Agoric and the Decades-Long Quest for Secure Smart Contracts: Epicenter Interview with Mark S. Miller

Brian Fabien Crain and Sunny Aggarwal interviewed Agoric’s Chief Scientist, Mark S. Miller, on the history of smart contracts, the Agoric Papers, and more, on the Epicenter Podcast. With thanks to the Epicenter Podcast & Infominer, we have shared the interview here with navigable links. This version has been lightly edited for clarity and readability.

We were joined by Mark S. Miller, Chief Scientist at Agoric. Mark is a computer scientist who has done ground-breaking work on many topics relevant to blockchain and smart contracts going back decades. We discussed his visionary 1988 Agoric papers, which explored how markets could be applied to the world of software. We also covered how his view of smart contracts, which focused on secure bilateral agreements, complements and converges with blockchain. Finally, we covered his new company Agoric and their conceptualization of higher order smart contracts.

Topics discussed in this interview:

  • Mark’s effort to prevent the government from suppressing the discovery of public key cryptography in the 1970s
  • The legendary project Xanadu and its attempt to create censorship-resistant web publishing in the 1970s
  • The Agorics papers and the vision of markets for computation
  • Why AI hasn’t changed the shortcomings of central planning
  • Comparisons and alignments of Mark’s view of smart contracts with Nick Szabo’s
  • Their decade-spanning work on making JavaScript the best language for smart contracts
  • Agoric’s work on higher order smart contracting today Read more