Block-by-Block: Leveraging the Power of Blockchain Technology to Build Trust and Promote Cyber Peace

By Shackelford, Scott J.; Myers, Steve | Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Annual 2017 | Go to article overview

Block-by-Block: Leveraging the Power of Blockchain Technology to Build Trust and Promote Cyber Peace


Shackelford, Scott J., Myers, Steve, Yale Journal of Law & Technology


Table of Contents  Introduction  1. The Rise of Blockchain and Bitcoin: A Technological Primer    1.1 Analogizing Blockchains    1.2 How Bitcoin Works        1.2.1 A Distributed Ledger        1.2.2 A Primer on Bitcoin Transactions        1.2.3 Anonymity        1.2.4 Computational Attacks on Blockchains    1.3 Viewing Blockchains as Computational    Engines 2. Applying Blockchain Technology to Enhancing Cybersecurity    2.1 Blockchains and C ybersecurity    2.2 The Insecurity of Certificate Authorities    2.3 Leveraging Blockchains to Enhance the    Security of Certificate Authorities    2.4 Application to Critical Infrastructure 3. A Role for Regulation and the Promise of Polycentric Blockchain Architecture    3.1 Conceptualizing the Regulatory Modalities    Applicable in Cyberspace    3.2 A Primer on Polycentric Governance: From    Polanyi to the Present    3.3 Building Trust through Blockchains Applicability    of the Ostrom Design Principles        3.3.1 Defined Boundaries        3.3.2 Proportionality        3.3.3 Collective-Choice Arrangements and Minimal        Recognition of Rights        3.3.4 Monitoring        3.3.5 Graduated Sanctions and Dispute Resolution        3.3.6 Nested Enterprises        3.3.7 Summary    3.4 Implications for Managers and Policymaker Conclusion Appendix A: A Short Interlude into Cryptography 

"Why should you care? Maybe you're a music lover who wants artists to make a living off their art. Perhaps you're an immigrant who's sick of paying big fees on remittances. Maybe you're an aid worker who needs to identify landowners so you can rebuild their homes after an earthquake. Or a citizen fed up with the lack of transparency and accountability of politicians. Or a social media user who thinks the data you generate might be worth something--to you. Even as we write, innovators are building blockchain-based applications that serve these ends. And they are just the beginning."

--Don Tapscott & Alex Tapscott, authors of Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business and the World (1)

Introduction

There has been increasing interest in the transformative power of not only crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, (2) but also the technology underlying them--namely blockchain. (3) Though Bitcoin gets most of the press, blockchains arguably enjoy the far greater potential to transform business and potentially revolutionize cybersecurity; simply put, according to Goldman Sachs, it could "change 'everything.'" (4) To the uninitiated, a blockchain is a sophisticated, distributed online ledger. From making businesses more efficient to recording property deeds to engendering the growth of "smart" contracts and even securing medical devices, (5) blockchain technology is now being investigated by a huge range of organizations and is attracting billions in venture funding. (6) Even the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigating blockchain technology to "create an unhackable messaging system," (7) as is IBM and Disney. (8) However, the legal literature has largely ignored the rise of blockchain technology outside of its finance, securities, and copyright implications. (9) This Article seeks to address this omission by analyzing the potential impact of blockchain technology on advancing the cybersecurity of firms across an array of sectors and industries with a particular focus on certificate authorities and the critical infrastructure context. Moreover, we examine the rise of blockchains through the lens of the literature on polycentric governance, (10) which reflects a blockchain's organization due to its focus on building trust in distributed systems as a tool to promote "cyber peace." (11)

In 1981, during what could be considered the predawn of the Information Age, researchers were already trying to solve varied privacy, security, and cryptographic concerns in the still nascent network. (12) Myriad techniques were tried, but regardless of the proposed solution, due to the involvement by third parties (such as credit card processors), insecurity persisted. …

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