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Blockchain for the Public Good Panel

CITRIS Research Exchange Seminar Series Fall 2020

Talk Title: Blockchain for the Public Good Panel

Speaker(s): Panelists include Brian Behlendorf (Executive Director, Hyperledger), Ben Bartlett (Partner, Tackett Bartlett LLP), and Michele Benedetto Neitz (Professor of Law, Golden Gate University School of Law). Moderated by Camille Crittenden, Ph.D., Executive Director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.

Abstract: Blockchain technology has gained notoriety over the past decade as a platform for cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, which has been used for illicit exchange of weapons and drugs, as well as paying off hackers whose ransomware holds computer systems hostage. At the same time, researchers and developers have been exploring the use of blockchain and the broader domain of distributed ledger technology for more beneficial applications, such as in healthcare, education, property title, and public finance.

California lawmakers commissioned a task force in 2019 to study the potential of blockchain for public sector applications by creating the Blockchain Working Group. The 20-member group, including those speaking today, comprised experts in computer science, cybersecurity, information technology, law, and policy. We were charged with drafting a working definition of blockchain, providing advice to State offices and agencies considering blockchain platforms, and offering guidance to policymakers to foster an open and equitable regulatory environment for the technology in California.

This talk will draw on the panelists’ expertise in the fundamental computer science and security concerns of blockchain, its applications for public finance, and ethical considerations of its development. We will also discuss the experience of working with a broad group of stakeholders to create a roadmap for policymakers, CIOs, and other leaders considering blockchain solutions for public sector applications.

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