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Blockchains and the Web: A W3C Workshop on Distributed Ledgers on the Web


Ripple Events

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Many projects and companies are looking at ways to use the Bitcoin blockchain or other public or private distributed ledgers, to record an immutable timestamped public record that can be independently verified by any stakeholder.

What does this mean for Web technologies, beyond payments? What emerging capabilities could blockchains enable for the Web, such as distributed identity management? Conversely, should features be added to the Web Platform and to browsers to enable blockchain use cases, such as a JavaScript blockchain API to write to blockchain nodes? With the proliferation of different approaches and technology stacks (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Hyperledger), is there a need for interchange formats, protocols, or APIs to share transaction data across services and stacks or between public and private networks? What will help Web developers to take advantage of blockchains?

When we talk about blockchains as “part of the Web”, we face some specific questions: How does this fit into the same origin security model of the Web? What are the privacy implications, especially when talking about identity management? What part of the Web stack would be involved: client-side, server-side, protocols, interchange formats? What is the relationship to payments, including W3C's Web Paymentswork?

What timelines make sense for looking at standardization for Web-centric aspects of blockchain technologies? Who are the key stakeholders (individuals, organizations, and industries) involved to make sense of the blockchain landscape? What are the next steps? How should we prioritize the radical innovations that are emerging around blockchains?

These are questions this workshop aims to answer, and we are seeking blockchain and Web experts to gather together to discuss what needs to happen to integrate blockchains into the Web. This is an exploratory workshop; our goal is to start the conversation in the context of features for the Web, and to review critical questions for incubation. We do not foresee immediate standardization work.

Workshop topics

Possible topics include, but are not limited to the following:

Core technical components of blockchains and their overlap with the Web, such as:

  • Blockchain APIs, such as JavaScript or REST APIs
  • Blockchain primitives such as transaction initiation, key signing, and wallet management
  • Ledger interchange formats and protocols
  • Smart contracts and conditional execution contexts

Application areas, such as:

  • Identity systems, including privacy, security, and confidentiality factors
  • Rights expression and licensing
  • Decentralized processing, computing, and storage infrastructure
  • Voting systems

Other considerations, such as:

  • Optimal use cases for blockchains
  • Surveys of existing blockchain software systems
  • Testing mechanisms to increase interoperability, robustness, stability, and confidence in blockchain systems



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