashdot

Professors from seven U.S. colleges including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley have teamed up to create a digital currency that they hope can achieve speeds Bitcoin users can only dream of without compromising on its core tenant of decentralization. The Unit-e, as the virtual currency is called, is the first initiative of Distributed Technology Research, a non-profit foundation formed by the academics with backing from hedge fund Pantera Capital Management LP to develop decentralized technologies.

https://slashdot.org/story/19/01/17/1728204/professors-from-7-us-colleges-including-mit-and-stanford-have-teamed-up-to-design-a-cryptocurrency-capable-of-processing-thousands-of-transactions-a-second

The limits of trust-free systems: A literature review on blockchain technology and trust in the sharing economy – ScienceDirect

Abstract

At the tip of the hype cycle, trust-free systems based on blockchain technology promise to revolutionize interactions between peers that require high degrees of trust, usually facilitated by third party providers. Peer-to-peer platforms for resource sharing represent a frequently discussed field of application for “trust-free” blockchain technology. However, trust between peers plays a crucial and complex role in virtually all sharing economy interactions. In this article, we hence shed light on how these conflicting notions may be resolved and explore the potential of blockchain technology for dissolving the issue of trust in the sharing economy. By means of a dual literature review we find that 1) the conceptualization of trust differs substantially between the contexts of blockchain and the sharing economy, 2) blockchain technology is to some degree suitable to replace trust in platform providers, and that 3) trust-free systems are hardly transferable to sharing economy interactions and will crucially depend on the development of trusted interfaces for blockchain-based sharing economy ecosystems.

Source: The limits of trust-free systems: A literature review on blockchain technology and trust in the sharing economy – ScienceDirect

European Review of Private Law – Kluwer Law Online

The European Review of Private Law has a special issue on Smart contracts.

http://www.kluwerlawonline.com/toc.php?area=Journals&mode=bypub&level=5&values=Journals~~European+Review+of+Private+Law~Volume+26+%282018%29

 

Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche

All of this is a sign of a micro-economy in trouble, as Muhammad Salman Anjum, an investor who eats dinner alone by himself in the buffet hall each night, explains. He has a pragmatic take on all these beautiful young women having blockchain exhaustively explained to them by schlubby-looking guys who can’t believe their luck. ”One of the elements in blockchain is about fundraising the ICOs. So you can guess why they are here—to pamper the investors. Because it’s tough now.”In 2017, Salman says, it was relatively easy to raise funds for a nine-figure ICO. Now that crypto prices have crashed, demand on “the supply side of the ICOs is booming, and the demand for the investors is shrinking.” Since the actual mood at this moment is conservative-going-on-terrified, these glamorous models seem to have been hired to give the ship—and the passengers’ selfies—the glitzy appearance of the boom times of 2017.One of the ways men bond is by demonstrating collective power over women. This is why business deals are still done in strip clubs, even in Silicon Valley, and why tech conferences are famous for their “booth babes.” It creates an atmosphere of complicity and privilege. It makes rich men partners in crime. This is useful if you plan to get ethically imaginative with your investments. Hence the half-naked models, who are all working a lot harder than any of the guys in shirtsleeves.The cruise’s panelists all tout decentralization’s promises of shared responsibility, community, and freedom, but the version I see here means that nobody knows precisely who is responsible for all of this. It’s nobody’s specific fault that we’re trapped on a floating live-action walkthrough of how un-trammelled free-market capitalism can be bad for women, given that money and power are things women tend to have less of.

Source: Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche