Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains

November 9–10, 2018

(All day)

University of Chicago, Saieh Hall for Economics, Room 021 | 5757 S. University Ave
Co-sponsored by:
Eric Budish, University of Chicago
Zhiguo He, University of Chicago
Jacob Leshno, University of Chicago
Harald Uhlig, University of Chicago


This conference exhibited recent research on cryptocurrencies and blockchains, all the way from the technological challenges and game theoretic aspects to macro-monetary-financial as well as regulatory perspectives.  The conference featured academic researchers from economics and computer science, investigating the role of cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, examining the market structure of decentralized Bitcoin mining, emphasizing the economic limits of the blockchain, and surveying the algorithmic game theory research questions for cryptocurrencies and blockchains.  Finally, the conference engaged investors, academics and practitioners in fireside chats and conversations for a complementary perspective. Specifically, University of Chicago's Lars Peter Hansen conducted a discussion about the challenges of cryptocurrency to become a viable and important means of payment and the potential for blockchain to support socially productive activities. He was joined by the distinguished monetary economist, Neil Wallace, and an experienced designer of new financial markets, Richard Sandor who recently published a book on electronic trading and blockchain. 

Media from the Conference 


Read Professor Lars Peter Hansen's reflection of the conference.

Watch the discussion between Don Wilson, DRW Investments LLC, and Michael Greenstone, University of Chicago.

Watch the discussion with Richard Sandor, American Financial Exchange and University of Chicago Law School, and Neil Wallace, Pennsylvania State University. Moderated by Lars Peter Hansen, University of Chicago 



Friday, November 9

8:30 a.m.                     

Registration and Breakfast


9:00-9:10 a.m.             

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Roy Kapani, Chairman and CEO, KapCo Holdings                       
Lars Peter Hansen, University of Chicago


9:10-10:00 a.m.           

Some Simple Bitcoin Economics
Linda Schilling, École Polytechnique 
Harald Uhlig, University of Chicago


10:00-10:50 a.m.         

Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered
John Griffin, University of Texas - Austin
Amin Shams, University of Texas - Austin 

10:50-11:15 a.m.          BREAK
11:15 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

Can Currency Competition Work?
Jesus Fernandez Villaverde, University of Pennsylvania
Daniel Sanches, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia


12:05-1:30 p.m.           

Lunch Presentation
Hyun Shin, Bank for International Settlements


1:30-2:15 p.m.            

Moderated Discussion with Don Wilson, Founder and CEO, DRW Investments LLC
Moderator: Michael Greenstone, University of Chicago


2:20-3:10 p.m.            

Equilibrium Bitcoin Pricing
Bruno Biais, University of Toulouse 
Christophe Bisiere, Universite of Toulouse 
Matthieu Bouvard, McGill University
Catherine Casamatta, University of Toulouse 
Albert J. Menkveld, VU University Amsterdam

3:10-3:40 p.m.             BREAK
3:40-4:30 p.m.            

Decentralized Mining in Centralized Pools
Lin William Cong, University of Chicago 
Zhiguo He, University of Chicago 
Jiasun Li, George Mason University 

4:30-5:20 p.m.            

Initial Coin Offerings and the Value of Crypto Tokens
Christian Catalini, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; NBER
Joshua S. Gans, University of Toronto; NBER


Saturday, November 10

8:30 a.m.                     

Registration and Breakfast

9:00-9:50 a.m.

Blockchain Economics
Markus Brunnermeier, Princeton University
Joseph Abadi, Princeton University

9:50-10:40 a.m.            

The Economic Limits of Bitcoin and the Blockchain
Eric Budish, University of Chicago

10:40-11:10 a.m.          BREAK
11:10-12:00 p.m. 

An Equilibrium Model of the Market for Bitcoin Mining
Julien Prat, École Polytechnique
Benjamin Walter, University of Paris-Saclay

12:00-12:15 p.m.         BREAK
12:15-1:05 p.m.          

Lunch Discussion with Richard Sandor, American Financial Exchange, University of Chicago Law School and Neil Wallace, Pennsylvania State University
Moderator: Lars Peter Hansen, University of Chicago

1:05-1:30 p.m.             BREAK
1:30-2:20 p.m.
Monopoly Without a Monopolist: An Economic Analysis of the Bitcoin Payment System
Gur Huberman, Columbia Business School 
Jacob Leshno, University of Chicago
Ciamac C. Moallemi, Columbia Business School
2:20-3:10 p.m.
Fruitchains: An Incentive-Compatible Blockchain

Rafael Pass, Cornell University
Elaine Shi, Cornell University

3:10-4:00 p.m.            

Survey of Algorithmic Game Theory Research Questions for Crypto/Blockchain
Arvind Narayanan, Princeton University
Matt Weinberg, Princeton University

4:00-4:15 p.m.             BREAK
4:15-5:30 p.m.            

Brainstorming Session
Saieh Hall, Room 112
Moderator: Eric Budish

5:30 p.m.                    

Conference adjourns


November 9, 2018 (All day) November 10, 2018 (All day)