On September 28th, 2015, Agentic Group held the first panel event under our new branding, titled: "Data Security, Consumer Privacy and the Internet Of Value". If you missed it, you missed a quite a bit.
The following is a write-up of the event by Fran Strajner of Brave New Coin and was posted on their site earlier this week...
A Hacker, A Lawyer, A VC & 2 Journalists Walk Into A Bar
This was an epic panel discussion (details below) and differed to the regular Blockchains & bitcoin events due to the incredible speaker set & moderator narrative.
Panel heavyweights included:
- Legendary investigative journalist & Author Bob Sullivan, Founding member of MSNBC.com and an expert in Technology Crime and Consumer Fraud.
- Marco Santori, leader of Pillsbury Winthrop law firm's Bitcoin & Blockchain advisory division, is described by American Banker magazine as "the Dean of Digital Currency Lawyers".
- Hacker, programmer, entrepreneur & Security Expert, Harri Hursti. A man who generally likes to (and is very good at) breaking things, including voting machines, as featured in the HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy”.
- From the Venture Capital arena, Jim Robinson, the Founder and Managing Partner at RRE Ventures, is among the top of the list of the most prolific VC firms in New York City. Jim has invested in many of the well-known bitcoin & Blockchain companies alive today.
- Last but not least, a true wordsmith, our moderator for the evening, Michael Casey. Veteran Senior Writer for The WSJ, Michael is currently a Senior Adviser to the MIT Media Lab, and has written several books on the subject of the financial systems and Cryptocurrencies.
The event initially excited me not only because of the line-up, but because the purpose of this discussion was to address the security of networks on a macro scale with a focus on digital value. What security considerations does a world of digital & programmable value need?
I flew from New Zealand to New York. I sat in the front row. It was well worth it.
The topics covered were around consumer protection, digital crime trends and the industrial results of flawed systems over time. Tying it all to the evolving ‘Internet Of Value’ and how, when & if Distributed Ledger Technology, a la Bitcoin & the blockchain, can help to solve major global problems with trustless network designs and what some new problems will look like.
Michael Casey opened up the floor by detailing several, well publicised, recent security breaches and asked the panel... ‘are the bad guys winning’?
This led to insights from Robinson on investment tactics, along with comparisons to pre-industrial days from Hursti who described that security breaches have existed for arguably thousands of years with the elegant example of 2 traders: One doesn't kill the other = Basic trust is formed.
Sullivan, a talented story teller, proceeded to portray trust networks today by outlining how industry often comes together to form associations, like the constituents in the SWIFT network today, where members may trust each other a little bit... but not really. They form networks where trust is purposefully diluted between members via a protocol, system or network design. Santori & Robinson then went on to discuss that fact that people have continually looked for ways to do business with minimal transaction risk. As Hursti was quick to point out however, “the only thing that locks are good for, is keeping honest people out” - A bad actor breaks the network, which breaks the trust and the systems collapses. A good example is the recent Ashley Madison Hack.
Ashley Madison was a company gearing for a massive IPO. That is no longer the case as the trust is shattered. Trust in bitcoin, due to the Blockside debate and it’s effects on price, we have covered exhaustively in our weekly reports.
The interesting thing about the panel narrative was the natural coming-back to, ‘are the criminals winning?’. Is this a cat and mouse game? Are we continually playing catch up? With facts and figures coming hot and fast: like the average time for a network operator to know it was hacked being over 60 days, or the average time for a critical software flaw to be patched being 90 days, the panel mostly agreed that patch-work is the unfortunate standard operating procedure & Trustless Systems offer solutions we didn’t have access to before but will inevitably represent new criminal innovation.
It boils down to trust. I can trust my grocery guy to hold my phone for a second while I tie my shoe-lace. But I’m not going to ask him to babysit $10,000 in cash while I go on holiday for a month.
This was a great event and I hope these meaningful discussions lead to coherent security centric planning in the right places as we moving into the age of programmable value.
As Rik Willard, founder of the Agentic group series, concluded by way of a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln:
"The best way to predict your future is to create it."