Introduction to Ethereum and Smart Contracts


Joseph Lubin: Co-founder of the Ethereum Project, and also founder of ConsenSys since January 2014
Kieren James-Lubin: Founder of BlockApp
James Slazas : Chief Financial Officer at ConsenSys


Ethererum is an open-source, decentralized cryptocurrency and blockchain platform that runs smart contracts. It was developed by a worldwide team of developers on behalf of the Swiss nonprofit Ethereum Foundation. BlackRock hosted a Meetup event for the NYC Ethereum Enthusiasts group on January 25th, 2016. Just over 100 people gathered in our New York office for the event, with another 60 joining via videoconference from Singapore and San Francisco.

Ethereum cofounder Joseph Lubin started the event with a brief introduction of Ethereum’s history, and its current status, followed by an explanation of its five components: blockchain, cryptographic token, peer-to-peer-network, the consensus formation algorithm, and the virtual machine. He described how his startup, ConsenSys, seeks to reduce the computing power required by blockchain networks by validating transactions through “proof of stake,” an opt-in incentive, instead of “proof of work,” where every node in the network validates transactions. He moved on to talk about the application layer of Ethereum, on which ConsenSys is building decentralized applications, or “dApps”.

The second speaker, his son Kieran, Chief Product Officer of BlockApp, gave a demo on how to actually set up a smart contract using a tool called bloc.

Finally, the event concluded with another demo by ConsenSys team member James Slazas, a former derivatives trader who showed the startup’s vision for a Total Return Swap using the blockchain, including collateral selection, exchange and settlement in less than four minutes.

For more photos of the session, please check out this event’s meetup page here!