Browsing by Subject "Blockchain"

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  • Surakka, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    This thesis is a contribution to the budding discussion within social sciences about blockchain – an emerging technology that, for the last decade or so, has garnered a lot of attention especially with its cryptocurrency applications. More recently, blockchain has started to spread to fields outside of the financial sector as new imaginaries are being projected onto it in e.g. logistics, energy, entertainment, and the humanitarian sector. The study at hand focuses on blockchain in the realm of anti-money-laundering. Blockchain, when applied to cryptocurrencies, seems to propose challenges to the actors who try to prevent money-laundering, and institutional reactions trying to restrict or manage the use of certain blockchain applications have already started to emerge. However, these reactions have also affected the development of the technology itself. As blockchain is an emerging technology and phenomenon, the research conducted for this study is of the explorative kind. Reflecting on ethnographic observation and eight semi-structured interviews with e.g. cryptocurrency activists, NGOs and representatives from tax administration, central bank, foreign ministery, and financial supervision authority, the thesis examines the different imaginaries projected onto blockchain. By applying a combined framework of the global assemblages approach and the concept of practical activity, the thesis investigates the tactics, politics, morals and the subject of blockchain, and attempts to answer the following questions: How is blockchain being applied or resisted, in order to resolve the perceived problems in the field of anti-money-laundering? What is being tried to achieve by the use or resistance of blockchain in this field? Why is blockchain regarded to be of value or a risk? And fundamentally, if examined as a combined entity – who is blockchain? A myriad of interpretations emerge from the data. For many, blockchain holds promise of a better future where individuals have more power over their freedoms and assets. For others, blockchain is challenger that is controlled by no one and allows illicit activities to go unnoticed. For some, blockchain is a threat that should be restricted and governed. The main finding of the study is that blockchain allows many different agendas and imaginaries to be projected on to it. The “original” emancipatory values of blockchain that would allow its users independence, anonymity, immutability, and freedom from central governance seem to be extremely interchangeable with the values of governance and efficiency. The contradictory goals and morals enacted through blockchain have not been resolved. As the juridico-legal attempts to govern blockchain increase, certain blockchain-based actions could go deeper underground, making it more difficult for law-abiding actors to take part in blockchain-based activities. For the humanitarian sector, blockchain holds a lot of interesting potential. Blockchain could be used for e.g. improving access to energy, providing legal identities, and enabling cost-free remittances. The mutually constitutive nature of governance and technology should be taken into account as interpretations are made, so as to not prevent or hinder the development of applications with societally beneficial goals.
  • Björkenheim, Linda (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Avhandlingen behandlar blockkedjans eventuella ställning som ett transnationellt rättssystem. Syftet är att undersöka huruvida blockkedjor och dess applikationer bör betraktas som rättssubjekt som faller under statlig jurisdiktion eller om de utgör självständiga rättssystem med jurisdiktion över sin egen verksamhet. Forskningen följer en rättsteoretisk samt rättssociologisk metod. Materialet består i huvudsak av rätts- och andra samhällsvetenskapliga artiklar samt tekniska och empiriska data angående blockkedjan Ethereums funktion och användning. I avhandlingen diskuteras statens suveränitet som koncept samt blockkedjeteknologins hot mot statens suveränitet. Det konstateras att blockkedjan och staten möjligtvis kommer att fungera som konkurrerande eller parallella normativa system i framtiden. Rättspluralismen presenteras därmed som ett fungerande ramverk för identifierandet och utvärderandet av icke-statliga rättssystem såsom blockkedjan. Avhandlingens forskningsfråga är huruvida blockkedjor kan betraktas som rättssystem. Luhmanns systemteori används som det främsta verktyget för besvarandet av forskningsfrågan. Blockkedjan Ethereum fungerar som föremål för analysen. Avhandlingen reflekterar även kring interna och externa rättsliga utmaningar som uppstår till följd av blockkedjans ställning som ett (framväxande) rättssystem
  • Bhuiyan, Md. Saiful Islam; Razzak, Abdur; Ferdous, Md Sadek; Chowdhury, Mohammad Jabed M.; Hoque, Mohammad Ashraful; Tarkoma, Sasu (IEEE, 2021)
    IEEE International Conference on Trust Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications
    A Chatbot is a popular platform to enable users to interact with a software or website to gather information or execute actions in an automated fashion. In recent years, chatbots are being used for executing financial transactions, however, there are a number of security issues, such as secure authentication, data integrity, system availability and transparency, that must be carefully handled for their wide-scale adoption. Recently, the blockchain technology, with a number of security advantages, has emerged as one of the foundational technologies with the potential to disrupt a number of application domains, particularly in the financial sector. In this paper, we forward the idea of integrating a chatbot with blockchain technology in the view to improve the security issues in financial chatbots. More specifically, we present BONIK, a blockchain empowered chatbot for financial transactions, and discuss its architecture and design choices. Furthermore, we explore the developed Proof-of-Concept (PoC), evaluate its performance, analyse how different security and privacy issues are mitigated using BONIK.
  • Mainz, Jonathan (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The crypto-asset market has grown exponentially in recent years, creating a whole new sub-industry to the financial sector. Following this rapid growth, the interest of regulators towards the industry has naturally increased around the world. Indeed, in autumn 2020, the European Commission published its first draft on the Regulation on Markets in Crypto-Assets (COM (2020) 593 final) (“MiCA”). The proposal is part of the EU's digital finance package, which states to create an innovation-friendly environment for market participants while simultaneously ensuring financial stability and investor protection in the markets. This thesis examines the regulation of the crypto-asset markets from a critical perspective. The main focus stands on the question of how to simultaneously enable innovation, market access, free competition and operational efficiency for market participants, while simultaneously ensuring adequate investor protection, market reliability and legal certainty for individual investors in the EU. As the EU has appeared to take quite a similar approach to regulate the industry with the existing MiFID II legislation in traditional finance, comparing the current and upcoming legislation is a natural approach to assess and give some context to the subject in some parts. Due to the cross-border nature of the phenomenon, the review will focus on the EU area's regulation as a whole, and the legislation of individual Member States will not be examined in greater detail. On the other hand, international legislative solutions and regulatory proposals have been covered to some extent, as the market for crypto-assets is focused mainly outside the EU. The thesis concludes that the objectives of the planned legislation are most likely to remain theoretical. Furthermore, the examination indicates that neither the EU legislators nor the proposed regulation would promote innovation or free competition in the markets. Instead, it appears that the regulatory future is most likely going to create barriers for new companies' market entrance while at the same time alleviating the market access to the crypto-asset industry for the major traditional finance market participants. Therefore, implementing the Regulation in its current form is likely to cause more harm than good to the industry. Although investor protection would improve in some parts with the entry into force of MiCA, the new Regulation would also increase the fragmentation of industry regulation, create opportunities for regulatory arbitrage and leave many critical regulatory issues unresolved. Regarding the preparatory work of MiCA, it is particularly striking that the regulators seem to have a great ambition to structure the whole phenomenon to fit within the existing regulatory framework, without even questioning whether it is the most appropriate and effective solution or not. In addition, only the leading market participants and different banking authorities from traditional finance have been consulted and even required to give their opinions in the preparation stage. In contrast, the actual largest market participants in the crypto-asset industry, to whom the Regulation is going to affect the most, have not been heard comprehensively enough. Instead, the measures have been limited to open consultation, which the EU legislators have not even actively tried to market to these market participants. Therefore, it is pretty evident that regardless of the final decisions the regulators are going to make and the form that the Regulation will end up in, the current way of preparing the MiCA makes the Regulation very susceptible to questioning and criticism.
  • Soria Ruiz-Ogarrio, Jorge; Savolainen, Ville (2019)
    In most blockchain based cryptocurrencies majority of verification power is required for facilitating a successful double spending attack, i.e. using the same funds multiple times. Because possibility to double spend sharply deteriorates trust and value, concentration is traditionally considered to be a significant problem. We model agents’ incentives to facilitate double spending attacks under opportunity costs. Contrary to a host of previous literature, our main findings indicate that under meager economic profits large miners have higher incentives to act honestly than outsiders even in the absence of any direct costs. Intuitively, mining pools holding substantial amounts of power in a cryptocurrency also have much to lose if the value collapses.