ALGORAND: A Truly Distributed Ledger

Thursday, April 5, 2018 - 7:00pm
32-G449 (Kiva)
Silvio Micali, MIT
Lecturer Photo

IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM
7:00 PM, Thursday, 5 April 2018
MIT Room 32-G449 (Kiva)
ALGORAND: A Truly Distributed Ledger
Silvio Micali, MIT
A distributed ledger is a tamperproof sequence of data that can be read and augmented by everyone. Distributed ledgers stand to revolutionize the way a democratic society operates. They secure all kinds of traditional transactions, such as payments, asset transfers, and titling, in the exact order in which they occur and enable totally new transactions, such as cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. They can remove intermediaries and usher in a new paradigm for trust. As currently implemented, however, distributed ledgers cannot achieve their enormous potential.

Algorand is an alternative, democratic, and efficient distributed ledger. Unlike prior ledgers based on 'proof of work', it dispenses with 'miners'. Algorand requires only a negligible amount of computation. Moreover, its transaction history does not 'fork' with overwhelming probability: i.e., Algorand guarantees the finality of all transactions. Finally, Algorand enjoys flexible self-governance. By using its hallmark propose-and-agree process, Algorand can correct its course as necessary or desirable, without any hard forks'.

Silvio Micali received his Laurea in Mathematics from the University of Rome and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California Berkeley. Since 1983 he has been on the MIT faculty of the EECS department, where he is currently Ford Professor of Engineering. Silvio's research interests are cryptography, zero knowledge proofs, pseudorandom generation, secure protocols, and mechanism design.

Silvio is the recipient of the Turing Award (in computer science), the Goedel Prize (in theoretical computer science) and the RSA prize (in cryptography). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. An overview of some of his accomplishments is online at

Silvio cofounded Peppercoin, a micropayments startup, and CoreStreet, which developed software for authorizing and validating transactions and signed communications. His latest startup Algorand is hoping to transform the blockchain marketplace.