Global Economics & Management

Blockchain and AI Seminar

We are currently not hosting any Blockchain seminars this semester.  Contact Info: Michelle Fiorenza,


  • December 3, 2019

    5:30-7:00 p.m.


    Matt Walsh,

    co-founder and General Partner of Castle Island Ventures


    General Partner, Castle Island Ventures

    Matt Walsh is a co-founder and General Partner of Castle Island Ventures, an early stage venture fund based in Cambridge, MA focused exclusively on the blockchain / cryptoasset sector. Prior to founding Castle Island Ventures, Matt was a Vice President at Fidelity Investments, where he led a number of the firm’s blockchain initiatives. While at Fidelity, he led the creation, operationalization and the investment strategy of a private fund focused on cryptoasset investments.

    Matt will discuss the three competing cryptoasset tribes, theories on value accrual on public blockchain networks, and perspectives on categories where we will see companies of consequence emerge over the next five years.

  • November 19, 2019

    E62-450, 5:30-7:00 p.m

    Julie Shah, Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and director of the Interactive Robotics Group


    Enhancing Human Capability with Intelligent Machine Teammates



    Every team has top performers -- people who excel at working in a team to find the right solutions in complex, difficult situations. These top performers include nurses who run hospital floors, emergency response teams, air traffic controllers, and factory line supervisors. While they may outperform the most sophisticated optimization and scheduling algorithms, they cannot often tell us how they do it. Similarly, even when a machine can do the job better than most of us, it can’t explain how. In this talk I share recent work investigating effective ways to blend the unique decision-making strengths of humans and machines. I discuss the development of computational models that enable machines to efficiently infer the mental state of human teammates and thereby collaborate with people in richer, more flexible ways. Our studies demonstrate statistically significant improvements in people’s performance on military, healthcare and manufacturing tasks, when aided by intelligent machine teammates.​

  • November 5, 2019

    E62-450, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

    Brad Newman, Partner at the Paul Hastings law firm
    Claude Vanel, Chair of New York State’s Assembly


    Emerging US Legislation of Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial Intelligence is transforming the world in many positive ways, while also creating significant challenges on issues such as job displacement, privacy, transparency and fairness in algorithmic decision making, or the use of advanced computing technologies to disrupt democracy. There is broad consensus that a regulatory guardrail is needed, but the process of creating it is just beginning. This session of the AI and Blockchain Seminar will focus on early legislative efforts to create an AI regulatory framework in the United States. Our first speaker, Silicon Valley attorney Brad Newman, Partner at the Paul Hastings law firm, will present the draft “AI Data Protection Act”, which he authored and is promoting among federal legislators. Our second Speaker, the Honorable Assembly Member Claude Vanel, Chair of New York State’s Assembly Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology, will discuss New York State’s recently adopted legislation creating a Commission to Study Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

  • October 29, 2019

    E62-450, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

    Connecting to the Decentralized, Resource-Optimized Future

    Hadley Stern, COO of Bloq, will discuss BloqCloud's vision of a multi-chain, interoperable future that will bring the best of blockchain protocols together in a composable/programmable platform.

  • September 24, 2019

    E62-450, 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.


    Towards a Decentralized and Open Music Ecosystem

    Thomas Hardjono , CTO of Connection Science and Engineering at MIT & George Howard, Associate Professor of music business/management at Berklee College of Music

    Abstract: Today’s digital music industry has placed technological demands on all stakeholders that have proven to be problematic in managing data, rights ownership, licensing and royalty settlement and distribution. The problems are multi-faceted across businesses, technologies, partnerships and data management processes. Furthermore, the next generation of artists, composers and entrepreneurs will face a global market that has user experiences we cannot even contemplate today. Very likely the underlying future infrastructure will based on blockchain technology  and decentralized peer-to-peer networks.  Music compositions will increasingly include mashups shared across social media or remixes experienced within Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality environments.  Decentralized and shared global tracking will provide true scaling capabilities of matching services to global participants. New economic incentive models need to be devised and explored in order to empower artists to reach their creative best.

  • September 17, 2019

    E62-450, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

    Jim Wagner and Paul Wehner, SFB Technologies, Inc. will be discussing SOV.  In 2018, the RMI passed legislation to declare and issue a new decentralized currency the Marshallese sovereign (SOV) as a second legal tender (the first being the US dollar). SOV is a fair and sustainable currency, where the monetary policy is programmed onto the blockchain, and seigniorage goes directly to currency holders and service providers. The Republic of the Marshall Islands is their first customer.

    To learn more about the Marshallese currency visit and for SFB Technologies


  • September 11, 2018

    Kevin Butter is R3's Research Lead, based in New York. He has led R3’s research department, helping provide thought-leadership across capital markets, cash & payments, insurance, identity, and global trade applications of blockchain technology. He also has helped spearhead the firm’s payment strategy and has been actively involved in several cash-related projects and initiatives. Prior to R3 he worked in the equity derivatives markets at Peak6 in Chicago and received his B.S. in Economics from Duke University.

    Location: E62-450

  • September 17, 2018

    Anders Brownworth With both Paxos and Gemini announcing 1 to 1 reserve backedcoins this past week, 2018 could easily be called the year of the stablecoin.Circle is soon to offer USDCoin, an ERC-20 based offering through CENTRE, whichdecentralizes the issuance as well. Anders Brownworth, Circle's ChiefEvangelist, will be with us Tuesday night to discuss the stablecoin landscape and the trading ecosystem around them.

    Location: E62-450

  • September 25, 2018

    David Fragale is Co-Founder of Atonomi, a decentralized trust and security protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). Atonomi is a spin-out of VC-backed, IoT Security company CENTRI Technology based in Seattle, WA. The Atonomi protocol enables secure, multi-vendor interoperability for the billions of IoT devices through its device identity and reputation system. Atonomi recently completed a $25M token sale and launched its beta product in May of this year. For more on Atonomi visit

    Location: E62-450

  • October 2, 2018

    The Media Lab DCI's Michael Casey, Rob Ali, Gary Gensler and Alin Dragos will lead a discussion on the state of things in the Blockchain and cryptocurrency environment, with a focus both on tech development and regulations.

    Location: E62-450

  • October 30, 2018

    Improving Election Accessibility via Mobile Voting

    A significant proportion of the American electorate doesn’t vote. Among certain demographics such as deployed military personnel and US citizens overseas, the turnout is 7%. In this talk Nimit Sawhney, Co-Founder and Ceo, Voatz will explore if it is feasible to utilize new technologies such as smartphones, biometrics and the blockchain to make our voting process more accessible and secure for those who are currently unable to vote via the traditional methods.


    Location:  E62-450

  • December 4, 2018

    Mark McDowell '88 is a co-founder and General Partner at Real Ventures, Canada's largest and most active early stage venture fund. Mark oversees the fund's crypto and blockchain investments, including Blockstream, where Real Ventures led the seed round in 2013. Mark will be sharing his perspective as an institutional VC on investing in crypto, blockchain and Web3.


    Location:  E62-450

  • December 11, 2018

    David Burt, the Premier of Bermuda, will be presenting to the last blockchain dinner of the year. He will be talking about his government's various initiatives exploring blockchain technology, including a government-issued digital currency. Premier Burt, who leads the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), was elected into office in July 2017 as Bermuda's youngest ever premier. He has a master's in information systems development from George Washington University.

    Location:  E62-450

  • February, 26, 2019, 11:45 - 12:45

    Arwen is a new secure way to trade at centralized exchanges, that allows traders to self-custody their coins while still enjoying the liquidity and speed of the exchange. Each trade is a cryptographic atomic swap, which means that the trader's coins are safe even if the exchange is hacked or becomes unresponsive. Arwen is live on testnet and will be launching on KuCoin in the coming months.  The Arwen team would love to talk to you about bringing Arwen to users of your exchange.  Sharon Goldberg is the CEO/Co-Founder of Arwen (formerly Commonwealth Crypto), and an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at Boston University. Her research focuses on network security and cryptography and her blockchain research has resulted in modifications to the BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC and ZEC protocols. She's authored over 30 technical papers and is the recipient of two IETF/IRTF Applied Networking Research Prizes, an NSF CAREER Award, and a Sloan Research Fellowship.


  • March 12, 2019

    Sheila Bair – Former Chair Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  She is on the board of Paxos, written for CoinDesk and spoken at a number of conference about crypto finance.   Sheila also has written 4 books on finance and served as President of Washington College; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury; SVP, New York Stock Exchange; Commissioner & Acting Chair of the CFTC; Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole; and Dean’s Professor of Financial Regulatory Policy at University of Massachusetts Amherst.  In recognition for her leadership at the FDIC, she won the JFK Library’s Profiles in Courage Award and was twice named by Forbes Magazine as the second most powerful woman in the world.


    11:45 - 12:45

  • April 9, 2019

    David Lighton is the Founder and CEO of SendFriend, an MIT-founded FinTech startup on a mission to build a more efficient and more inclusive $600 billion global remittance industry, using blockchain technology. Every year, more than $20 billion goes to excessive fees in this industry because of friction in the banking system and predatory pricing. SendFriend leverages distributed ledger technology to save customers money and create real-time payments functionality. The company is the inaugural US-partner in Ripple's 'xRapid' network and is backed by Techstars, Barclays, 2020 Ventures, 8 Decimal Capital, Ripple, the HBS Alumni Angels of NY, and others.

    Previously, David served as a Special Assistant in the World Bank, covering Haiti and financial inclusion after the devastating earthquake of 2010. He is a Global Justice Fellow at Yale University and graduated from MIT Sloan with an MBA, after completing the MIT Legatum Fellowship. He also earned MA and BA degrees from Johns Hopkins in International Economics and Affairs.


    11:45 - 12:45

  • May 7, 2019

    Jonah Crane, who advises FinTech startups on regulatory and policy matters and co-authored a research paper on blockchain and cryptocurrency with several members of the MIT community, will lead the blockchain seminar discussion.  Even as US regulators provide additional clarity regarding the legal status of various digital assets, it is clear that a significant portion of the overall market will not be subject to direct regulation. The Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) was formed to foster fair and orderly digital asset markets. ADAM's first step is to develop a code of conduct for trading digital assets. Jonah, who is leading the drafting of the Code as an advisor to ADAM, will discuss the unique challenges presented by digital assets and frameworks proposed or adopted in other jurisdictions intended to address those obstacles.


    11:45 - 12:45


  • September 19, 2017

    Micheal Casey, will discuss the summer research that the DCI's solar energy working group did on "The Prospects of Deploying Blockchain-based Solar Microgrids in Native American Communities."

    Location: E62-350

  • September 26, 2017

    Anders Brownworth Circle  will speak about Circle's smart contract and state channel implementation, code named Spark, which proposes a standard for value transfer in regulated financial environments.

    Location: E62-650

  • October 3, 2017

    A large delegation from the World Bank Group Technology and Innovation, Blockchain Lab Initiative and the IMF.

    Location: E62-350

  • October 17, 2017

    Sveinn Valfells will focus on quantifying the barriers to entry of the proof-of-work process, an "ex ante" or predictive indicator of how likely this core function of Bitcoin is to centralize under various conditions.

    Location: E62-350

  • October 31, 2017

    Gary Gensler served as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2009-2014) leading the Obama Adminstration's post crisis reform efforts of the $400 trillion over-the-counter derivatives, or swaps, market.  He currently is Chairman of the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission.

    Location: E62-350

  • November 7, 2017

    Tradge Dryja, MIT Media Lab, DCI, will give an update on the Lightening Network.

    Location: E62-350

  • November 14, 2017

    Steve Wagner,  from Fidelity Labs. Steve is Product Manager for Fidelity’s Bitcoin, Blockchain and Digital Currency Incubator, with a focus on merging these technologies with Fidelity’s business and creating new disruptive products and services. He will discuss Fidelity Labs’ activities and learnings in the Blockchain arena.

    Location: E62-350

  • November 28, 2017

    Ari Eisenstat, Co-Executive Director of Global Sustainability Index Institute.Acrossbusinesses, governments, and civil society, blockchain has the power tofundamentally change our relationship with technology and the world. Thisdiscussion will cover topics from the opportunities of blockchain in the impactinvestment space, exploring ICOs, banking, and venture capital. From there, wewill share how governments and international organizations such as the UN areusing distributed public ledgers to maximize sustainable development. Finally,we will look to the future and imagine the future of the blockchain and theimplications of a quantum internet. 

  • December 5, 2017

    Sarah Biller is a fintech entrepreneur, innovator and educator.  She is the Co-Founder of FinTech Sanbox.  She will address the question “What is the real state of institution’s use of Blockchain and could these efforts do more harm than good?”

    Location: E62-650

  • December 12, 2017

    Fredrik Voss, Vice President, Blockchain Innovation Nasdaq. Fredrik re-joined Nasdaq in2008. He is now holding the position as Vice President Blockchain Innovationwhere he is responsible for Nasdaq's blockchain innovation initiative. In thisrole he is advising the C-suite on corporate objectives and strategies forNasdaq's activities in the blockchain space and also responsible forimplementation and communication of approved strategies.

    Location: E62-350