Trust in Distributed Environments

Algorithmic systems are often publicly associated with a lack of transparency and a loss of human control. At the same time, networks like Bitcoin and its offspring enjoy unprecedented popularity. Being transparent both with respect to their inner workings and the data stored within them, such decentralized systems promise to abolish middlemen and trusted authorities and to thereby foster radical grassroots solutions.

The research group conducts interdisciplinary research on the following and related questions, drawing on expertise from computer science, law, sociology and economics:

  • Are such systems actually empowering users?
  • How is trust built and structured in distributed environments?
  • What are the implications of algorithmic rule enforcement, a feature inherent to most popular decentralization approaches?

More specific research interests include:

  • Monetary policy in decentralized financial systems
  • Automated contracts, algorithmic decision making and consumer welfare
  • Development processes of blockchain-based systems
  • Data storage on blockchains: legal challenges and technical solutions
  • Security and trust in public systems like Ethereum, Bitcoin and Stellar


Research Group Members

Further output of the research group

The research group publishes developed software via GitHub and presents empirical data, analyses and interactive applications at:


Publications of Research Group 17

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