Spring Recap from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative

Rhys Lindmark
MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative
5 min readJul 30, 2019


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It has been a crazy few months for cryptocurrency — 60 Minutes did a segment on Bitcoin, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and President all commented on cryptocurrency in a week, and Facebook is adopting the language of decentralized cryptocurrencies to launch a mobile payments system. Some of our government officials have done an admirable job getting educated on these topics and asking probing questions of experts, including DCI advisor Gary Gensler at the House Financial Services Committee.

We at the DCI are honored to continue to be asked for our neutral analysis and explanations in these venues. Part of our work is making cryptocurrency more legible to multiple disciplines — join us October 5–6 in Cambridge, MA for a kickoff event on our new conference and journal to steward the field of #CryptoResearch.

We are continuing to address the fundamental challenges to keep cryptocurrency tech from being ready for billions — check out Tadge’s work on making it easier to run a validating node, Madars’s work on a new zero-knowledge proof primitive, and more below.


Projects and Research

We’ve officially announced our Cryptoeconomic Systems Summit, Oct 5–6 at MIT. We’re building a new academic field by gathering 400 top researchers in academia and industry across computer science, economics, and law. Apply to attend/speak here.

We submitted 2 research papers this last quarter:

Other updates:


Neha, Rhys, and Joi Ito are co-teaching a Crypto Ethics class in fall 2019. If you’re interested in following along, check out this reading list or join our mailing list here.

In the spring semester, our students (in-person and online) consumed a total of 15,000 hours of learning (14,895 to be exact).

Events and Presentations

Gary Gensler was one of 5 experts called to testify on Libra for the US House Committee on Financial Services. Check out the video here and his written statement here.

A quick smattering of events that we attended, spoke, or co-organized:

Catch us at these events in summer/fall 2019:

Last but certainly not least, Neha was interviewed by Anderson Cooper for a recent cryptocurrency episode of 60 Minutes. Check out the videos here.

Finally, we’d like to say goodbye to Alin Dragos, our previous Head of Strategic Partnerships. Alin is moving with his family to Seattle. Thanks for helping DCI over the past two years Alin! This recent interview with Alin gives a good overview on why Alin was a great fit for the DCI. If you’d like to contact Alin, please reach out at alin.dragos@gmail.com.

Also, we’d like to welcome Wassim Alsindi the Managing Editor for the Cryptoeconomic Systems journal. Welcome Wassim!

Thanks as always for your curiosity and a special thank you to our member companies for their support. Please let us know if you have any feedback, questions, or if we can help you in any way. We’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like to receive this update over email once a quarter, subscribe here.



Rhys Lindmark
MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative

Founder of Roote, an online community of world-class systems thinkers. Apply at roote.co. Writing a book, What Information Wants. Podcasting at The Rhys Show.