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Christian Cernov headshot
February 16, 20184:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)

A New Technoogical Paradigm: Blockchain


Cristian Cernov (Texas A&M University)


Ar. Abanov



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Blockchains are immutable digital ledger systems implemented without a central repository and usually without a central trusted authority. This talk will provide a comprehensive technical overview of blockchain technology. This talk is designed for audiences with little or no knowledge of blockchains and the discussion is abstracted to provide a conceptual understanding.

The purpose of this talk is to address the following questions:
  • How does a blockchain work?
  • How can a blockchain be appropriately and usefully applied to technological problems?
  • How are blockchains currently being implemented?
  • What are some constraints to their viability?

The core ideology behind blockchain emerged in 1991 at Bell Communications Research, Inc. when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta [1] proposed computationally practical procedures for digitally signing documents in a way that prevents users from feasibly changing the collection of data. The advent of the first blockchain came in 2008 when it was implemented by Satoshi Nakamoto [2] as a public ledger for all network transactions on a virtual currency called bitcoin. Blockchain implementation allowed bitcoin to become the first virtual currency that fixed the famous double-spending flaw without the use of a central repository/authority. This innovation landscape comprises only a decade of work by groups of world-class cryptographers, mathematicians, and computer scientists. Already, international currency transfers utilizing blockchain has gone from hours to minutes, as opposed to the current system, which can take days and has a lower degree of reliability. Virtual currencies are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blockchain implementation. Other applications are already in development including: delivery drones and self-driving cars, which will use blockchain to pay for services like repairs and charging stations; documenting provenance to increase transparency in academia and change the funding model of journal publishers; food traceability and RFID-based supply chain economics; and even voting.

[1] Haber, Stuart; Stornetta, W. Scott (January 1991). “How to time-stamp a digital document”. Journal of Cryptology. 3 (2): 99-111. doi:10.1007/bf00196791.
[2] Nakamoto, S., “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” 2008.

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