Formal Methods for Design and Analysis of Automated Agreements
Speaker: Michael Zargham
Date: Tuesday, July 12th
Formal Methods for design and analysis of complex systems rely heavily on models. When these models serve as the basis of decision making systems, their defining assumptions become entrenched. All too often, these assumptions are behavoiral in nature – “if A does X, then B does Y” – such assumptions provide the basis for existence, uniqueness and convergence proofs for equilibria. Unfortunately, these assumptions are notoriously fragile. Human decision makers are not determistic consumers of information, they are information sources. What happens if we forgo any assumptions about which actions will be taken, and instead focus on what actions are available? In this framing, one must move away from analysis of any particular trajectory within the statespace and focus on which points can be reached via sequences of admissible actions. It is possible to formally characterize, conditional upon the restrictions that action admissibility places on a dynamical system, the set of reachable points in the statespace defined by those restrictions. This ‘configuration space’ approach offer powerful tools for both design and analysis of automated agreements.
Michael Zargham is the founder and Chief Engineer at BlockScience, and a Core Member of the Metagovernance Project. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied Optimal Resource Allocation Policies in Networks. His ongoing work focuses on engineering best practices in estimation, decision, and control, as applied to mechanism design, operations research, and institutional analysis and development.
Regulating the Metaverse
Speaker: Ioana Surpateanu
Date: Tuesday, July 12th
There’s substantial hype around Web3, the Metaverse, NFTs, blockchain gaming, digital fashion, etc; however, there are relevant infrastructure and intra-Metaverse dynamic issues with potential regulatory implications, which don’t take centre stage. I am leading the design on an industry position re: NFT standards, clarity re NFT commercial rights, metadata storage and implications on NFT ownership models, sub-optimal infrastructure, inter-entity value portability in the Metaverse & subsequent financial regulation applicability, SSI, decentralised reputation models and distributed coordination mechanics as cornerstones for a DAO powered Metaverse.
Ioana Surpateanu is a Web3 and DeFi investor, adviser and entrepreneur. She strategically supports a variety of projects such as Swash, Poolz Finance, Cryptowalkers and focuses on various verticals within the Metaverse and the DeFi 2.0 ecosystem. She sits on the Executive Board of the Multichain Asset Managers Association, a global community of organisations working to transform asset management through blockchain technology.
Cathy Mulligan is the European Research Area Chair in Blockchain at Instituto Superior Técnico, where she leads a Lab dedicated to research in Blockchain for Social Good and Sustainability. Cathy is an interdisciplinary researcher focusing on Digital technologies and Digital transformation from the perspectives of Engineering and Economics. Her technical research focuses on the new architectural / protocol paradigms for telecommunications networks due to emerging digital technologies and changing economic structures. She has written 7 books on telecommunications engineering. Cathy received her PhD and MPhil at the University of Cambridge. Cathy has advised multiple governments, companies, and NGOs on Digital Transformation & Cryptocurrency / Blockchain. She is a Visiting Lecturer at Imperial College London, where she teaches “Digital Transformation: Leading Real-World Change” and co-founded the Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering.
Rob is currently the CTO and co-founder of eWATER Services, a leading edge technology solution and water utility in developing countries. Rob uses his technological background experience of web2 and web3, microelectronics, engineering, programming, communications and blockchain technology, mixed with his executive experience of leadership and vision with his global involvement, working in diverse cultures in developing countries, to provide a unique skill to help solve the world’s water crisis. He has founded technology powered service organisations, growing them to success, including a global video conference service, a distributed print management service and a water utility management service.
DAOs for Dignity: How to Overthrow the World Bank and Deliver Real-World Change with DeFi
Speaker: Cathy Mulligan, Rob Hygate
Date: Wednesday, July 13th
The emergence of decentralized finance (DeFi) in the last few years brings new hope. In November of 2021, the total value locked liquidity in DeFi reached a staggering US$250 billion – despite the current fluctuations interest in these new types of financial solutions is continuing to grow. At the same time, the world faces increasing problems with regards to overcoming poverty, providing appropriate access to infrastructure, and dealing with climate change. So far DeFi has little to show in terms of doing any real-world good; lots of projects claim environmental impact or that they are helping to achieve the SDGs – but the evidence on the ground of genuine impact is relatively light. The heavily profit-driven angles currently seen in DeFi therefore do not help solve challenges such as financial inclusion, affordable public services, and environmental sustainability. Governments worldwide face a shortfall in available funds for infrastructure development. With the correct approach, infrastructure projects can provide the crypto community with the opportunity to invest in financial products with bond-like risk levels with a respectable expected return. Through their decentralized governance, ESG-conscious DAOs have the power to prioritize projects that are environmentally and socially sustainable, enabling new forms of infrastructure rollout that preserve the dignity of those being served, prevent climate change, and create new jobs related to civil infrastructure. Within this talk, we present the theory and the real-world application.
Eray Arda Akartuna is a Cryptocurrency Threat Analyst at blockchain analytics firm Elliptic. He is also a PhD researcher at University College London (UCL), funded by the Dawes Centre for Future Crime, analysing the money laundering and terrorist financing risks of emerging technologies. His research mainly focuses on cryptoasset-based terrorist/extremist financing, dark web markets, stolen credit card vendors, NFT-based crimes and DeFi exploits. He has advised numerous international organisations and public/private sector institutions on crypto crime risks. He holds a masters degree, also from UCL, in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism.
The Darker Side of DeFi: Quantifying DeFi and NFT-based Financial Crime
Speaker: Arda Akartuna
Date: Wednesday, July 13th
Over the course of 2021, one DeFi exploit occurred every three days, each stealing on average around $16 million. Throughout the same year, NFTs soared in popularity, causing rising concern about their potential money laundering risks. Elliptic released a landmark report into DeFi-based crimes (DeCrime), analysing many of these trends, in November 2021. It will soon release another, presenting perhaps the most comprehensive quantitative study into the phenomenon of NFT-based money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions evasion and scams. The findings and trends from both these reports will be presented here, placing the darker side of these phenomena in context to better understand reputational, security and regulatory compliance risks.
Raphaël is the co-founder and CEO of SimpleFi, a data analytics platform for DeFi (Decentralized Finance). He has founded several blockchain-based social impact and DeFi protocols since 2016, often working in collaboration with Imperial College’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering on R&D projects funded by Innovate UK. Raphaël is French and British, a post-grad from the LSE and currently lives in sunny Lisbon.
DeFi: Dos and Don’ts in Bulls and Bears
Speaker: Raphaël Mazet
Date: Thursday, July 14th
How do you play your cards right in DeFi? Using SimpleFi’s in-depth data analytics, Raphaël exposes the strategies that generate the best returns in both bull and bear markets, and provides insights into how you can avoid getting “rekt” on your LP and yield farming investments.
Stefania is a London-based entrepreneur, business strategist and PR expert focused on new technologies and high-impact projects with over 10 years’ experience in financial markets. As the founder and CEO of the boutique Investor & Public Relations agency Cassiopeia Services, she has worked a range of private and listed companies across numerous sectors and facilitated multiple deals globally. In the technology space, she has advised a variety of international blockchain application focused companies on their ground-breaking projects, leading on business strategies and marketing activities. She is part of the founding team at cross-chain bridging infrastructure Umbria Network and leading business development for brands at IOHK. She was one of the first people to recognise the valuable contribution that blockchain can bring to the fashion industry. Stefania has guided various firms in business development, fundraising and organisational dynamics, as well as leading large-scale tech and investment events. An influencer with a large investor following, Stefania is considered one of the top British female opinion leaders in the crypto sphere and featured as top female influencer by Yahoo Finance . She is also the creator and host of the financial + crypto focused YouTube channel and podcast FinancialFox. Stefania is a board member of London-listed Ondo Insurtech, the first UK listed Insurtech company.
DeFi, NFTs and Interoperability
Speaker: Stefania Barbaglio
Date: Thursday, July 14th
The future of crypto, especially in regard to decentralised finance and NFT adoption for development of the Web3 ownership economy, depends on interoperability standards that go beyond EVM-compatible chains. The current status of the crypto industry is still very technical but also fragmented with multiple chains and projects working in silos; liquidity is fragmented as well as it is the community. As more people, businesses and institutions are entering crypto, user experience become the priority in promoting adoption: faster and cheaper ways to move assets cross chains. Umbria Network is a project focused on improving user experience via a fast and cheap cross-chain bridges solution powered by liquidity provision. As we are embracing a multichain world, we need interoperability standards as well as a clear regulatory framework.