UKSG webinar – Blockchain in research and education

Thanks to Martin Hamilton, Futurist at Jisc, for an excellent overview of how we got here, where we are, and what might be next.  Catch up with the slides from this webinar, and here’s a reading list of things mentioned:

  • History of bitcoin
  • Ethereum is “an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract (scripting) functionality.”
  • Namecoin is “an experimental open-source technology which improves decentralization, security, censorship resistance, privacy, and speed of certain components of the Internet infrastructure such as DNS and identities.”
  • Blockcerts – “The Open Initiative for Blockchain Certificates: Build apps that issue and verify blockchain-based certificates for academic credentials, professional certifications, workforce development, and civic records.”
  • Blockchain for Science  – “To bring science towards reproducible results, autonomous and free data handling and incentivisation of true innovation; to guide the social, technical, cultural, political, economical and legal impacts of the blockchain (r)evolution to science; to support scientific communication and education; to free science from any kind of censorship, central point of failure or other potential deadends.”
  • Provenance – “We enable great businesses to build trust in their goods and supply chain. Provenance powered data helps shoppers choose your product.”
  • Sovrin is “a global, decentralized identity network. It delivers the Internet’s missing identity layer. Sovrin allows people and organisations to create portable, self-sovereign digital identities which they control, and which can’t be taken away by any government or organisation. It uses a public permissioned ledger which is governed by the Sovrin Foundation.”
  • Avoiding the pointless blockchain project
1. Must be a database, 2. Must have multiple writers/updaters, 3. You don't trust the folk updating the database, 4. You don't need a trsuted intermediary to vouch for updates / updaters, 5. Transactions are often dependent on each other, 6. Database contains rules for assessing the legitimacy of transactions, 7. Database contains a mechanism for conflict resolution, 8. Information / asset in database can be drawn down e.g. funds transfer

Avoiding the pointless blockchain project – 8 rules

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