November 2018 Newsletter

Blockchain@UBC unites academia, commerce, government, and communities into a research and education-focused ecosystem, which leverages the potential of the blockchain and distributed ledger technology to empower individuals and groups in measurably solving human, social and technical problems, starting with the people of Vancouver and expanding out globally.

Upcoming Events

From Plutocracy to Meritocracy:

How blockchain changes digital platform strategies

We live in the age of the digital platform. Many of the world’s largest companies create value by connecting us to one another, rather than by producing something directly. However, distributed trust technologies such as blockchain are now presenting an existential threat to this model. Public blockchains and smart contracts can enable the creation of decentralized platforms that do not rely on profit-seeking intermediaries, and can allow individuals to own and control their user data. Without the possibility to own and control platform architecture and user data, a firm’s strategy must change fundamentally if it is to survive in this new world.

This research conceptualizes how blockchain technologies change firm strategy in platform ecosystems, and asks: under what circumstances should firms continue to exist at all?
Who: Chris Rowell, DSc (Tech), is a Postdoctoral researcher and instructor at the UBC Sauder School of Business.
When: Tuesday, December 18th from 12:00- 1:00 PM
Where: Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning 
Event Details Here

AGM: CryptoSocial w/ Industry

Friday, November 30th from 6:00 - 8:00 PM
The UBC Blockchain Club welcomes you to our annual general meeting!

We're bringing in Godfrey Hobbs, a developer from Consensys, to speak on his experiences at Consensys, one of the largest blockchain companies in the industry!
Many other industry professionals, as well as UBC professors and researchers, will also be attending.

You'll also be able to hear about what the club has in store for next term and year!

Event Details Here


Book these dates!

Monthly Research Talk
Tuesday, January 15 
Regulations and Blockchain Technology: Separating Fact from Fiction - A presentation by iComply based on research conducted with Blockchain@UBC

Monthly Research Talk:
Tuesday, February 26th 
Blockchain & Healthcare - A presentation by Visiting Scholar Chandana Unnithan, Associate Professor of Public Health, Torrens University of Australia 

Community Events


November 29th - 30th
If you’re interested in finance and technology, the 4th annual VanFUNDING Conference is next week in Vancouver (November 29th and 30th). There’s a really great group of contributors this year, covering new developments in blockchain and other emerging technologies, and providing insights into the future of finance. More details here.

There is a 50% discount code for students as well, please reply to this email if you would like to receive one.


Victoria Lemieux

Won the Britt Literary Award for her paper “Blockchain recordkeeping: a SWOT analysis”

Presented as part of a panel on Blockchain Technology at the Association of Information Science and Technology Annual Conference (ASI&T) held in Vancouver, Nov. 10-14.

Presented a 1-day workshop with iSchool doctoral students, Darra Hofman and Danielle Batista, and iSchool MAS/MLIS student, Alysha Joo, to the members of the ARMA Vancouver Island Chapter on “Blockchain for Records: Transforming our Digital World.” They were joined by John Jordan who has been leading the BC Government’s application of blockchain technology (Hyperledger Indy) to business registration and Lee White, who has been working on a project concerning Data Sovereignty for Indigenous Sovereignty that has been exploring the use of blockchain technology. 


Chen Feng

His paper (with Rotman) on ICOs has made it as a top-10 list:
"INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS, BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY, AND WHITE PAPER DISCLOSURES", was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: ARN Subject Matter eJournals and Accounting Research Network.

Submitted a research paper titled “Selfish Mining in Ethereum” with the following abstract:

"As the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and today's biggest decentralized platform that runs smart contracts, Ethereum has received much attention from both academia and industry. Nevertheless, there exist very few studies about the security of its mining strategies, especially from the selfish mining perspective.
In this paper, we fill this research gap by analyzing selfish mining in Ethereum and understanding its potential threat. First, we introduce a 2-dimensional Markov process to model the behavior of a selfish mining strategy inspired by a Bitcoin mining strategy proposed by Eyal and Sirer. Second, we derive the stationary distribution of our Markov model and compute long-term average mining rewards. This allows us to determine the threshold of computational power which makes selfish mining profitable in Ethereum. Our findings suggest that Ethereum is more vulnerable to selfish mining than Bitcoin.”

Preparing a research paper on a measurement study of the Lightning Network.

Preparing another research paper on the mathematical modelling and analysis for blockchains.

Going to teach a new undergraduate-level course (ENGR453: Internet of Things) from Jan-2019 for which one module (out of 3) will be on blockchain technology.

Going to teach a graduate-level course (ENGR566: Advanced Communication Networks) from Jan-2019 whose entire focus will be on blockchain technology.

Serving as a scientific consultant on blockchain technology for the Creative Destruction Lab since Nov 2018.

Chris Rowell

This month a research team from Blockchain@UBC wrapped up a Mitacs Accelerate project with industry partner iComplyICO. Led by Dr. Chris Rowell, the research team engaged with a wide range of experts linked to the ICO space to better understand the emerging context and how to enhance the safety, efficiency and legitimacy of ICOs. These findings were published by iComplyICO in a report available here.

"The study found that ICO issuers currently face a “compliance trilemma”, whereby they can achieve two of the following three objectives: (1) accessing widespread pool of investors with (2) a fully compliant token offering, in (3) a way that is cost-effective. One possible solution to resolving the trilemma is using an automated compliance protocol to significantly reduce the costs of regulatory compliance over time."

Since its release, the research has garnered media attention. Here are some examples of media citations: 
University of British Columbia Study: ‘Compliance Trilemma’ Limits Potential of ICOs
Latest Crypto Study Shows ‘Compliance Trilemma’ Curbs Initial Coin Offerings Real Advantages
‘Trilemma of Compliance’ biggest hurdle for ICOs


Darra Hofman and Alimir Novin (iSchool doctoral students)

Presented a paper entitled “Blocked and Chained: Blockchain and Problems of Privacy and Transparency" at  the Association of Information Science and Technology Annual Conference (ASI&T) held in Vancouver,

Wei Cai, Zehua Wang, Jason B. Ernst, Zhen Hong, Chen Feng, Victor C. M. Leung

Published "Decentralized Applications: The Blockchain-Empowered Software System", IEEE Access, Vol. 6, pp. 53019 - 53033, 2018.


William Nikolakis, Lijo John, and Harish Krishnan

Published (2018). How Blockchain Can Shape Sustainable Global Value Chains: An Evidence, Verifiability, and Enforceability (EVE) Framework. Sustainability, (in press)

Call for Papers

More information at the Journal of Database Management (JDM)

Special Issue On: Blockchain and Smart Contracts
Submission Due Date: 4/1/2019

Guest Editors:
Hemang Subramanian, Florida International University, USA
Rong Liu, Stevens Institute of Technology, USA

For an in depth look at what happened over the last few months, please go to the Blockchain@UBC website and check out the newsletters for more information.

Blockchain@UBC Monthly Research Talk

"An Analysis of Proof-of-Work based Blockchains under An Adaptive Double-spending Attack"

In this talk, G. Reza Ramezan, a research assistant and Ph.D. candidate at The University of British Columbia (UBC), proposed an adaptive strategy for double-spending attack on blockchains. 

Thank you to all those who attended the event. For more details on the event please check the Eventbrite page here.

UBC Vancouver 

Our main office is located in the Forest Sciences Centre Building, FSC 3641 – 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver. If you are in and around FSC, please do drop by on Tuesdays and Thursdays to say hello (although drop Sean an email just to check that he’ll be in office). 

UBC Okanagan

Assistant Professor Chen Fengour UBC Okanagan co-cluster lead, is located in office EME 4285, in the School of Engineering - 1137 Alumni Ave, Kelowna, BC. He can be contacted by telephone (Tel: 250-807-8286) or email ( He is hosting a computer node for

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