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Making Sense of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Industry experts shared insights at Executive Speaker Series panel discussion

Posted in: Career Services, Marketing, Success Stories

Emerging financial products and technology through blockchain and require innovative thinking as the industry evolves, experts say.

Industry experts W. Scott Stornetta, a co-creator of early blockchain technology, Sean Stein Smith, an assistant professor at CUNY-Lehman College and founder of the Institute for Blockchain & Cryptoasset Research, and Rashmi Jain, Department Chair and Professor of Information and Operations Management for Montclair State University, shared insights on how the technologies are creating new challenges and new opportunities in a panel discussion for the Feliciano School of Business Executive Speaker Series on Feb. 15.

The panel, moderated by Accounting and Finance Department Chair Deniz Appelbaum, highlighted how blockchain and cryptocurrency requires careful thinking about how it evolves.

Cryptocurrency – such as Bitcoin – is a decentralized digital currency is exchanged between two parties without involving intermediaries like banks or other financial institutions, or the fees such transactions would otherwise incur. Blockchain is a tamper-resistant, digital ledger that facilitates those transactions.

Stornetta said blockchain technology should be treated like other emerging technologies with underlying value creation and forecast rapid evolution in the years to come. Considered one of the founding fathers of blockchain, Stornetta has spoken widely – including in Congressional hearings – about the need to move away from a regulatory environment focused on protecting-the-status-quo to an approach that reflects the power of the blockchain.

Stein Smith, a certified public accountant, said blockchain technology and cryptocurrency have evolved positively since its inception, raising questions about how to establish public policy around it. Because crypto is an umbrella term known from an international standpoint, panelists suggested agency oversight could offer one approach.

Noting that blockchain is a distributed ledger system, Jain urged caution in any regulation.

“Cryptocurrency is something that is very different and complex; one has to be very careful in understanding the emerging consequences,” she said. “So long as the dollar continues to be strong and used as a reserve worldwide, I think we need to be the leaders in the space of regulating crypto and blockchain.”

Opportunities offered by blockchain reach well outside the business community, Jain said, pointing to potentially life-changing value for students the school’s entrepreneurial and arts programs.

“I would say that we need to tell our students in the performing arts program about the value of NFT and how they can digitize their talent,” she said.

To watch panel discussion video: MBA Executive Speaker Series – Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Panel – YouTube