Business of Blockchain

April 18, 2017
MIT Media Lab
Cambridge, MA

About

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

In the heart of the MIT campus

This event takes place at the MIT Media Lab, in the heart of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here you can't help but feel the excitement and inspiration of being at the top university in the world, surrounded by the top technology minds anywhere.

MIT Media Lab
Building E14
75 Amherst Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
View on a campus map »

Speakers

Meet the pioneers of this emerging technology.

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  • Gurvinder
    Ahluwalia

    CTO, Technical Solutioning, IBM

    Industry Impact: Trust and Transparency in Global Trade

    Gurvinder 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.
  • Brian
    Behlendorf

    Executive Director, Hyperledger Project

    Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential

    Brian 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.
  • Ashish
    Gadnis

    Cofounder & CEO, BanQu

    Blockchain for Good

    Ashish is cofounder and CEO of the award-winning blockchain-based economic identity platform BanQu. He is also a senior strategic advisor to multiple global corporations and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals initiative.

    He has built and sold several technology startups, the last one of which was acquired by a $1.5 billion global consulting firm in 2012.

    He has an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and studied global leadership and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
  • Emin
    Gün Sirer

    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.
  • Joi
    Ito

    Director, MIT Media Lab

    Blockchain: State of the State

    Joichi “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).
  • Jalak
    Jobanputra

    Founder/Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures

    Industry Impact

    Jalak 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.
  • Simon
    Johnson

    Professor of Global Economics and Management, MIT

    Distributed Ledgers: A Tale of Two Wall Streets

    Simon 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.
  • Lawrence
    Orsini

    Principal and Founder, LO3 Energy

    Industry Impact: Peer-to-Peer Energy Transactions

    Lawrence 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.
  • Kosta
    Peric

    Deputy Director, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Fighting Poverty with Digital Payments

    Kosta 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.
  • Jason
    Pontin

    Editor in Chief and Publisher, MIT Technology Review

    As 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.
  • James Allen
    Regenor

    Business Unit Director, Additive Manufacturing & Innovation, Moog Aircraft Group

    Industry Impact: Aerospace Supply Chain

    At 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.
  • Sandra
    Ro

    Head of Digitization, CME Group

    Distributed Ledgers: A Tale of Two Wall Streets

    Sandra Ro is head of digitization at CME Group. She joined CME in 2011 after several years in the banking sector, where she specialized in foreign exchange derivative structuring. She previously spent four years in the global capital markets division of Morgan Stanley and three years as an associate at Deutsche Bank as an FX structurer on the London trading floor.

    In 1996, Ro earned a double BA in history and Studies in the Environment from Yale University, with a concentration in the proliferation of chemical and biological weaponry in the 20th century. She also earned an MBA in finance from the London Business School in 2004. She serves on the board of directors of the Yale University Alumni Fund.

Book your stay

This event falls just one day after the Boston Marathon. Hotels in the local area are in high demand. Don't miss out on special pricing at the Hyatt Regencey Cambridge for conference attendees. 

Blockchain 2017 Schedule

Join the conversation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

  • 8:00
    Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00
    Opening Remarks

    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
  • 9:05
    Blockchain: 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
  • 9:30
    Distributed 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
    Distributed Ledgers: A Tale of Two Wall Streets
    Sandra Ro Head of Digitization, CME Group
    Distributed Ledgers: A Tale of Two Wall Streets
  • 10:30
    Break & Networking
  • 11:00
    When 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.
  • 11:30
    TBA
  • 12:30
    Lunch & Networking
  • 2:00
    Industry Impact

    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 Trade
    Jalak Jobanputra Founder/Managing Partner, FuturePerfect Ventures
    Industry Impact
    Lawrence Orsini Principal and Founder, LO3 Energy
    Industry Impact: Peer-to-Peer Energy Transactions
    James Allen Regenor Business Unit Director, Additive Manufacturing & Innovation, Moog Aircraft Group
    Industry Impact: Aerospace Supply Chain
  • 3:30
    Break & Networking
  • 4:00
    Social Impact

    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
    Ashish Gadnis Cofounder & CEO, BanQu
    Blockchain for Good
  • 4:45
    The View Ahead

    Our closing plenary session examines the potential implications for every business to consider in the decade ahead.

    Joi Ito Director, MIT Media Lab
    Blockchain: State of the State
  • 5:30
    Reception

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

Mobile

Congress Takes Blockchain 101

The heads of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus want their colleagues to know the technology has many uses besides currency.

Mobile

DeepMind’s New Blockchain-Style System Will Track Health-Care Records

By logging how every piece of patient data is used, the company hopes to leave behind an indelible audit trail.

Business

The World’s Largest Shipping Company Trials Blockchain to Track Cargo

What links flowers, mandarin oranges, and pineapples? They’re all neatly recorded on Maersk’s new digital shipping ledger.

Business

The Business of Blockchain: A New MIT Technology Review Conference

Our one-day conference will explore the opportunities and challenges associated with blockchains.

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
Cambridge, MA

MIT Media Lab

Building E14
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

Hotel information

Hyatt Regency Cambridge

Discounted Conference Rate:
expires March 31
See more details

Hyatt Regency Cambridge is located along the scenic Charles River overlooking the Boston skyline and is in the midst of two uncommonly exciting cities, Boston and Cambridge. Discover Boston and Cambridge at a hotel just minutes from Boston, adjacent to MIT, Harvard and Boston Universities. The Hyatt's guests are greeted with a dynamic 16-story atrium lobby featuring 470 newly renovated guestrooms. Zephyr on the Charles is the hotel's full service restaurant featuring eclectic dining, extraordinary views and authentic service. The state-of-the art Hyatt Stay Fit Health Club features a 75 ft heated indoor pool, eucalyptus sauna and steam room.

Rate: $289/night plus tax for single or double occupancy

Book online at the discounted rate »

You may also reserve your stay by phone at: 617-492-1234. Be sure to mention the MIT Technology Review room block.

The group rate expires on March 31, 2017.

Directions

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).

Driving

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.

Cab Companies

Ambassador Brattle: 617.492.1100

Checker Cab Co.: 617.497.9000

Yellow Cab: 617.547.3000

Car Services

Boston Coach: 800.672.7676 (reservation line)

Commonwealth Limo: 617.787.5575

PlanetTran

Uber

Featured Speaker: Brian Behlendorf

Executive Director, Hyperledger
Blockchain: Unlocking the Power and Potential

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  • Read more

    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 »

  • Read 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.

    Learn more »

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