The W3C and MIT Media Lab are running the workshop ‘W3C Blockchains and the Web’, which has united the players of the young industry to discuss web standardisation matters.

The blockchain's popularity and possibilities have remarkably grown in the recent years and erupted in the last six months. The attendees, across industries and communities, will learn how to convert this trend to their profit with the assistance of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) who organised the workshop "Blockchains and the Web: A W3C Workshop on Distributed Ledgers on the Web". 

The event is held on 29-30 June 2016 at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts and aimed at a very ample audience: bitcoin advocates, Hyperledger and Ethereum communities, browser developers interested in adding support for blockchain APIs, identity systems, digital currency projects, security, privacy researchers, financial institutions, and developers of blockchain systems wishing to improve interoperability. The principal objective of the workshop is to identify and work through the areas that need web standardisation, in order to enable the industry players to take the right steps in the future.

The topics for the workshop were selected after survey among the prospective participants as follows:

  • 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
  • Identity systems, including privacy, security, and confidentiality factors
  • Rights expression and licensing
  • Decentralised processing, computing, and storage infrastructure
  • Optimal use cases for blockchains
  • Surveys of existing blockchain software systems
  • Testing mechanisms to increase interoperability, robustness, stability, and confidence in blockchain systems

The programme committee is jointly chaired by Doug Schepers, W3C; Daniel Buchner, Blockchain Identity; Program Manager, Microsoft; Neha Narula, Director of Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) MIT; and Dazza Greenwood, MIT Media Lab.

The team of experts include representatives of Blockstream, IPFS, LedgerX, Intel, Microsoft, Eris Industries, NTT, IBM Blockchain Labs, MIT Media Lab, W3C, ConsenSys, PayGate,, CELLOS consortium, BigchainDB, MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), Blockstack, EthCore, Monegraph, String, Dfinity, and Ethereum.

One of the most remarkable speakers on the list is Arvind Narayanan, an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton, who focuses on information privacy and security, and editor of popular blogs Freedom to Tinker and 33 Bits of Entropy. Narayanan’s video course “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies” is available at Coursera. 

MIT Media Lab also created a website for streaming of the webinars held within the framework of the Blockchain workshop.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology traditionally favours bitcoin and blockchain projects. In December 2015, MIT announced the launch of a new blockchain platform that provides access to stored private data. In March 2016, MIT Media Lab created a $900,000 fund to help bitcoin core developers Wladimir van der Laan, Gavin Andresen and Cory Fields in their advancement of the technology. While currently, the fund supports specifically bitcoin developers, its representatives consider the possibility of creating a separate financing body to back the open-source development of other virtual currencies.


Ludmila Brus