Presentation: Building Trust Machines using the Block Chain



10:35am - 11:25am

Day of week:

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the key capabilities of blockchain technology. 
  • Learn the wide applicability of blockchains and demonstrate use cases beyond finance. 
  • Understand how to experiment with blockchain development tools and integrate blockchain technologies in your application..


We reap massive benefits from working together. But since the early days of our societies, trust boundaries between individuals, businesses, institutions and governments prevent us from collaborating and dealing freely with each other. In order for such economic actors to engage in economic activity with each other, they must cross these trust boundaries – invisible boundaries stemming from the risk that interests of actors that do not otherwise know each other are not aligned which are often prohibitively expensive to cross.

The blockchain can be seen as the core of a trust machine that people can use cheaply to replace the human and labor intensive processes we have employed so far in order to overcome trust boundaries.

In this talk we will discuss how and why blockchain works so well and show how it can be generalised well beyond its existing well known domains like payments, to allow many new and exciting types of distributed collaboration.


QCon: What are some of the interesting use cases that you are developing or that you have seen with blockchain?
Ken: So far in most use cases people tried to gain efficiencies from using blockchain technology in existing processes. The actually interesting and exciting applications will be seen where they enable mash-ups of various services – a general development that we’ve been observing enabled by API’s that blockchains will vastly accelerate.
Think of trade finance where you have the interface between financial transaction platforms or document management systems. Right now, you don’t have a system that all these platforms talk to – unless you resort to a third party provider. Yet there is a lot of potential for optimizing processes if you had such a system that everyone could trust.
QCon: Can you give me a high-level overview of the talk?
Ken: I will start with what the Internet has given us so far: . This is a fast exchange of information – missing a trust layer. A trust layer allows you to actually come to do transactions in an open fashion with each other. Then I would go into some specific examples from supply chains, energy, and IoT.
In the case of a supply chain, it is not possible today to access information about the origin of products in a trustful manner. I will show why a blockchain architecture could be used to help here.
QCon: Is the tooling that you are talking about open source technology or proprietary?
Ken: It’s open source technology.
The core technology that we built is a client that lets you run or interface with a blockchain through a JavaScript API with a JSON RPC. I think how easy it is for a developer to play with the tools is really the biggest selling point.
QCon: Is this something that is accessible for developers to start using right away?
Ken: Yes, it is a platform for web developers. We are developing a platform for those with a basic familiarity with JavaScript and a few web technologies to use. With the platform and some web technology knowledge, you can go off and start playing around with these things right now.
I would like to get across in that talk that we are building tools that can be easily integrated into your existing system. You can start playing with them now to get an understanding of what the benefits to your organization, your customers, or your suppliers are.
QCon: What are the main things you want people to leave this talk with?
Ken: I would like for people to understand that blockchain has potential way beyond finance. Blockchain is actually about the interoperability and mash--up of different systems and services, and, after the talk, the audience will have a starting point to experiment with blockchain and learn how this would work for them.
I’ll give some examples that highlight the key benefits, but, if you want to start finding out what this technology can deliver, I would like to help with that. There will be a reference architecture and working code that leverages the blockchain and information provided on the tools you can use.


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