Career Services Panel Discusses and Explains Blockchain
Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation
April 16, 2019
Many researchers, analysts, policymakers, and others need to understand the probable, possible, and long-term impacts of blockchain technology — its opportunities and risks — to develop policy and strategy and to make design choices for governments, firms, and the public.
For that reason, Career Services hosted a panel discussion, “Blockchain: The Second Decade,” on April 9. Prof. Sale Lilly, who co-teaches “Introduction to Blockchain Technology,” moderated the event.
Lilly explained that blockchain was originally developed to secure economic transactions—specifically, the cryptocurrency market. It allows digital information to be disseminated but not copied. Blocks of data are stored on a distributed set of computers with no single owner, making transactions both transparent and secure, as any attempt to corrupt a data block would require making the same alteration across millions of systems.
Best of all, he said, blockchain transactions are nearly free, aside from the infrastructure investment. But for this reason, some traditional businesses that collect fees for transactions processed on proprietary systems are threatened by emerging blockchain technology. And these new approaches also pose challenges for federal regulatory bodies.
The event’s three panelists represented academia, industry, and management consulting.
Bhaskar Krishnamachari, an engineering professor at the University of Southern California, discussed the key research needs of the blockchain industry required, particularly a solution that reconciles blockchain and federal audit requirements.
Stephanie Hurder, partner and founder of the blockchain company Prysm Group, spoke on the business case for blockchain and related policy concerns regarding antitrust laws that were not designed with blockchain solutions in mind.
And blockchain architect Matt Smith, of Spring Labs, discussed existing blockchain applications for identity management, target advertising that relies on blockchain-enabled user profiles, and the general strengths and weaknesses of blockchain’s primary programming language, Solidity.
Among the more than 50 attendees were Pardee RAND students and alumni and RAND staff. The event concluded with a networking reception and chili dinner.
Stephanie Hurder is Partner and Founding Economist of Prysm Group, a firm that specializes in economic and governance design for blockchain companies, institutions, and governments.
Bhaskar Krishnamachari is an Engineering Professor and Director of the USC Viterbi Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things.
Matt Smith is a Researcher and Engineering Architect at Spring Labs, which uses blockchain technology to build a decentralized network for identity and credit.
Sale Lilly, moderator, is a Senior Policy Analyst at RAND Corporation and Professor of "Introduction to Blockchain Technology" at Pardee RAND Graduate School.
Panel Discussion and Networking Reception
Photos by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation