Kevin Werbach is a leading expert on the business, policy, and social implications of emerging Internet and communications technologies. Werbach is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the founder of the Supernova Group, a technology analysis and consulting firm. He advises companies, writes about emerging trends in communications and information technology, and organizes Supernova, a major annual executive technology conference. He co-led the review of the Federal Communications Commission for the Obama-Biden Transition Project.
- Internet policy
- business analytics
The next stage in the evolution of the digital economy involves the creation of what can be called the “Internet of the World”—an expanding web of transactions, anticipated today by on-demand platforms such as Uber and Airbnb, that eventually will occur across trillions of networked devices and penetrate every sphere of human activity. This brief looks at the many legal questions raised by these novel services, in particular, at the regulatory classification of on-demand services, as well as the application of antitrust provisions, the imposition of taxes and fees, and the assignment of liability to these new platforms.
"B-School for Public Policy" Seminars
May 19, 2017Blockchain: The Rise of Trustless Trust?
At a time when public confidence in major societal institutions seems to be under siege, the blockchain offers an intriguing new paradigm for establishing trust in human transactions. The blockchain, through its use of secure cryptography and reliance on distributed consensus networks, is the basis for “trustless trust”—that is, it makes it possible for people to trust the output of the blockchain system without trusting any actor within it. The blockchain will need governance mechanisms, however, in order to realize its enormous potential. In this seminar, Professor Kevin Werbach discussed in detail how the respective roles of blockchain platforms and more traditional legal mechanisms can be made to work together.
Other Policy Related Activities
Internet policy expert for the Federal Communications Commission
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The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust
new book by Professor Kevin Werbach
Available on Amazon, November 20, 2018
Why are the world’s most powerful companies and governments excited about a technology beloved by criminals and radicals? And why do people invest their money—or their trust—in mysterious cryptocurrencies seemingly based on nothing?
In an era when trust in institutions of all kinds is collapsing, the blockchain offers a new hope: Shared ledgers of information that no one controls but everyone can believe. Since its emergence a decade ago with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, the blockchain has spawned hundreds of companies, billions of dollars of investment, and adoption by companies ranging from the New York Stock Exchange to Walmart. Yet it remains wildly misunderstood.
Wharton professor Kevin Werbach offers the first in-depth, balanced analysis of the blockchain’s true potential, as well as its limitations and dangers. He maps the often-confusing landscape, and shows how a technology resting on foundations of mutual mistrust can become trustworthy. Surprisingly for a technology widely associated with illegality, fraud, and distrust of governments, the path to trusted blockchains runs through governance, regulation, and law.