Recapping the First Annual Blockchain Summit at UCSB

The “State of Blockchain Education” consisted of a panel comprised of students in blockchain organizations. / Courtesy of Sean Crommelin

On Nov. 23, the campus organization Blockchain at UCSB hosted the first-ever Santa Barbara Blockchain Summit at Corwin Pavilion, featuring tech industry leaders, start-up founders and professors. 

Working in collaboration with the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation, the summit consisted of speaker presentations, speaker panels and workshops. Events were subdivided into three different tracks which were held in the different sections of Corwin Pavilion. These were the Genesis Track, the Education Track and the Development Track. 

Blockchain is an encrypted ledger system composed of records known as blocks which are linked together with cryptography.  

“Think of a database — but the database isn’t stored in one place. It’s stored in many, many places sort of decentralized all over the planet,” said Brian Fox, a computer programmer and free software advocate who presented in the seminar “Preserving Democracy With Open Source Technology.”

“There’s this data that is stored all over the place on lots of people’s computers, like your computer, my computer and so forth. So if my copy of the database goes away, you still have a copy of the database. Now the information that’s stored in the database is encrypted, depending on who put it in. So even though I’m storing that information, I can’t read it unless I have the actual key to unlock that information.”

Resistant to tampering, open-source and very secure, blockchain was originally created to serve as the transaction ledger for Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency. It has since been seen as an attractive medium by which one can carry out digital voting, data sharing, data backup and recordkeeping, among other things.

Fox spoke on his experiences in the tech world and his advocacy for open-source voting software, as opposed to proprietary software…

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