Industry Experts, Academics Discuss Blockchain at U of A Conference

Mary Lacity delivers the keynote address at the 2018 Blockchain Conference.
Photo by David Speer, Walton College

Mary Lacity delivers the keynote address at the 2018 Blockchain Conference.

Nearly 225 academics and industry experts discussed the potential of blockchain technology and its application to the future of large and small businesses at the Blockchain Conference 2018 on Friday, April 6, in downtown Fayetteville. 

The Blockchain Conference was organized by Paul Cronan and Rajiv Sabherwal, co-directors of the Blockchain Consortium and professors in the Department of Information Systems at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

Mary Lacity, Curators' Distinguished Professor and International Business Fellow at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, was the event's keynote speaker. Her talk on "What are Blockchains? Why Should We Care?" sparked a lively discussion among the conference participants who packed a meeting room at Fayetteville's Chancellor Hotel.

A highlight of the morning session was a panel session on “The Blockchain Journey” where representations from businesses discussed efforts already underway or under study to incorporate blockchain into business on both the global and local level. On the panel were Kevin Yoder, associate director of innovation financial management for ArcBest; Jeff Charlson, chief executive officer and partner in Bike Rack Brewing Co.; Misty Decker, program manager of the IBMZ Academic Initiative for IBM; Jay Davidson, vice president of technology for J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.; Lee Slezak, vice president of IT Architecture at Tyson; and Archana Sristy, director, Engineering, Global Business Services at Walmart.

Afternoon breakout workshops consisted of hands-on applications of the latest blockchain technologies. They were:

  • Design your own 'Use Case' work session - 'Flesh it Out'
  • Introduction to Hyperledger using IBM Linux
  • Blockchain Software; Overview of SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain Pilot and Ethereum
  • Microsoft Strategy; Blockchain for the Enterprise
  • Business Analytics; Empowering the 'Citizen' Data Scientist using SAS

The event was hosted by the Enterprise Systems Blockchain Consortium of the Department of Information Systems, whose members include ArcBest, IBM, J.B. Hunt Transport Inc., Tyson Foods and Walmart.

In speaking to a group of University of Arkansas faculty and students in 2017, Lacity defined blockchain this way: "A blockchain is a decentralized, peer-to-peer system for validating, time-stamping and permanently storing transactions on a distributed ledger that uses encryption protocols to authenticate digital asset ownership and consensus protocols to prevent double spending, to add validated transactions to the ledger and to ensure the ongoing integrity of the ledger's complete history. Some blockchains also use smart contracts that apply rules to automatically execute transactions based upon pre-agreed conditions." She also is the author of a forthcoming book, A Manager's Guide to Blockchain Applications for Business: Mindshifts, Strategies and Action Principles.

Contacts

Paul Cronan, professor
Department of Information Systems
479-575-6130, cronan@uark.edu

David Speer, director of communications
Sam M. Walton College of Business
479-575-2539, dlspeer@uark.edu

Headlines

Arkansas Alumni Association Announces New Board Members

The Class of 2023 for the Arkansas Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors began work on July 1.

Arkansas Union to Re-Open in July

The Arkansas Union will reopen its entire facility beginning Monday, July 6. Hill Coffee Company will also re-open on Monday, July 6, with a limited menu. Club Red Union remains open 8 a.m.to 2 p.m. weekdays.

School of Art High School Summer Workshop Presents Virtual Exhibition 'Together Apart'

The U of A School of Art recently hosted the second annual summer workshop for high school students that concluded with an online exhibition, 'Together Apart.'

Civil Engineering Graduate Student Awarded American Water Works Association Scholarship

Civil engineering doctoral student Samuel Hodges has earned the American Water Scholarship to further his research into sample gathering technology for use in drinking water.

GPSC Shifts Funds to the Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Food Pantry

The Graduate-Professional Student Congress donated nearly $1,000 worth of food and other needed products to the Jane B. Gearhart Full Circle Campus Food Pantry.

News Daily