The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
A blockchain is a digital ledger of unalterable data, readable by everyone, to which every everyone can add new data. Blockchains stand to revolutionize the way societies and traditional economies operate. By removing costly intermediaries and introducing new paradigms of trust, they make traditional transactions (e.g., payments) more efficient, and totally new ways of transacting (e.g., smart contracts) possible.
The opportunities, for the energy sector in particular, are real. But so are the challenges. Blockchains cannot achieve their enormous potential via traditional technical approaches. They can, however, via dramatically different ones.
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Silvio Micali received his Laurea in Mathematics from the University of Rome and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been on the faculty at MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department since 1983.
Silvio’s research interests are cryptography, zero knowledge, pseudorandom generation, secure protocols, mechanism design, and blockchain.
Silvio is the recipient of the Turing Award (in computer science), of the Gödel Prize (in theoretical computer science) and the RSA prize (in cryptography). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Academia dei Lincei.
In 2017, Silvio founded Algorand, a fully decentralized, secure, and scalable blockchain which provides a common platform for building products and services for a decentralized economy. At Algorand, Silvio oversees all research, including theory, security and crypto finance.
Nicola De Blasio is a Senior Fellow leading Belfer Center research on energy technology innovation and the transition to a low carbon economy. With more than 25 years of global experience in the energy sector, Dr. De Blasio is an expert in navigating the challenges of strategic development and technology innovation toward sustainable commercial success, at scale. This coupled with his insight on the impact of an institution’s development and innovation activities on other facets of business strategy, such as environmental, social, operational, geopolitical, and governmental factors.
Dr. De Blasio serves as an independent board member and adviser to various companies, startups and non-profit organizations. He has worked across business, academia, government, and civil society to develop and implement new business opportunities and establish connections that support research, educational and convening opportunities.
Dr. De Blasio spent 17 years at Eni, one of the world’s leading energy companies, most recently as Vice President and Head of R&D International Development, where he was also responsible for the start-up group. He engineered the strategic alliances between Eni and MIT - which also led to the creation of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center in 2010 – Stanford, Tsinghua, and other word leading universities. He was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), as well as a member of the MITEI Advisory Board, its Executive Committee (2005-2015) and the Eni Award Committee. He began his career with Snamprogetti (Eni’s Group) as a process engineer before becoming an economic feasibility study specialist.
Prior to joining Harvard, Dr. De Blasio was Senior Research Scholar in the faculty of SIPA at Columbia University and Program Director Technology and Innovation at the Center on Global Energy Policy, where he was also Director of Strategic Partnerships.
Dr. De Blasio holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Politecnico of Milan University with a thesis in industrial catalysis. He specialized at St. Andrews University, Scotland and then at Eni Corporate University, where he focused on energy economics. He is co-author of the book Value of Innovation, and has extensively published and lectured on energy, innovation, project evaluation and catalysis.
Charles Hua is a junior at Harvard College studying Statistics and Mathematics with a minor in Energy and Environment. At Harvard, Charles conducts research on blockchain applications in energy at Harvard Kennedy School, serves on the Harvard Sustainability Plan Subcommittee, and advises Fortune 500 companies and international NGOs on sustainability and energy issues. Charles also serves on the Board of Directors for environmental nonprofits Clean Wisconsin, Energy News Network, and Slipstream. Charles is deeply passionate about renewable energy, corporate sustainability, and international climate policy to drive a clean energy transition.
Kiana Ziadkhanpour is a junior at Harvard studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Environmental Science and Public Policy. She is passionate about sustainability and exploring the path towards the creation of a decarbonized future. She is currently conducting research on blockchain applications in the energy field, focusing on pinpointing areas of growth and potential avenues for stakeholder collaborations. She is a co-founder of Energy Innovations, a cross cutting organization meant to bring together students and faculty across all of Harvard’s schools and create a community focused on the future of energy.
At Harvard, Kiana is a part of Pforzheimer House and is an Executive Editor at the Blog of the Crimson, a Peer Advising Fellow, and the Director of Operations at Harvard Undergraduate Consulting on Business and the Environment. Outside of school, Kiana is focused on furthering her interests in sustainability and story telling, and is currently working on a podcast project bringing together these passions. In her spare time she also enjoys to paint, try out new recipes, and hike.