Blockchain—You've heard the term, now understand the impact.
Digital technologies let people who’ve never met do business across borders and continents in an instant. But how can they trust one another without relying on bureaucracy and middlemen? How can security, identity, and ownership be guaranteed while still operating at the speed of the Internet?
Blockchains, or distributed ledgers, may provide the answer.
Companies, researchers, and governments are exploring how blockchains can secure trust without the need for middlemen or third parties. Leaders in every industry from finance to health care, music to renewable energy, must understand how distributed ledgers can help them operate more efficiently.
MIT Technology Review in collaboration with MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative invite you to a one-day conference examining the technology, ethics, and impact of blockchains.
• Meet pioneers in this emerging field
• Learn about the technology to gain business advantage
• Separate fact from hype, and what’s imminent from what’s far off
Meet the pioneers of this emerging technology.
CTO, Technical Solutioning, IBM
Industry Impact: Trust and Transparency in Global TradeGurvinder Ahluwalia is the “Field” CTO for cloud computing across IBM’s hardware, software, and service businesses for the U.S. market, covering around 70% of the company’s cloud portfolio. He provides architecture leadership to solution, migrate, and integrate applications and edge devices for business enabled by cloud technology.
Based in Dallas, Guri is engaged in standards-related and open-source movements including OpenStack, CloudFoundry, NIST, and the Open Group. He hosts the Dallas developers Meetup on Cloud Foundry and Bluemix.
Research Scientist, DCI, MIT Media Lab
The Future of Digital CurrencyRobleh Ali is a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab's Digital Currency Initiative. His main focus is on how national currencies can be issued digitally outside the existing banking system and the role of central banks in such a system. The overall aim of the work is fundamentally reforming the financial system by changing the way money is issued. He previously led the research into central bank issued digital currency at the Bank of England.
Executive Director, Blockchain Program Lead, J.P. Morgan
Transformation at Scale: Building Tomorrow’s Financial Markets TodayAmber Baldet is the Executive Director, Blockchain Program Lead at J.P. Morgan. Established in 2015, J.P. Morgan’s Blockchain Center of Excellence sets a comprehensive blockchain strategy for the Corporate and Investment Bank, while also developing cutting edge technology, curating Strategic Investments, and performing client outreach. Before joining J.P. Morgan, Amber worked in strategy, product, and application development at Capco, Citigroup Alternative Investments / Old Lane LLP, and Avalon Research.
Executive Director, Hyperledger Project
Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and PotentialBrian Behlendorf is executive director of the Hyperledger Project. Behlendorf was a primary developer of the Apache Web server, the most popular Web server software on the Internet, and a founding member of the Apache Software Foundation. He has also served on the board of the Mozilla Foundation since 2003 and the Electronic Frontier Foundation since 2013. He was the founding CTO of CollabNet and CTO of the World Economic Forum. Most recently, Behlendorf was a managing director at Mithril Capital Management, a global technology investment firm.
Senior Vice President, Treasury & Financial Services, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
The View from a Central BankerAs senior vice president of treasury and financial services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, James "Jim" Cunha leads the Bank's treasury, payments, and related businesses. Jim is also responsible for two U.S. Treasury businesses supported by the Boston Fed: Stored Value Card (a chip-based prepaid card used worldwide by the U.S. military) and Invoice Processing Platform (a Web-based portal to automate purchase order and invoice processing for Federal agencies and their vendors). Jim has worked at the Boston Fed since 1984. Before that, he worked at Fleet National Bank. He has a BS in accounting and philosophy from Northeastern University and a BA in computer science from Rhode Island College. He is chairman of the board of Children's Friend and Family Services of Salem, Massachusetts, and an ex officio member of the board of directors at New England ACH Association, a payments education nonprofit.
Associate Professor, Cornell University
What Could Go Wrong? When Blockchains Fail.Emin Gün Sirer is an associate professor of computer science at Cornell University. His research interests span distributed systems, security, and operating systems, with a particular emphasis on digital currencies and self-organizing systems. He is the inventor of Karma, the first cryptocurrency based on Proof of Work that predated Bitcoin. He is also known for having co-discovered the biggest known protocol flaw in the Nakamoto Consensus, for having fought mining centralization, for developing security measures to protect high-value digital assets from theft, and for anticipating the DAO hack. He runs the popular blog Hacking, Distributed.
Director, MIT Media Lab
Blockchain: State of the StateJoichi “Joi” Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways.
Ito is chairman of the board of PureTech and as served as both board chair and CEO of Creative Commons. He sits on the boards of Sony, the Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the New York Times Company. In Japan, he is executive researcher of KEIO SFC, was a founder of Digital Garage, and helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider. Ito was an early investor in numerous companies, including Flickr, Six Apart, Last.fm, littleBits, Formlabs, Kickstarter, and Twitter.
Ito’s honors include being named to Time magazine’s “Cyber-Elite” in 1997 (at age 31) and selected as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum in 2001. In 2008, BusinessWeek named him one of the “25 Most Influential People on the Web.” In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute. He is coauthor with Jeff Howe of Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future (Grand Central Publishing, December 2016).
Founder and Managing Partner, Future\Perfect Ventures
Beyond Finance: Considering the Business and Social Impact of BlockchainsJalak Jobanputra is founding partner of Future\Perfect Ventures, a venture capital fund in NYC focused on early-stage investments in next-generation technology including blockchain and machine learning. She previously served as director of mobile investments in emerging markets at Omidyar Network and senior vice president at the New York City Investment Fund, where she worked closely with the Bloomberg administration and the New York City Economic Development Corporation to help diversify the city’s economy through its growing tech and digital sectors. Before joining NYCIF, she was a principal at New Venture Partners, a $300 million early-stage venture fund where she incubated a range of technologies, including speech recognition/NLP, 3-D displays, video surveillance, 4G wireless broadband, and music recommendation software. Jobanputra began her career in media, telecom, and tech investment banking at Lehman Brothers and Broadview. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in communications from the Annenberg School and a BSE in finance from the Wharton School, and she received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in 1999, after which she spent four months setting up microfinance programs and training women entrepreneurs in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Her blog The Barefoot VC has repeatedly been cited as a Top 10 investor blog, and she is a frequent guest on Bloomberg TV, CBNC and Fox Business news. She sits on the board of directors for the Center for an Urban Future, the advisory board of L’Oréal’s Women in Digital Initiative, and Mayor DeBlasio’s Broadband Taskforce and served on Hillary Clinton’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Professor of Global Economics and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
Three Problems to be SolvedSimon Johnson is the Ronald A. Kurtz (1954) Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he is also head of the Global Economics and Management group and chair of the Sloan Fellows MBA Program Committee. He cofounded and currently leads the popular Global Entrepreneurship Lab (GLAB) course, in which MBA students have worked on more than 500 projects with startup companies around the world over the past 16 years. He also works closely with Joi Ito, head of MIT’s Media Lab, on the Digital Currency Initiative.
Over the past seven years, Johnson has published more than 300 high-impact pieces for the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the New Republic, BusinessWeek, the Huffington Post, the Financial Times, and Project Syndicate. He is the coauthor (with James Kwak) of the bestseller 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown and the follow-up book on U.S. fiscal policy, White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters for You.
From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, Johnson was the International Monetary Fund’s chief economist and director of its research department. From April 2009 to April 2015, he was a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers. In July 2014, Johnson joined the Financial Research Advisory Committee of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research; he chairs the recently formed Global Vulnerabilities Working Group.
Johnson holds a BA in economics and politics from the University of Oxford, an MA in economics from the University of Manchester, and a PhD in economics from MIT.
Director of Research, DCI, MIT Media Lab
The Implications of Open, Trustless Digital Payments and ContractsNeha Narula is director of research at the Digital Currency Initiative, a part of the MIT Media Lab where she teaches courses and leads cryptocurrency and blockchain research. While completing her PhD in computer science at MIT, she built fast, scalable databases and secure software systems, and she spoke about these topics at dozens of industry and research conferences.
In a previous life, Narula helped relaunch the news aggregator Digg and was a senior software engineer at Google. There, she designed Blobstore, a system for storing and serving petabytes of immutable data, and worked on Native Client, a system for running native code securely through a browser.
Principal and Founder, LO3 Energy
Industry Impact: Peer-to-Peer Energy TransactionsLawrence Orsini is the founder of LO3 Energy, a groundbreaking energy and tech company working on innovative new hardware and software products in distributed energy and computation. Previously, Lawrence was director of new products for CLEAResult, working as the strategic lead on developing, piloting, and deploying new utility service offerings. His work focused on energy efficiency, microgrids, and load management for commercial, industrial, and residential market sectors.
Founding Managing Director, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship
The Promise of the Open Music InitiativePanos is the founder and current Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) as well as a passionate entrepreneur, educator, and startup mentor.
As the founder of Sonicbids, he created the leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online, building a subscriber network of 550,000 bands and 35,000 promoters from over 100 countries. He led the company as CEO for 13 years, from its inception until after its successful acquisition in a deal backed by Guggenheim Partners.
Panos is also the co-founder of the Open Music Initiative, which has brought together over 140 leading music, media, technology industry organizations and academic institutions to create a blockchain-based open protocol for uniform identification of musical rights owners and creators.
Panos is a native of Cyprus, holds a Music Business & Management degree from Berklee College of Music, and lives with his wife Kimberly and twin daughters Zoë and Lydia in Watertown, MA.
Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Fighting Poverty with Digital PaymentsKosta is a technologist whose interests lie at the intersection of technology, finance, and innovation. He is the author of The Castle and the Sandbox, a book explaining how to foster innovation in established companies
Kosta is currently deputy director of the Financial Services for the Poor program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he leads the team that focuses on digital payments. From governance through business models to technology, from ideas through architecture to development, he oversees the strategy and grants to deliver secure, reliable, and affordable digital payment solutions.
Previously, he was the cofounder and leader of Innotribe, the SWIFT initiative to enable collaborative innovation in the financial industry. At SWIFT, he was also the chief architect of SWIFTNet, the backbone worldwide secure network currently connecting 8,000 banks and 1,000 corporations, servicing the world economy daily.
Editor in Chief and Publisher, MIT Technology ReviewAs editor in chief, Jason Pontin is responsible for the editorial direction, media platforms, and business strategy of MIT Technology Review, including the rapidly expanding U.S. and international websites, the award-winning print magazine, videos, newsletters, business reports, and live events such as EmTech, the company’s annual conference focused on emerging technologies. He also serves as chairman of its international entrepreneurial network, MIT Enterprise Forum. Mr. Pontin joined MIT Technology Review in 2004 as its editor and was named publisher in August 2005. Mr. Pontin was born in London and raised in Northern California. He was educated in England, at Harrow School and Oxford University.
Business Unit Director, Additive Manufacturing & Innovation, Moog Aircraft Group
Industry Impact: Aerospace Supply ChainAt Moog Aircraft Group, which he joined in 2013, James’s responsibilities include new capabilities development, business development, innovation strategies, and capabilities-based strategy designs. Currently, he is leveraging Moog’s market-leading 3-D-printing capability to meet customers’ aircraft sustainment challenges and innovating in supply chain strategies with his patent-pending blockchain-based solution, VeriPart. Prior to joining Moog, James was a colonel in the United States Air Force. He has commanded at the group and squadron level and held positions on the Joint Staff, Air Staff, and Strategic Command staffs. Additionally, he served as deputy executive secretary of the National Security Council in both the Bush and Obama administrations. James was also a command C-17 and KC-135 pilot.
James holds a BS in geography from the United States Air Force Academy, a master’s of aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s degree in military operational arts and sciences from the Air Command and Staff College, and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from the National Defense University, Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Head of Digitization, CME Group
A Markets Perspective: Digital Assets, Price Transparency, and BlockchainsSandra Ro is Executive Director and Head of Digitization at CME Group. Ro is responsible for the company’s digital assets and blockchain / DLT initiatives. Previously, as Head of Foreign Exchange (FX) and Metals Research and Product Development, she was responsible for the global development of CME Group FX and Metals solutions.
Ro holds a MBA in Finance from London Business School, studied Computer Science at Columbia University School of Continuing Education, and received a double BA Degree in History and Studies in the Environment from Yale University, specialized in the proliferation of biological and chemical weaponry in the 20th century.
Blockchain 2017 Schedule
Join the conversation.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
8:30Registration & Breakfast
A welcome from MIT Technology Review’s editor in chief and publisher, our forum emcee.Jason Pontin Editor in Chief and Publisher, MIT Technology Review
9:05Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential
The state of the art in blockchain technology, and the potential that this technology has for commercial impact.Brian Behlendorf Executive Director, Hyperledger Project
Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential
9:30Distributed Ledgers: A Tale of Two Wall Streets
How might the current financial system look different with the arrival of blockchain technologies?Simon Johnson Professor of Global Economics and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management
Three Problems to be SolvedAmber Baldet Executive Director, Blockchain Program Lead, J.P. Morgan
Transformation at Scale: Building Tomorrow’s Financial Markets TodaySandra Ro Head of Digitization, CME Group
A Markets Perspective: Digital Assets, Price Transparency, and Blockchains
10:30Break & Networking
11:00When Blockchains Fail
What could possibly go wrong? Let’s take a look.Emin Gün Sirer Associate Professor, Cornell University
What Could Go Wrong? When Blockchains Fail.
11:30A New Foundation for Financial Services?
Examining the future of digital currencies and financial services.Robleh Ali Research Scientist, DCI, MIT Media Lab
The Future of Digital CurrencyJim Cunha Senior Vice President, Treasury & Financial Services, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
The View from a Central Banker
12:10Beyond Finance: Considering the Business and Social Impact of BlockchainsJalak Jobanputra Founder and Managing Partner, Future\Perfect Ventures
Beyond Finance: Considering the Business and Social Impact of Blockchains
12:30Lunch & Networking
Industries around the world are considering the potential applications and influence of blockchains.Gurvinder Ahluwalia CTO, Technical Solutioning, IBM
Industry Impact: Trust and Transparency in Global TradeLawrence Orsini Principal and Founder, LO3 Energy
Industry Impact: Peer-to-Peer Energy TransactionsJames Allen Regenor Business Unit Director, Additive Manufacturing & Innovation, Moog Aircraft Group
Industry Impact: Aerospace Supply Chain
3:30Break & Networking
4:00The Future of Creativity
The Open Music Initiative will help artists maintain ownership of their work, while unleashing creative tools for the digital era.Panos Panay Founding Managing Director, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship
The Promise of the Open Music InitiativeNeha Narula Director of Research, DCI, MIT Media Lab
The Implications of Open, Trustless Digital Payments and Contracts
New approaches are emerging to address challenges from serving the unbanked to supporting displaced populations.Kosta Peric Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Fighting Poverty with Digital Payments
5:00The View Ahead
Closing plenary session examines the potential implications for every business to consider in the decade ahead.
Simon Johnson and Robleh Ali will return to the stage to join Joi Ito for the closing roundtable discussion.Joi Ito Director, MIT Media Lab
Blockchain: State of the State
What to expect
MIT Technology Review in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative invite you to Business of Blockchain, a one-day conference examining the technology, ethics, and impact of blockchains.
• Meet pioneers in this emerging field
• Learn about the technology to gain business advantage
• Separate fact from hype, and what’s imminent from what’s far off
News + Views
Using the technology behind Bitcoin, participants in the Brooklyn Microgrid are buying and selling locally generated renewable energy over a peer-to-peer network.
A project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to use distributed ledger technology to help the two billion people worldwide who lack bank accounts.
A member of the Federal Reserve and a researcher say there are a lot of problems to solve before digital currency will ever disrupt the global financial system.
An expert who is studying Bitcoin and blockchain technologies says those looking to commercialize them need to be aware of potentially dangerous technical issues.
The Digital Currency Initiative
MIT Technology Review is proud to present this program in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initative.
Visit the DCI homepage »
The DCI is a research group at MIT focusing on cryptocurrency and its underlying technologies. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin enable open, trustless digital payments and contracts. In the spirit of the Internet's wide reach, this technology, and the people behind it, have the potential to impact billions of people and become a crucial part of daily life. We engage in fundamental research while shedding light on the associated benefits, risks, and ethical quandaries. Beyond research centered at MIT, we also help support open-source cryptocurrency communities and diversity, and hope to foster a broader academic community in this space.
Venue + Travel
April 18, 2017
MIT Media Lab
MIT Media Lab
75 Amherst Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
View on a campus map »
Conference Location: Entire 6th floor of Building E14
Attendee Registration: Lobby on 1st floor of Building E14
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MIT is located on the north shore of the Charles River Basin in Cambridge, MA, USA. The campus is within three miles of two major interstate highways and less than six miles from a major international airport; it is accessible via public transportation. MIT is a 15-30 minute walk from downtown Boston (depending on the weather). MIT is a 30-40 minute walk from Harvard University, which is located just up the river from MIT.
Via Public Transportation
MBTA ("The T") Subway — Take the Red Line subway to the Kendall/MIT Station.
The Media Lab is located on the Red Line at the "Kendall/MIT" stop of the subway. You can transfer to the Red Line without additional fees from any other subway line at the appropriate station. Please check the subway map at your boarding point for more detailed information.
At the Kendall/MIT stop, you will surface on Main Street in Kendall Square. Landmarks include the Marriott Hotel and the MIT Coop. Facing Main Street, with the Marriott Hotel and the MIT Coop to your back, proceed right (west) to the first traffic light. This is the intersection of Main Street and Ames Street, with Legal Seafoods on the corner. Turn left onto Ames Street. The Media Lab is about halfway down the block, the second building on the left at 20 Ames Street. It is a large, contemporary, whitetiled building. Adjacent and connected to E15 is the new Media Lab expansion building (E14); its address is 75 Amherst Street. For information on Boston's public transportation system, including maps and schedules for bus, subway, and commuter rail service, please consult the MBTA.
From Logan Airport
By Taxi — Taxi fare from the airport is about $20$25. During nonrush hour, the taxi ride will take about 15 minutes. During rush hour, the ride could take 30 minutes.
By Subway — From any terminal at Logan Airport, take the Silver Line bus to South Station. At South Station, change to the Red Line subway to Kendall/MIT (inbound toward Alewife). Under normal conditions the ride will take about 30 minutes; the fare is $2.00.
By Car — Leaving the airport, follow the signs to the Sumner Tunnel. Enter the tunnel and stay in the right lane. At the end of the tunnel, continue to stay in the right lane, start down an incline and bear to the right immediately at the sign for Storrow Drive. Take Exit 26 for Cambridge/Somerville. Follow the signs for Back Bay/Cambridge (do not take the exit for Cambridge/Somerville). Stay in the right lane and follow the signs for Storrow Drive Westbound. After you pass under the pedestrian walkbridges, change to the left lane and take the exit for 2A North. Turn right and cross the Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue).
From the Massachusetts Turnpike — Exit at "Brighton/Cambridge." Follow signs to Cambridge. The Doubletree Hotel will be on your right. Go straight over the bridge into Cambridge (on River Street) and take your first right onto Memorial Drive. The Charles River will be on your right. Go straight on Memorial Drive, staying to the left and going over the overpass at the Boston University (B.U.) Bridge (past MicroCenter). Staying in the left lane, pass under the next bridge, which is the Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue). The first street after that bridge, to the left, is Ames Street—but it is one way in the wrong direction. You will have to take the second left (sign says Kendall Square) onto Wadsworth Street. Take the first left onto Amherst Street. The Media Lab is at 75 Amherst Street (E14) and 20 Ames Street (E15), at the corner where Amherst Street ends at Ames Street.
From Logan Airport — Leaving the airport, take the Sumner Tunnel to 93 North. Exit right off of 93 at the Cambridge/Storrow Drive exit. When the ramp splits, bear right following signs to Storrow Drive. Exit left at the Kendall Square exit. At the traffic light, go right onto the Longfellow Bridge. Follow Main Street (Main flows into Broadway) and take a left at the second set of lights (Ames Street). The Media Lab will be on your left about a block and a half down Ames Street. Logan International Airport's Web site provides uptotheminute information on weather, construction, and traffic.
To Logan Airport — Drive away from the river on Ames Street, and make the first right onto Main Street. Follow Main Street to the Longfellow Bridge; proceed over the Longfellow Bridge. At the end of the bridge, there will be signage directing you to Route 93 South. Follow Route 93 South to the Airport exit. From Route I93: From I93, take exit 26, and follow the signs to Back Bay along Storrow Drive West, approximately 1.5 miles, to the exit for Route 2A. The exit will be on the left, just before the Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue). The Charles River will be on your right. As you cross the bridge, you will be looking at MIT. At the end of the bridge, turn right on to Memorial Drive. The first street after that bridge, to the left, is Ames Street—but it is one way in the wrong direction. You will have to take the second left (sign says Kendall Square) onto Wadsworth Street. Take the first left onto Amherst Street. The Media Lab is at 75 Amherst Street (E14) and 20 Ames Street (E15), at the corner where Amherst Street ends at Ames Street.
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The Digital Currency Initiative, at the MIT Media Lab, focuses on cryptocurrency and its underlying technologies. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin enable open, trustless digital payments and contracts. In the spirit of the Internet's wide reach, this technology, and the people behind it, have the potential to impact billions of people and become a crucial part of daily life. We seek to push the envelope on the development of this technology with fundamental research, while shedding light on the associated benefits, risks, and ethical quandaries. Beyond research centered at MIT, we also help support open-source cryptocurrency communities and diversity, and hope to foster a broader academic community in this space.
Learn more »
The MIT Media Lab transcends known boundaries and disciplines by actively promoting a unique, antidisciplinary culture that emboldens unconventional mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas. Designers, nanotechnologists, data visualization experts, mechanical engineers, material scientists, industry researchers, and pioneers of computer interfaces work side by side to invent -- and reinvent -- how humans experience, and can be aided by, technology.
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IBM, a founding member of the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger, is building a blockchain for business. IBM has worked with more than 400 clients across financial services, supply chains, IoT, risk management, digital rights management, and healthcare to build and implement blockchain applications. To learn more about how IBM and its clients are re-imagining business networks, visit www.ibm.com/blockchain.
Distributed produces a print magazine, online news portal, international event series, and weekly newsletter covering enterprise-level blockchain technology. Our products provide professionals with the intelligence, support, and expertise they need to navigate the distributed ledger industry. Visit godistributed.com to learn more.
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