The presenter is Ari Juels, a Professor of Computer Science at the Jacobs Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City. He is also Co-Director of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3). He was previously Chief Scientist at RSA, and received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 1996.
Smart contracts are autonomous programs that run on and inherit the properties of blockchains. They may be viewed as emulating trusted third parties, in that they enforce fair play between parties without preexisting trust relationships. This capability promises to transform industries as diverse as supply chain management, finance, insurance, and digital rights management. Smart contracts promise comes with technical and social challenges, however. In this talk, I’ll outline the Five Grand Challenges identified by the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3) as critical to blockchain deployment, and focus on two of them. I’ll explore the nascent risk of criminal smart contracts, which are smart contracts that solicit or offer the perpetration of a crime. I’ll also explore the challenge of delivering strongly authenticated data to smart contracts. I’ll introduce the soon-to-be-launched Town Crier authenticated-data or “oracle” service, and describe some applications that it will enable in existing smart contract systems in the near future.