Kevin Werbach, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joined Mozilla’s Director of Public Policy, Chris Riley, in a discussion of decentralization and trust online, to explore Kevin’s recent work on the blockchain as a trust architecture.
Werbach notes that blockchain is represented as an ultimate form of decentralized trust. In other words, you can trust the system without trusting specific actors. That concept is underscored by the fact that no one has the power to change a distributed ledger once transactions are recorded. And interested parties can see the same information, which provides a standard of transparency.
Werbach notes that too much trust in the system is unwarrented. He notes that for a given blockchain to succeed, all parties need to trust the system, so some amount trust is inherently required. Yet, he notes examples of the system failing, in terms of fraud and illegal activity, which have exposed flaws in the system. Hence, Werbach advocates for proper governance and regulation.
The discussion touches upon the realities of scalability re blockchain, citing that current technologies are adequate for many real-world scenarios, but not in others.
Werback is also the author of, The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust.