Bitcoin and the Blockchain
What are they? Will they reshape the world?

Arvind Narayanan

2364th Meeting Abstract
Friday, September 9, 2016 at 8:00 PM

About the Lecture

The digital currency Bitcoin and its underlying technology, the blockchain, have taken the world by storm. Supporters claim that they will fundamentally reshape payments, economics, and even politics around the world. Skeptics say that they are a haven for fraud and will suffer an inevitable and spectacular collapse.

This talk will provide an accessible introduction to Bitcoin and the blockchain. We will trace their development to the history of activist movements advocating privacy and civil liberties through cryptographic technology. Through this we will appreciate the true potential of crypto-currencies, as well as their limits. We will see past the hype and use Bitcoin as a case study of how technology rearranges power.


About the Speaker

Arvind NarayananArvind Narayanan is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Princeton. He also is an Affiliated Faculty Member of the Princeton Center for IT Policy and holds an appointment as affiliate scholar of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Arvind leads a research group at Princeton studying the security, anonymity, and stability of Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies. He also leads the Web Transparency and Accountability project at Princeton studying how companies collect and use personal information.

Arvind's doctoral research showed that widely used data anonymization methods are broken in fundamental ways. He received the 2008 Privacy Enhancing Technologies Award for this work. He is the lead author of a textbook on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. He teaches a Massive Open Online Course on the same topic, which had 35,000 students in its first iteration. He is the recipient of the first U.S. government funding for research on cryptocurrencies. His work has been covered in numerous journals and publications, including NPR and BBC News. Arvind earned his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin and did postdoctoral work at Stanford University.

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