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Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Public Policy

  • Harvard Club of Boston 374 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA, 02115 United States (map)

The Harvard Kennedy School New England Alumni Association and the Harvard Club of Boston present a special event, “Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Public Policy.” The decentralized digital ledger technology, Blockchain, has opened an incentive structure economy where everyone can participate, fostering democratization of wealth. Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto on Blockchain technology as an act of defiance to the 2008 recession. $11 trillion in credit default swaps will be moving to Blockchain this year. We often hear how Bitcoin price volatility has made a few people rich on paper, but we seldom hear how regulations will come into effect. In this event, we will hear from public policy leaders how they are assessing the regulations to bring in effect the future of decentralized cryptocurrency. We will also hear from the venture capitalists and academics who are investing and researching, respectively, in this immutable technology, therein creating new generations of protocols and infrastructure.

  • Schedule:
    • 6pm Networking

    • 6:30 Panel

    • 7:30 Q&A

    • Q&A will be followed by a book signing by Michael Casey

  • Moderator & Speaker: Michael Casey. Michael Casey is a Senior Advisor for the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT’s Media Lab, where he heads research into blockchain applications that advance financial inclusion and energy efficiency, and a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Formerly a journalist at The Wall Street Journal, Casey is also Chairman of the Advisory Board at CoinDesk, the leading media outlet and events coordinator within the digital currency and blockchain industry. He is the author of five books, including the recently published The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, which he co-wrote with Paul Vigna. 
  • Speakers
    • Keith Ammon, New Hampshire House Representative. New Hampshire House Bill HB436, which exempts persons using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from registering as money transmitters, was signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu in June 2017.With the assistance of one of the bill’s sponsors, NH State Legislator Keith Ammon, the Governor’s office used PoEx’s Proof of Existence service to attest the text of the bill on the Bitcoin blockchain by embedding the cryptographic hash of the PDF in a confirmed transaction. Rep. Ammon, also an avid user who has been buying Bitcoin since the only way to do so was through an Internet Relay Chat (before the launch of any of the early exchanges).
    • Mitchell Weiss. Mitch Weiss is a Professor of Management Practice in the Entrepreneurial Management unit at the Harvard Business School. He created and teaches the school's course on Public Entrepreneurship—on public leaders and private entrepreneurs who invent a difference in the world. He also teaches The Entrepreneurial Manager in the first year of the MBA Program. Prior to joining HBS in 2014, Mitch was Chief of Staff and a partner to Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino. Mitch helped shape New Urban Mechanics, Boston’s municipal innovation strategy, and make it a model for peer-produced government and change. He also championed Boston’s Innovation District as a regional platform for entrepreneurship and growth. He wrote a case on Bitfury and their efforts in partnership with the Republic of Georgia to use the blockchain for securing property rights and their plans to extend these services more broadly to smart purchase and sale contracts and other basic public services.
    • Richard Dulude. As a programmer turned entrepreneur turned VC, Richard spent the earlier part of his career as a developer, brand manager, and ultimately the CTO of a startup before transitioning successfully as an Investment Associate at the Founder Collective before Co-Founding Underscore VC. Richard now runs the Investment Process for Underscore VC and has led some of the firm’s emerging technology seed investments in areas such as Blockchain, AR/VR, and AI/ML. Richard holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and both a Masters in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research & Information Engineering from Cornell University.
    • Nimit Sawhney. Nimit has more than 15 years of experience in mobile software development, information security and embedded systems, including 7 years as the business/technical head of an R&D unit. Nimit holds a Master's degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Business Management from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and is currently the Co-Founder/CEO of Voatz, an early-stage startup based in the Boston area which is piloting a new blockchain based mobile election voting and citizen engagement platform. Nimit is always exploring new ways of using cutting-edge technologies for the greater good and is an enthusiastic participant in several open source civic tech projects. Prior to Voatz, Nimit led the deployment of secure mobile payment/commerce solutions in Eastern Europe, Caribbean and Africa.

Michael Casey's book Truth Machine will be available for purchase throughout the event, and he will sign copies after the Q&A portion of the evening. Tickets $25 online and $30 at the door, and they include heavy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. For more information, contact Theodora Skeadas at