MIT Bitcoin Expo Explores Emerging Market Challenges And Opportunities

March 7, 2016 13:39 UTC

The second day of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Bitcoin Expo in Cambridge, Mass. featured speakers on a variety of topics ranging from technical issues like the size of the blockchain to social concerns like social inequities that technology perpetuates, according to Nasdaq.

Hosted by the MIT Bitcoin Club, the third annual MIT Bitcoin Expo brought together students, developers and business founders to discuss both technical issues and potential solutions in today’s bitcoin climate.

Technology Reinforces Social Inequities

Latanya Sweeney, chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission and director of the Data Privacy Lab at Harvard University talked about social inequities in some technologies such as the Internet and urged attendees to consider these inequities in developing new products. On Google, according to her recent paper, a black-identified name was 25% more likely to get an ad suggestive of an arrest record. The Princeton Review, which provides standardized testing preparation, raised prices by 180% on average for people residing in mostly Asian neighborhoods. She also said Asian Arbnb hosts earn 20% less than Caucasian hosts when listing homes.

Latanya urged listeners to be aware of these types of discrimination when creating new infrastructures using digital currencies.

Enigma Computes Encrypted Data

Guy Zyskind, co-founder of Enigma, a blockchain-based technology that allows computing on encrypted data, explained his technology. Enigma utilizes a decentralized computer network that allows users to query and compute using data that stays encrypted throughout the whole process. In splitting a big, encrypted data set into smaller packets and only compiling the final decrypted query on the client’s computer, Enigma moves theoretical distributed computing to reality using blockchain as the backend.

Alex Zinder, Nasdaq’s director of global software development, reviewed the development of Nasdaq Linq, a blockchain-supported platform for managing unregistered securities. He talked about areas where Linq can streamline the process.

Kathleen Breitman, a strategy associate at R3, the digital ledger consortium of 42 banks, fielded questions concerning the strategy and viability of R3’s private blockchain.

Shaul Kfir, CTO of Digital Asset Holdings, Melanie Shapiro, CEO of Case and Eric Piscini, principal at Deloitte Consulting joined Breitman and Zinder on a panel to discuss integrating bitcoin into traditional finance.

Also read: R3 blockchain consortium adds 12 more banks; will soon integrate financial services firms

Blockchain Trivia Contest Announced

Dean Masley, executive director of the Blockchain Education Network, encouraged developers to practice building the blockchain. He announced that an inter-campus trivia contest called Blockchain Madness will take place this March between MIT, New York University, Concordia University and other schools.

Dominik Schlener discussed the implementation of Public Votes, a voting platform he developed with Ethereum that can help countries save up to 99.78% of the cost associated with collecting and counting ballots.

Michael Gord, the founder of McGill University’s Bitcoin Club, reviewed his experience hosting the school’s Bitcoin Airdrop, where students got $10 in free bitcoin for helping to grow user adoption.

The expo featured a discussion on increasing the size of the blockchain, limitations of blockchain-based voting, and strategies to identity verification on the blockchain from Justin Newton, CEO of Netki.

Jeremy Rubin, former MIT Bitcoin Club executive director, ended the conference talking about macroeconomic theory and the way in which it connects to the bitcoin community. “We shouldn’t treat these community debates as battles to win, but rather as competitions to be proud of,” he said.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.

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