LunCH Lecture – Computer Science by Martijn de Vos [SOLD OUT]

“Big Tech” companies such as Meta (Facebook), Alphabet (Google), Apple and Microsoft have a significant impact on our society. Most of us use their digital services daily. These services include search engines (Google), marketplaces (eBay, Amazon), social media platforms (Facebook) and car sharing (Uber). The influence of these companies is so enormous that they have established monopolies in many sectors. Even though the services provided by these companies enhance our lives in different ways, their continuing dominance is considered a dangerous development by many. The centralization of power in the hands of a few companies makes society critically dependent on platforms that are not always held responsible for their actions. Censorship, privacy concerns, and stifled innovation are just a few issues stemming from this development.

During the last decade, there have been various efforts to build alternative, decentralized platforms that are not owned or managed by a single company. Blockchain technology, in particular, has been introduced as a solution to reduce the influence of trusted intermediaries. For example, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency enables money transfers without a bank. Unfortunately, blockchain technology also has fundamental problems that do not allow them to be a replacement for the services provided by Big Tech.

The Delft Blockchain Lab specializes in researching, building and deploying decentralized technologies that are not owned by single parties. In this presentation, we will discuss our vision, outline our research approach, and present several of our research topics. These topics include trust in decentralized systems, decentralized finance, self-sovereign identities, reputation algorithms, and decentralized machine learning. We also present various applications that we have built and deployed.

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