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Understanding the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Market

April 13, 2018


Blockchain has taken center stage lately, with news about hacks and financial markets diminishing its value as a cryptocurrency while others tout it as a broader platform for Internet exchange and verification.

There’s a huge need for academic discussions, experimentation, and research papers to shed new light on this fast-changing technology innovation.

In a recent blog, Cathy Barrera, Co-Founder and Chief Economist at Prysm Group, a blockchain economics and governance advisory services, wrote that the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab is “the first academic research initiative in the blockchain and crypto space bridging the fields of economics, computer science, and business. Academic economists are starting to take notice of the industry and beginning to study it using their own analytical tools.”

As a starting point, she recommends a working paper called “Some Simple Economics of the Blockchain,” by Christian Catalini of MIT Sloan (pictured above), and Joshua Gans of University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. It is, she says, “among the first papers to help economists understand blockchain technology in their own language. The paper contains a number of insights that are just as useful to entrepreneurs and startups in the industry as they are to economists.”

For entrepreneurs and policymakers interested in understanding the recent rise in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and how this new crowdfunding method may expand access to capital to startups across the globe, a different paper by Catalini and Gans discusses the main trade-offs (summarized in an MIT Sloan article,  here).

LabCFTC will also be hosting office hours at MIT Sloan on April 24 for entrepreneurs with questions about regulation in this area. 

Read the blog about the new research lab here, and follow Catalini and the latest developments on Twitter @ccatalini and @MIT Cryptoecon. More background can be found in this research brief.