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'Algorithmic Governance in Blockchain Protocols'

Event details of ACLE Seminar with Prof. Dr. Davide Grossi (University of Groningen & University of Amsterdam)
Date 1 April 2021
Time 15:00 -16:15
Organised by Alessio M. Pacces , Edoardo Martino


In this talk I will touch on governance issues in blockchain protocols and focus in particular on the governance of so-called hard forks. Hard forks are splits in a community of developers and/or influential actors in a blockchain system. Forking is typically the product of informal social processes or the organization of an aggrieved minority, and it is not always amicable. Forks usually come at a cost, and can be seen as consequences of collective decisions that destabilize the community of developers and users around a system. In this paper, we use techniques developed at the interface of computer science and welfare economics (social choice theory) to study the problem of forks and their governance. We develop mechanisms (algorithms) by means of which the relevant actors can report preferences not only over their preferred course of action, but also over the possible forks that may occur in the face of disagreement. These mechanisms can be shown to democratically identify stable decisions on whether to fork and, if so, how. The work offers a good example of how techniques from economic theory, interfaced with computer science, can play an important role in understanding and, ultimately, contributing to the development of blockchain technology.

The paper is joint work with: Ben Abramowitz (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US), Edith Elkind (Oxford University, UK), Ehud Shapiro (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel) and Nimrod Talmon (Ben-Gurion University, Israel).


Seminar in the past. Registration closed.

About the speaker

Davide Grossi is associate professor at the Bernoulli Institute for Mathematics, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence of the University of Groningen, where he holds the chair of multi-agent decision making. He is also associate professor at the Amsterdam Law School and the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation of the University of Amsterdam. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Utrecht (2007) and graduated cum laude (2003) in Philosophy at the University of Pisa and Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (Italy).

Grossi’s research focuses on reasoning and decision-making, especially in multi-agent settings, and with an interdisciplinary angle. He contributes to several areas within AI research, including AI & Law, and has published over 70 papers in international peer-reviewed venues, including top-tier conferences in AI (IJCAI, AAAI), and top-tier journals in AI (AIJ, JAIR), as well as philosophy (Synthese, Theoria) and cognitive sciences (Neuroscience).

About the ACLE

The Amsterdam Center for Law and Economics (ACLE) is a joint initiative of the Faculty of Economics and Business and the Faculty of Law at the University of Amsterdam. The objective of the ACLE is to promote high-quality interdisciplinary research at the intersection between law and economics.