Blockchain Technology

Forum weighs whether this is the future of cybersecurity

by Fredric Bellamy

Blockchain, the technology principally known for powering Bitcoin, will be the focus of presentations by speakers and panelists at the Arizona Technology Council’s third annual Cybersecurity Lunch Forum on held Dec. 12.

The forum organized by the Council’s Cybersecurity Committee will be co-hosted by the Arizona Cyber Threat Response Alliance (ACTRA)/Arizona InfraGard. The event will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, 1365 N. Scottsdale Road, Building #3, Rooms 130/135.

The program promises to be one of the most comprehensive, practical and up-to-date presentations regarding this latest technological revolution — one at which Arizona is the center and is accelerating in its importance to applications in the technology and security sectors. 

In contrast to the Internet, blockchain was designed with the aim of thwarting cyber attackers by using distributed ledgers to make transaction histories as tamper-resistant as possible. A decade ago the white paper attributed to “Satoshi Nakamoto” described the creation of a “peer-to-peer version of electronic cash.” The paper noted that “as long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to attack the network, they’ll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers.”

The program will begin with introductory remarks by Frank Grimmelman, ACTRA’s president and CEO/intelligence liaison officer. Panels will feature several leaders in the blockchain space, including representatives of companies actively involved in developing and deploying this technology. 

A panel chaired by Caroline Lynch, founder of the government relations and public policy advocacy firm Copper Hill Strategies, will discuss the development and implementation of Arizona’ s leading financial technology, or “FinTech” sandbox, and how this initiative is helping blockchain and cryptocurrency firms develop their technology with regulatory certainty. Panel members also will discuss their experience in applying this technology to various use cases, including smart contracts and logistics.

This presentation will be followed by a keynote discussion led by Fred Bellamy, named by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America as 2018 Best Lawyer in Technology Law in Phoenix. The focus will be on how blockchain technology fits into the broader history of cybersecurity with respect to the Internet.

The next panel will discuss how distributed ledger technology, including blockchain, is being used to develop smart contracts that serve a variety of use cases in real estate and FinTech. Panel members will explain how these current use cases may evolve and the potential business implications of this technology. The panel will be chaired by David McCarville, Of Counsel at Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite and adjunct professor for ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Policy and Law course.

Forum speakers will include Jay Carpenter, founder of Desert Blockchain, which focuses on blockchain and decentralized technologies. He is an adjunct professor at Tempe-based University of Advancing Technology, designing and teaching a technical blockchain course with a use case and project focus, including the Internet of Things, cybersecurity and software development of blockchain prototypes.

ONLI, which provides the “plumbing” for asset-backed financial instruments, will be the topic of Michael McFall, founder and CTO of the ONLI corporation. McFall has built several Silicon Valley companies from the ground up. The most notable one was Net Effect Systems, which was sold to Ask Jeeves (now known as Ask.com) for $200 million. 

Rounding out the speakers will be Leslie Pico, a principal of Pacific So West, a deep tech consultancy with notable clients, including Propy. In August, Pico was part of the first real estate transaction in Arizona and the third in the nation to be committed to the blockchain.

For more information on the forum, go to www.aztechcouncil.org.

Fredric Bellamy is a partner with Fredenberg Beams and practices data privacy, cybersecurity, intellectual property and business law.

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