Business of Blockchain 2017

Cambridge MA

Apr 18, 2017

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

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Amber Baldet

Executive Director, Blockchain Program Lead, J.P. Morgan

Bio: Amber 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.

Ashish Gadnis

Cofounder & CEO, BanQu

Bio: 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.

Brian Behlendorf

Executive Director, Hyperledger Project

Bio: 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.

Emin Gün Sirer

Associate Professor, Cornell University

Bio: 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.

Gurvinder Ahluwalia

"Field" CTO Technical Solutioning (Cloud|Blockchain|IoT|Cognitive), Member IBM Academy of Technology, IBM

Bio: Gurvinder Ahluwalia is the “Field” CTO for the Technical Solutioning unit in Cloud, Blockchain, and IoT for IBM's North America market. His duties are customer-facing to business and technology executives. Guri provides strategic and technical architecture leadership to create, migrate, and integrate solutions at the join of growth technology areas for customers across sectors. Based in Dallas, Guri is engaged in standards-related and open-source movements including Hyperledger, OpenStack, CloudFoundry, NIST, and the Open Group. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and venue including Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, Interop, Samsung Developer, CIO Summit, ARM Techcon. Gurvinder is a Member of IBM Academy of Technology.

Jalak Jobanputra

Founder/Managing Partner, Future\Perfect Ventures

Bio: 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.

James Regenor

Business Unit Director, Additive Manufacturing & Innovation, Moog Inc.

Bio: 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.

Jason Pontin

CEO, Editor in Chief, and Publisher, MIT Technology Review

Bio: 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.

Jim Cunha

Senior Vice President, Treasury & Financial Services, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Bio: As 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.

Joi Ito

Professor of the Practice of Media Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Bio: 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,, 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).

Kosta Peric

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

Bio: 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.

Lawrence Orsini

Founder, LO3 Energy

Bio: 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.

Neha Narula

Director of Research, MIT Media Lab

Bio: Neha 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.

Panos Panay

Founding Managing Director, Berklee ICE: Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship

Bio: Panos 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.

Robleh Ali

Research Scientist, DCI, MIT Media Lab

Bio: Robleh 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.

Sandra Ro

Member Board of Directors, Yale University Alumni Fund

Bio: 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.

Simon Johnson

Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Bio: 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.

Lamar WIlson

CETO, Co-founder, Love Will Inc, Creators of Hijro (formerly known as Fluent)

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