Department of Informatics and Media

Distinguished Lecture by Professor John Leslie King

16 October 2017 at 10:15-12:00 in Finance Room (G222), Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala

Trust but Verify: The Likely Impact of Blockchain Technologies

Abstract

Blockchain technologies are enthusiastically promoted despite little serious study as to their likely impact.  Current predictions will probably be off by a significant amount.  Much is made of blockchain application to financial instruments, especially “cryptocurrencies” like Bitcoin.  The fact that cryptocurrencies aren’t already dead is suggestive. However, currency does not benefit from the greatest likely impact of blockchain, which is in “chain of custody” and “provenance” applications.  The cryptocurrency feeding frenzy seems to be driven more by overzealous commitment to a libertarian utopian dreamworld than by a sober analysis.  Blockchain is likely to be important, but boring rather than exciting.

Biography

John Leslie King is W.W. Bishop Professor of Information at the University of Michigan School of Information. He is former Dean of the School and Vice Provost at the University of Michigan. His research is on the relationship between technical and social change, focusing on highly institutionalized production sectors such as education, finance, health care, common carrier communication, freight logistics and utilities. He has a PhD in administration from the University of California, Irvine, and an honorary doctorate in economics and business administration from Copenhagen Business School. He is fellow of the Association for Information Systems and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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