CS Talk - Balaji Srinivasan, 21.co

Event time: 
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 4:00pm
DL 220 See map
10 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Speaker: Balaji Srinivasan,  21.co
Title: How Bitcoin enables a Machine-Payable Web

Host: Zhong Shao


First, we had the World Wide Web, a web of links between documents. Then we had the Social Web, a social network of relationships between people. We believe the third web will be the Machine-Payable Web, where each node in the network is a machine and each edge is a micropayment between machines.

Towards this end, we’ve developed open source software called 21 that makes it simple to perform micropayments over HTTP. The software allows you to get digital currency onto any machine headlessly, set up web services that accept and transmit bitcoin over HTTP, and discover other machines with similar services to autonomously trade with.

The overall effect is to turn digital currency into the ultimate scarce system resource, on par with CPU, RAM, and hard drive space. Just as one can create a database index that consumes disk space to save time, we show that one can now write code that instead spends digital currency to outsource a computation to save time.

To illustrate the breadth of the implications, we conclude with several working examples: bitcoin-aware intelligent agents, APIs that implement autonomous surge pricing, and the development of a native market datastructure as a first class alternative to the well known queue. We ask that audience members bring their laptops to code along with the speaker!


Balaji S. Srinivasan is the CEO of 21.co and a Board Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Prior to taking the role of CEO at 21, Dr. Srinivasan was a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. He was named to the MIT TR35, was the co-founder and CTO of Founders Fund-backed Counsyl, and taught a MOOC with 200k students. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.