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Integrated Microsystems Laboratory Seminar

“A Journey through Blockchains” or How Not to Miss the Forest for the Merkle Trees

Alex Daskalov
KN0X Industries

January 30, 2018 at  11:00 AM
McConnell Engineering Room 603


What started as a radical experiment sparked by Satoshi's landmark paper published less than ten years ago has exploded into one of the hottest research areas to emerge in recent memory. Bringing together top academics from a range of disciplines, this nascent yet quickly expanding research frontier has exposed a massive set of problems that are desperately yearning to be tackled by creative minds. With profound implications for the fabric of our society, and the potential to overturn incumbent socioeconomic models and the basic tenets of human organization, cooperation, and governance, the world is watching intently. In this seminar, Alex Daskalov will distill the key areas developing in this space, and a collection of research directions that will be traversed in the coming decades. From novel Byzantine agreement protocols touching on the core of a blockchain's ability to generate trust-less consensus, through applying zero knowledge proofs across both privacy and scalability challenges, to the use of formal methods for the all-important guarantees of correctness, this is a research area thirsting for top-tier academics. We are still in the early days of these technologies, and there are many interesting problems to explore with important consequences should solutions be found for them.

Speaker Bio:

Alex Daskalov (McGill B.Eng Software Engineering), is a co-founder and the CTO of KNØX Industries, a venture backed startup building the first cryptocurrency custody platform. At KNØX, Alex works on a broad range of deep technology problems in the blockchain realm. Prior to KNØX, Alex co-founded Rhodium Labs, a Montreal based research firm focused on distributed systems and computational finance whose clients included large actors in defense, insurance, and finance industries. He’s excited and optimistic about the future of decentralized systems and their potential to help humanity produce novel social systems that drive human co-operation.