by Edward Kang
Blockchain technology has opened up a range of possibilities for secure, immutable transactions of all kinds. It promises a safer data transfer system, yet its promises and limitations have yet to be fully explored. Human errors, transaction costs, and security attacks must also be evaluated before when integrating blockchain into our vital governmental and economic systems.
In response to growing interest in this technology, Assembly Bill 2658 called for the establishment of a statewide Blockchain Working Group to evaluate the risks, benefits, best practices, and legal implications of blockchain for the people of California. California Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer has named CITRIS Executive Director Camille Crittenden chair of the Blockchain Working Group.
“Distributed ledger systems hold promising opportunities not only for cryptocurrency but for areas of social impact — such as documenting land and property, ensuring chain of custody for legal evidence and supply chains, and giving consumers greater control over their financial and health data — applications in utilities like energy and water, and more,” said Crittenden.
Crittenden will lead a group of 20 experts with technology, business, government, and legal expertise to evaluate privacy risks, benefits, legal implications, and best practices for integrating blockchain into government and business. Her team’s ultimate goal will be to gather input from a broad range of blockchain-affected stakeholders and present this information and recommendations in a report to the California Legislature.
Crittenden’s leadership experience uniquely prepares her for this position. After earning her Ph.D. from Duke University, she served as executive director of the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law, as Assistant Dean for Development with International and Area Studies at UC Berkeley, and co-founded the CITRIS Policy Lab and the Women in Technology Initiative at the University of California. Along with her role as executive director at CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, Crittenden brings to this position a deep understanding of technology’s applications for civic engagement, government transparency and accountability, and the digital divide.
“I am honored to lead this important working group on possible blockchain applications for the state of California,” said Crittenden.
The group will hold a kick-off meeting next month to outline the key components that will make up the final report and recommendations. A report will be delivered to the legislature by July 1, 2020.
Photo: Adriel Olmos
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners. Find out more at CITRIS-UC.org.