David S. H. Rosenthal
Stanford University (retired)
We’re in a period when blockchain or “distributed ledger technology” is the Solution to Everything™, so it is inevitable that it will be proposed as the solution to problems in academic communication and digital preservation. These proposals typically assume, despite the evidence, that real-world blockchain implementations actually deliver the theoretical attributes of decentralization, immutability, security, anonymity, lack of trust, etc. The proposers appear to believe that Satoshi Nakamoto revealed the infallible Bitcoin protocol to the world on golden tablets; they typically don’t appreciate or cite the nearly three decades of research and implementation that led up to it. This talk will discuss the mismatch between theory and practice in blockchain technology, and how it applies to various proposed applications of interest to the CNI audience.