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Distributed Electronic Rights in JavaScript

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Abstract: Contracts enable mutually suspicious parties to cooperate safely through the exchange of rights. Smart contracts are programs whose behavior enforces the terms of the contract. This paper shows how such contracts can be specified elegantly and executed safely, given an appropriate distributed, secure, persistent, and ubiquitous computational fabric. JavaScript provides the ubiquity but must be significantly extended to deal with the other aspects. The first part of this [talk] is a progress report on our efforts to turn JavaScript into this fabric. To demonstrate the suitability of this design, we describe an escrow exchange contract implemented in 42 lines of JavaScript code.

Bio: Mark S. Miller is the main designer of the E and Caja object-capability programming languages, inventor of Miller Columns, a pioneer of agoric (market-based secure distributed) computing, an architect of the Xanadu hypertext publishing system, and a representative to the EcmaScript committee.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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