Cryptocurrencies: The New Coin of the Realm? A Future Tense Event in Washington, D.C.

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Jan. 28 2014 12:40 PM

Cryptocurrencies: The New Coin of the Realm? A Future Tense Event in Washington, D.C.

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Are cryptocurrencies the future?

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

In 2009, the mysterious and pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin, the world’s first online cryptocurrency. Backed by no government or hard assets, the currency’s value has skyrocketed and plunged repeatedly. A diverse group of entrepreneurs, businesses, and would-be money launders has followed Bitcoin’s trajectory avidly.  The receptivity indicates a real demand for an Internet-centric medium of exchange, without banks and without fees. Yet the rise of “criminal eBays” like the Silk Road, which allow for the anonymous purchase of illegal items with the cryptocurrency, have also brought the digital cash to the attention of government authorities. Beyond monitoring illicit activity, should regulators have a role in this new financial system? Could Bitcoin—or another cryptocurrency—become a universal alternative currency? Will we ever be able to use a cryptocurrency at our local bodega?

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Future Tense—a partnership of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University—will host an event in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of cryptocurrencies.

Update, Jan. 31, 2014: This event is full and no longer accepting RSVPs. However, you can watch a webcast on the New America website.

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On Twitter? Follow @FutureTenseNow and use #CryptoCurrency.

Agenda

12:15 p.m.: Reception

12:30 p.m.: Cryptocurrencies: Explain It Like I’m 5.

Simon Johnson
Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

12:45 p.m.: Is the Dollar Doomed?
Miles Kimball
Professor of economics, University of Michigan

Justin Wolfers 
Senior fellow, Brookings 
Professor of economics and public policy, University of Michigan

Moderator: 
Matt Yglesias
Business and economics correspondent, Slate

1:15 p.m.: Can Cryptocurrencies Be Controlled?

Carol R. Van Cleef
Partner, Patton Boggs LLP

John Collins
Professional staff member, U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee

Simon Johnson 
Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

Moderator: 
John Villasenor
Senior fellow, Governance Studies and the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings

2:00 p.m.: The State of Play

Benjamin M. Lawsky
Superintendent of financial services, New York State Department of Financial Services

2:30 p.m.: Coffee break

2:40 p.m.: I Lived on Bitcoin for a Week

Kashmir Hill
Senior online editor, Forbes

2:55 p.m.: Let’s Get Real: Will You Ever Use Bitcoin at Walmart?

Jim Harper
Director of information policy studies, Cato Institute
Member of the Bitcoin Foundation

Constance Choi
General counsel, Payward

Jerry Brito
Senior research fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University

Barry Silbert
Founder, Bitcoin Investment Trust 
Founder & CEO, SecondMarket Inc.

Moderator:
Katherine Mangu-Ward
Managing editor, Reason
Future Tense fellow, New America Foundation

3:40 p.m.: On the Silk Road: The Dark Side of Cryptocurrencies

James H. Freis Jr.
Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Chip Poncy
Co-founder, Financial Integrity Network
Former director, Office of Strategic Policy for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Jason Thomas
Chief, innovation at Thomson Reuters Special Services

Matthew D. Green
Professor of computer science, Johns Hopkins University

Moderator: Kashmir Hill
Senior online editor, Forbes

4:30 p.m.: View From the Treasury  

Jennifer Shasky Calvery
Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

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