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Part of a panel conversation, first presented at the UC Berkeley Blockchain Course on April 23, 2018
Voice over: opportunities or just dystopias?
• These slides contain names of specific projects. This is for illustrative
purposes only and is not intended to be seen as an endorsement or
• The contents herein does not reflect the views or opinions of anyone
else but myself.
• I am not a lawyer.
Okay, so let’s assume for the moment that all of
the problems in the world can and will be solved
because of magical “blockchains”…
• How much different would living behind the GFW be if all commercial
activity is being monitored, stored, and chronicled with a
• Arguably: not too different under these existing circumstances
(maybe worse depending on who you are?)
(2) Inability to monitor (majority of) illicit activity
• With the advent of cross-chain interoperability, even if one or two
networks are taken down, other chains can continue to move data
and value between one another
• Bulletproofs / SNARKS effective at obfuscating sender/receiver information
• Coupled with decentralized exchanges (IDEX) and vending machine
exchanges (like Shapeshift) as well as whitelisted exchanges
(Coinbase) – price discovery and liquidity can and will exist for dozens
of coins, potentially enabling near permanent confidentiality to savvy
• Will be hard for data analytics / forensics to be done to identify illicit activity
(need to rely on undercover work again)
(4) Why do enterprises care?
● Remove reconciliation processes and automate workflows
● Do not want to create another clearing house and CCPs (lots of
those already exist)
● Do not want to rely on just one organization to run a database
● Looked at cryptocurrencies, but none of these were fit-for-purpose
● Most cryptocurrencies have probabilistic not deterministic finality
● Need legal hooks / SLAs, not interested in anarchic chains
• 25 years ago cypherpunks and early Web promoters marketed a
world that looks very different in reality: are we in a dystopia today?
• Voluntary self-radicalization, GFW, permanent fake news cycles, chronic
visible divide on majors issues reinforced in digitized echo chambers… all
made possible by technology and ideas conjured up decades ago
• If blockchains and/or DLT is as useful as most of its vocal proponents
say they are, there will inevitably be tradeoffs
• On the one hand, all digitally connected commerce could conceivably be
traced and enable potential legal recourse
• On the other hand, this also enables abuse both by policy makers and savvy