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Mark Miller: Agoric and the Decades-Long Quest for Secure Smart Contracts

Published on May 7th, 2019 by epicenterbitcoin

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We were joined by Mark S. Miller, Chief Scientist at Agoric. Mark is a computer scientist who has done ground-breaking work on many topics relevant to blockchain and smart contracts going back decades.

We discussed his visionary 1988 Agoric papers, which explored how markets could be applied to the world of software. We also covered how his view of smart contracts, which focused on secure bilateral agreements complements and converges with blockchain. Finally, we covered his new company Agoric and their conceptualization of higher order smart contracts.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Mark's effort to prevent the government from suppressing the discovery of public key cryptography in the 1970s
  • The legendary project Xanadu and its attempt to create censorship-resistant web publishing
  • Mark's Agoric papers and the vision of markets for computation
  • Why AI hasn't changed the shortcomings of central planning
  • The difference between his view of smart contracts and Nick Szabo's
  • Their decade-spanning work on making JavaScript the best language for smart contracts
  • Agoric's work on higher order smart contracting

Links mentioned in this episode:


  • Azure: Deploy enterprise-ready consortium blockchain networks that scale in just a few clicks
  • Cosmos: Join the most interoperable ecosystem of connected blockchains

Support the show, consider donating:

This episode is hosted by Brian Fabian Crain & Sunny Aggarwal. Show notes and listening options: epicenter.tv/286

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