Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre

Fira, 847 00 Santorini, Greece

Contact: marble2019@imperial.ac.uk

© 2019 by Imperial College London

Programme

Keynotes

Blockchain Market Engineering

Speaker: Roman Beck 

Abstract:

The Bitcoin protocol illustrates the first prototype of a cryptographic economic system, which is organized both autonomously and distributive, without any point of central control or single point of failure. More precisely, it showcased the worldwide first economic system on autopilot, which might not only change the “Nature of the Firm”, but also the nature of economic value creation and development itself, on the foundation of a digitally transformed economy.  In this presentation, I will discuss current and future blockchain-based research trying to answer the question how we can engineer new markets and economies using blockchain.

Biography of the Speaker: Roman Beck is Professor at the BusinessIT department at IT University of Copenhagen. He is Head of the European Blockchain Center and Blockchain Summer Schools. Roman is Head of the Danish delegation to ISO TC 307 Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technology standardization group and Convenor of ISO TC 307 WG5 Blockchain Governance standardization. He works as Blockchain expert for the EU commission and the German parliament.

What’s next for blockchain research? From M2M commerce to self-sovereign identities for machines

Speaker: George M. Giaglis 

Abstract:

The first wave of blockchain research, innovation and implementation has been under way for almost ten years now. Distributed ledgers have created new paradigms for disintermediated value exchange and, in the process, have given rise to (sometimes irrationally inflated) expectations about their potential impact to economy and society.

Today, as we move toward a more in-depth appreciation of blockchain capabilities and limits, new research challenges arise that will demand the attention of the research community, as well as industrial practice, in coming years. In this talk, I will go through three such challenges, discussing ways in which they might influence our future research and technology development agendas: 1) Blockchain converging with other exponential technologies; 2) Blockchain fueling a world of object identities; 3) Blockchain enabling new forms of industrial organization.

Biography of the Speaker: George M. Giaglis is the Director of the Institute For the Future (IFF) at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus. He has been working on digital currencies and blockchain applications since 2012, with his main focus being on new forms of industrial organisation and the sharing economy. George is one of the first academics to research and teach on blockchain, having: designed the curriculum of the world’s first full academic degree on blockchain; led the development of blockchain credentialing technology that has resulted in the first ever publishing of academic certificates on the blockchain; taught on the disruptive innovation potential of blockchain, both at academic programs and in executive seminars worldwide; organised a number of prominent blockchain conferences and events.

Stablecoins: Design Principles, Incentives and Tradeoffs

Speaker: Garrick Hileman

Abstract:

The notorious volatility of digital assets has incentivized the creation of stablecoins, which are cryptocurrencies that are designed to minimize price volatility. This minimization of exchange rate volatility (most commonly against the US dollar) places stablecoins in stark contrast with bitcoin, which lacks an inbuilt price stability mechanism. Today, stablecoins are primarily used by cryptoasset traders to address market volatility. However, they also open up a number of new use cases (e.g., smart insurance) and are seeing  demand where it is simply impractical or impossible to use national 'fiat' currencies (e.g., trust-minimized escrow). At present, the largest stablecoins are rather simplistic in design (e.g., US dollars stored by a trusted banking custodian), while more complex 'algorithmic' stablecoins have experienced growing pains (e.g., Maker Dai) or been abandoned (e.g., Basis). Have stablecoins been over hyped? This presentation will highlight key findings from a recently completed empirical study of stablecoins, along with a discussion of different stablecoin designs and their tradeoffs.

Biography of the Speaker: Garrick Hileman is one of the world's most-cited cryptocurrency and blockchain technology researchers. He developed and taught the first UK class on blockchain technology at the University of Cambridge. Garrick is the author of a recently published stablecoins research study, the first University of Cambridge "Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study" and the follow-on "Global Blockchain Benchmarking Study". He also created and published the CoinDesk “State of Bitcoin” and “State of Blockchain” reports from 2013-2016. He was ranked as one of the 100 most influential economists in the UK and Ireland and he is regularly asked to share his research and perspective with government organizations and the FT, BBC, CNBC, WSJ, NPR, and other media. He is currently the head or research at Blockchain, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency companies, and a researcher at the London School of Economics, where he also received his PhD.

Scaling Cryptocurrencies via Off-chain Protocols

Speaker: Patrick McCorry

Abstract:

Cryptocurrencies do not scale. Bitcoin supports around 7 transactions per second and Ethereum supports 14 transactions per second.

The community are trying to scale the network by investigating new sharding and blockchain protocols. However by strictly increasing the network's throughput, it hinders the network's public verifiability as it reduces the diversity of peers with the computational power to verify transactions in real time (and thus hold the miners accountable).

Off-chain protocols are an alternative scaling approach that simply reduces the network’s load as parties transact amongst themselves instead of sending every transaction to the global network. Off-chain protocols are promising as they offer low/no fees and faster transaction finality. In this talk, we’ll provide an overview of the off-chain protocol landscape and highlight future problems that must be solved before it can become a reality.

Biography of the Speaker: Patrick McCorry is an Assistant Professor at King's College London. His focus is cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, cryptography and decentralised systems. Patrick is the UK’s first PhD graduate in Cryptocurrencies and his work has recently appeared at Devcon3 & 4, Scaling Bitcoin 2017, Breaking Bitcoin 2017 and BPASE 2018 alongside numerous academic venues. More information can be found at https://nms.kcl.ac.uk/patrick.mccorry/.

A New Measure of Crypto Asset Liquidity

Speaker: Ambre Soubiran

Abstract:

Today we look at daily traded volume (based on transactional data on exchanges) and market cap (based on # of tokens * last price) but perhaps a more accurate indicator would be to look at the volume that is "at stake", based on order-book data. After introducing the notions of fluidity / viscosity, we see how the volume at stake changes vs. share price.

Biography of the Speaker: Ambre Soubiran is the CEO of Kaiko, a technology company providing market data to the digital assets space, currently covering all traded pairs accross 100+ crypto exchanges distributed over the world. Prior to joining Kaiko, Ambre spent eight years at HSBC in London and Paris, structuring equity derivatives and equity-based financing solutions, first in the Global Markets then in the Equity Capital Markets division. There, she was successively covering private banks, institutional, and corporate clients. She has been personally interested in cryptocurrencies since 2013, and has invested in a few tech start-ups in the fields of 3D printing, foodtech, and blockchain/crypto.


Ambre holds a Bachelor and a Masters in Applied Mathematics from the Université Paris Dauphine. She has also studied Entrepreneurship and Management courses at the Solvay Business School in Brussels. 

Biography of the Speaker: Jihan Wu graduated from Peking University with Bachelors’ degree in both Economics and Psychology. Jihan is the first person to have translated the Bitcoin whitepaper into Chinese and subsequently co-founded 8btc.com, now one of the most popular Bitcoin news sites in China, in 2011.

 

In 2013, Jihan founded Bitmain as the lead angle investor, director and Co-CEO, in charge of marketing, sales, investments and investor relations. Before this he was a financial analyst and investment manager of private equity fund of funds.

Decentralization and Centralization in PoW

Speaker: Jihan Wu

Abstract:

Proof of Work (PoW) is a wonderful economy model which was reinvented by Satoshi Nakamoto to solve the double-spending problem without a central authority or without trust. It is PoW that made Bitcoin, the world's first cryptocurrency. Under the consensus mechanism of PoW, people are incentivized to create a real market economy based on open and fair competition. In this presentation, I will briefly describe PoW, its essence, its shortcomings and the factors that cause these shortcomings, resulting in lesser decentralization. Furthermore, I will also discuss some misconceptions about what causes centralization of PoW and the role of specialized hardware such as ASICs.