Opinion: MIT-led team is aiming to build a better cryptocurrency – Sandy Pentland

Sandy Pentland, MIT Sloan Information Technology Professor

From MarketWatch

New technologies that make it possible to reinvent our financial system have exploded over the past decade.

Bitcoin BTCUSD, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies are proof that there’s a market for alternatives to the big, powerful players. And yet, it’s unclear how these cryptocurrencies will affect the economic landscape. Problems like bubbles, financial crashes and inflation aren’t going away any time soon. (Ahem, note recent events.)

But in the future, things could be different. These digital currencies and their supporting infrastructure hold great promise for deepening our understanding of the monetary circuit. With newfound clarity, we can build tools for minimizing financial risk; we can also learn to identify and act on early-warning signals, thus improving system stability. In addition, this new level of transparency could broaden participation in the economy and reduce the concentration of wealth.

A crypto alternative

How might this work? Leading cryptocurrencies, with bitcoin being perhaps the most famous, or infamous, example, have considerable logistical limitations. An alternative is needed. Read More »

Join the #MITSloanExperts “The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything” Twitter chat, February 28

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, by Michael Casey and Paul Vigna

MIT Sloan’s Michael Casey and Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna, authors of The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, will discuss their new book that examines applications of blockchain technology with the potential to provide new financial security, social change, and personal empowerment, during a Twitter chat on February 28th at 1 p.m. ET.

Michael Casey is a Senior Lecturer of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Senior Advisor for the Digital Currency Imitative at MIT’s Media Lab, where he studies blockchain and its applications in the social and economic sectors. Additionally, Casey is a writer and researcher in the field of economics, finance, and digital-currency technology. Casey received his undergraduate degree from The University of Western Australia, his graduate diploma in Journalism from Curtin University of Technology and received his Master of Arts and English in 1994 from Cornell University.

Paul Vigna is a markets reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where he focuses on blockchain, bitcoin, and other cryptocurrency news. He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and has authored three books to date. Vigna received his undergraduate degree from Fairfield University in 1990.

Casey and Vigna will discuss their work with Mark Hochstein, managing editor of CoinDesk and veteran business journalist with experience covering financial services and bitcoin innovations.

Join us on Twitter on February 28 at 1 p.m. ET, follow along using #MITSloanExperts, and potentially win a free copy of The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything.

How blockchain technology will impact the digital economy–Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

From University of Oxford Faculty of Law.

The Platform of the Future?

The survival of any organization depends on its ability to outperform competitors and marketplaces in attracting and rewarding talent, ideas and capital. As communication and transaction costs have drastically declined because of the internet, new platforms have emerged, delivering goods and services at a speed and efficiency previously unimaginable. These new digital players took advantage of the changes in the underlying technology to challenge established business models and rethink pre-existing value chains. The ones that succeeded did so because they achieved a level of efficiency that their brick and mortar counterparts had trouble replicating. Through online reputation and feedback systems, digital players were able to create global marketplaces where individuals, products and services could be matched more effectively than ever before. By providing curation and ensuring the safety of transactions, these new types of intermediaries were able to reap the returns of this first wave of digitization.

A similar transformation is about to happen as blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies mature and mainstream applications emerge. Under this new wave of technological change, intermediaries will still be able to add value to transactions, but thenature of intermediation will fundamentally change. Whereas some established players will be able to use this opportunity to further scale their operations, others will be challenged by new entrants proposing entirely new approaches to value creation and value capture.

Read More »

Blockchain: New MIT Research Looks Beyond the Hype – Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

From Crowdfund Insider

With a market capitalization of approximately $12 billion and with the price of Bitcoin reaching towards its 2016 high, Bitcoin is both the most established and the most secure cryptocurrency. Its ascendancy has triggered both a great deal of enthusiasm and a fair share of concern.

On the utopian side, optimistic proponents assert that cryptocurrencies will free consumers from the tyranny of their domestic currencies, will force out entrenched financial players and payment systems, will reduce transaction costs for businesses and fees for consumers.

On the dystopian side, pessimistic opponents argue that cryptocurrencies may undermine traditional monetary policy, support illicit activity, or simply cannot meet the speed, scale and privacy requirements of real-world financial applications and marketplaces.

Read More »