The upcoming decentralization singularity

September 30, 2014

What are the wider consequences of the innovative technology that underpins the Bitcoin currency? This meetup features Ethereum CCO Stephan Tual, who will highlight some far-reaching scenarios, including the establishment of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.

This meeting has not been announced yet and this event announcement is draft.

About Ethereum

Ethereum is a worldwide, decentralized singleton in current development with a go live date of March 2015. Ethereum’s promise is to leverage this singleton to build a new web, but without the webservers, and therefore without the middlemen so costly to everyday’s transactions.

Ethereum can be thought of as a programmable distributed network. This has implications going far beyond the seemingly obvious applications such as financing agreements. The fact that decentralized networks, are, by their very design, resistant to tampering and fraud, also permits a range of other solutions to everyday problems regarding identity and verification which are currently solved at great expense. Voting machines, healthcare software, registration of legal documents such as wills, transfer of title to goods and land, reputation systems, and even traffic navigations systems or social networks can be build on a network where users stay in control of their personal information — and funds — at all times.

Because ethereum agents live as independent processing units on a decentralized network, making use of existing services instead of reimplementing basic functionality is common sense. A decentralized version of Ebay could for example interact with an escrow contract, a reputation service, a postal delivery tracking service and a distributed storage layer.

Introducing DAOs

Taking this concept further are ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organizations’ (DAOs).

Consisting of one or more contracts, a DAO is funded by a group of like minded individuals, who subsequently own ‘shares’ in the project. DAOs operate completely transparently without human management, and are no longer subject to voting or other control by their creators or any other stakeholder. A DAO will survive for as long as it can offer valuable services to its user base and earn revenue sufficient to cover its survival costs.

About the speaker

Stephan Tual joined the Ethereum project as CCO in January 2014. His current focus is on smart contracts/smart property and the development of decentralized applications deployed on top of a blockchain infrastructure. He is particularly interested in the potential for societal change engendered by users regaining control over both their funds and personal information.

Stephan is also the founder and CEO of the world’s first crypto-consultancy, Ursium (http://www.ursium.com/). He regularly speaks at conferences, community events and meetups, and is the media contact for the Ethereum project.

Suggested viewing & reading

Meeting Logistics

2pm-4pm, Saturday 8th November 2014.

Venue: Room <to-be-announced>, Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room TBA is on the TBA-th floor in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub - The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ.

Event hashtag

(to be decided)

Covering meeting costs

A small fee (£5) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room costs. Please pay in advance, online.

This will be refunded if the meeting is cancelled or rearranged, or if the attendee cancels at least 3 days before the meetup.

Alternatively, if there are still seats available, payment can be made in cash at the door on the day. (Requesting payment in advance assists with accurate planning of the event.)

Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge – please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.