SCRF was invited to host an independent research track as part of the 2021 Smart Contract Summit. We chose to present five panel discussions that touch on some of the most timely issues facing the blockchain space: “Identity and Reputation”, “Governance Theory”, “Governance Implementation”, “Privacy and SNARKS”, and “CBDCs and Blockchain”.
In this series of threads, we will be providing some deeper insight into the panel topics, the participants, and where interested viewers can find their most relevant works.
The Smart Contract Research Forum (SCRF) is where academics, researchers, and industry leaders from all over the world come together to discuss research, solicit thoughtful peer review, and find new projects on which to collaborate. You can find additional information about our programs, grants, and initiatives in our repo; or feel free to join us in our chat.
Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are currently being explored by a significant portion of Central Banks globally. This raises many questions from the specific problems that CBDCs are solving to what these solutions might actually look like. In this panel, we hear from academics from the EU and US on the current state of CBDCs, relevant concerns, and why this activity is taking place now.
Andrew Miller is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in Electrical and Computer Engineering and affiliate in Computer Science, where he leads the Decentralized Systems Lab. He’s also an Associate Director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), and a technical advisor for Chainlink Labs.
His research interests involve computer security, specifically the design of secure decentralized systems and cryptocurrencies. He combines techniques from programming languages, cryptography and distributed computing.
Some of Andrew’s work:
- Design choices for central bank digital currency: Policy and technical considerations. Sarah Allen, Srdjan Capkun, Ittay Eyal, Giulia Fanti, Bryan Ford, James Grimmelmann, Ari Juels, Kari Kostiainen, Sarah Meiklejohn, Andrew Miller, Eswar Prasad, Karl Wüst, and Fan Zhang. Brookings 2020.
- An Empirical Analysis of Privacy in the Lightning Network. George Kappos, Haaroon Yousaf, Ania Piotrowska, Sanket Kanjalkar, Sergi Delgado-Segura, Andrew Miller, Sarah Meiklejohn. Financial Crypto 2021.
- CanDID: Can-Do Decentralized Identity with Legacy Compatibility, Sybil-Resistance, and Accountability Deepak Maram, Harjasleen Malvai, Fan Zhang, Nerla Jean-Louis, Alexander Frolov, Tyler Kell, Tyrone Lobban, Christine Moy, Ari Juels, and Andrew Miller. (to appear IEEE S&P 2021)
Relevant links for Andrew:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/socrates1024
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-miller-43272917/
- Website: https://soc1024.ece.illinois.edu/
Ariel Zetlin-Jones is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the interaction of finance and the macroeconomy, including an examination of the causes of financial crises and the quantitative effects of disturbances in financial markets on broader economic activity. Since 2016, Ariel has been researching the economics of blockchains: how economic incentives may be used to shape blockchain consensus as stable coin protocols as well as the novel and economically large centralized markets that currently support cryptocurrency trading. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Monetary Economics.
Ariel holds both a Doctorate and Masters in Economics from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Economy and Mathematics from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Some of Ariel’s work:
- Currency stability using blockchain technology Bryan Routledge, Ariel Zetlin-Jones. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 104155. 2021.
- Towards Understanding Cryptocurrency Derivatives: A Case Study of BitMEX Kyle Soska, Jin-Dong Dong, Alex Khodaverdian, Ariel Zetlin-Jones, Bryan Routledge, Nicolas Christin, Proceedings of the Web Conference 2021, 45-57.
- Getting blockchain incentives right Zahra Ebrahimi, Bryan Routledge, Ariel Zetlin-Jones. Tech. rep., Carnegie Mellon University Working Paper. 2019.
Relevant links for Ariel:
- Website: Ariel Zetlin-Jones's Homepage
Prof. Dr. Philipp Sandner has founded the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center (FSBC). From 2018 to 2020, he was ranked as one of the “top 30” economists by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a major newspaper in Germany. Further, he belonged to the “Top 40 under 40” — a ranking by the German business magazine Capital. Since 2017, he has been a member of the FinTech Council of the Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany. He is also on the Board of Directors of Avaloq Ventures and of the Blockchain Founders Group, a Liechtenstein-based venture capital company focusing on blockchain startups.
The expertise of Prof. Sandner includes blockchain technology in general, crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, the digital programmable Euro, tokenization of assets and rights and digital identity.
Some of Philipp’s work:
- Can Adaptive Seriational Risk Parity Tame Crypto Portfolios? Jochen Papenbrock, Peter Schwendner, Philipp G Sandner. Available at SSRN 3877143. 2021.
- Cryptocurrencies, DLT and crypto assets–the road to regulatory recognition in Europe. Agata Ferreira, Philipp G Sandner, Thomas Dünser. Forthcoming in: Handbook on Blockchain, Editors: My Thai. 2021.
- KOSMoS Private Blockchain Toolkit: How to Use Hyperledger in an Industrial DLT Project. Martin Schäffner, Constantin Lichti, Jonas Gross, Philipp Sandner. 2021.
Relevant links for Philipp:
Some of the questions we explore during the panel include:
- What is your working definition of CBDCs or what do you see as the minimum design choices that define a CBDC?
- What is a CBDC and how are they similar or different from other blockchain based projects?
- What problem are CBDCs solving?
- Consumer vs banks vs capital markets vs other stakeholders
- How do blockchains and CBDCs interact with each other?
- Why is the time now for CBDCs?
- What is the current state of the CBDC narrative?
- What are the main challenges that CBDC projects face?
- Will CBDCs be built on top of public or private chains?
- How will CBDCs and decentralized cryptocurrencies coexist?
- Are there privacy considerations to be discussed?
- Do you see a ‘race’ to roll out a CBDC with over 80 countries actively exploring or experimenting with the idea?