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Cryptocurrencies: The New Coin of the Realm?

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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. And yet, 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 Twitter? Follow @FutureTenseNow and use #CryptoCurrency.


12:15 PM      Reception

12:30 PM      Cryptocurrencies: Explain It Like I’m Five.
Simon Johnson
Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management
12:45 PM       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
Matt Yglesias
Business and Economics Correspondent, Slate

1:15 PM        Can Cryptocurrencies be Controlled?
Carol R. Van Cleef
Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
John Collins
Professional Staff Member, U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee
Simon Johnson 
Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management
John Villasenor
Senior Fellow, Governance Studies and the Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings

2:00 PM           The State of Play

Benjamin M. Lawsky
Superintendent of Financial Services, New York State Department of Financial Services
2:30 PM           Coffee Break
2:40 PM           I Lived on Bitcoin for a Week
Kashmir Hill
Senior Online Editor, Forbes

2:55 PM           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 Inc. (Kraken Exchange)
Secretariat, DATA (Digital Asset Transfer Authority)

Jerry Brito
Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
Barry Silbert
Founder, Bitcoin Investment Trust 
Founder & CEO, SecondMarket, Inc.
Katherine Mangu-Ward
Managing Editor, Reason
Future Tense fellow, New America Foundation
3:40 PM            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, 
United States 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 PM              View From the Treasury   
Jennifer Shasky Calvery
Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, United States Department of the Treasury

Event Time and Location

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - 12:15pm - 5:00pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

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