March 19, 2018, by Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni, Founder of the Title Connection
The Futures Industry Association (FIA) held their 43rd Annual Boca conference last week in Boca Raton, Florida. One of the main themes at the conference was blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). In a fireside chat, InterContinental Exchange’s Jeff Sprecher spoke with Michael Casey about the human element of this emerging technology.
Casey, a Wall Street Journal columnist and author of “The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything,” is a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Senior Advisor for the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT’s Media Lab.
He calls blockchain “truth machines” and a means of discovering the consensus’ idea of truth.
“It provides traceability and immutability,” said Casey. “At MIT we are working on one of the challenges which is how to scale this technology for the mainstream.”
Casey compared blockchain to the dot.com bubble and how we could see a similar impact on society.
“There was a lot of speculation during that time and money lost in the dot.com bubble but it also laid the foundation for the 2.0 era,” he said. “It brought cheap capital, developed data centers and built a social infrastructure that led to smartphones, microfibers, and open source technologies.”
Sprecher remarked on the importance of social conversations and how the decentralized nature of blockchain can make anyone a leader in this space.
Sprecher referred to “forks” in cryptocurrencies, such as when Bitcoin split off to create Bitcoin Gold and Bitcoin Cash or when Ethereum forked as a consequence to a recent heist of coins stolen.
“These were all social conversations,” he said. “Leaders using brute force to make these decisions.”
The discussion also touched upon Satoshi Nakamoto, the supposed creator of bitcoin.
“The fact that people want to know who Satoshi is means humans have an innate need to point to a human leader,” Casey said.
Casey added that decentralized technology is not a bad thing and that we even have some of this technology in our everyday lives.
“Bitcoin has a stigma of trustlessness but we need some decentralized technology. MIT is working on how to governance this and determine the right level of decentralization,” he said. “It’s all a spectrum to me. We have existing technology that are at some level decentralized already, for example, peer to peer payments.”
He kept going back to the human element of blockchain and how it is a humanizing technology.
“It allows us to prove who we are, what we’ve done and what we own,” said Casey.
He also believes everyone should get involved with DLT.
“We can’t have one group of people designing the system, otherwise we won’t be protecting everyone’s interests,” he said. “We need women and more diversity in Blockchain so all groups are represented.”
Casey said that the planet needs this technology.
“How do we reinvent humans and institutions to exist in a distributed ledger technology environment?” he asked. “It’s an empowering technology and if we can construct a system of trust without knowing each other and take the friction out of back office processes, we will have financial inclusion.”
Casey’s conversation with Sprecher was important in that it reminded attendees that technology exists to meet the needs of humans. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology have some lofty goals and as Casey mentioned, we need to take a step back and evaluate our role in this new environment.
Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni
Founder of The Title Connection
Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni has over 15 years of experience building relationships, networking and connecting the dots. Jessica was able to build an extensive network as co-Founder and President of Women in Listed Derivatives (WILD). As WILD’s President, Jessica led WILD’s parent Board in Chicago from 2009-2014 and established branches in London, Frankfurt, Toronto, Mexico City and New York.
Jessica also spent time as the Marketing Director for the Americas at Itiviti, previously known as Orc Group, as well as a Communications Specialist at the National Futures Association and the Senior Vice President of Sales/Editor at Large at John J. Lothian & Company.
Currently, besides managing The Title Connection, Jessica is also the Head of Business Development for DyMynd, a financial empowerment firm that provides educational resources to help women feel confident about their investments and build healthy relationships with money. She is a frequent contributor to The Glass Hammer and her content has also appeared in Automated Trader and Markets Media. She is a re-occurring presenter at the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Options Institute, a member of the Futures Industry Association’s Operations Americas’ Board and co-chairs the Board’s FCM Committee.
Jessica has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the University of Maryland in College Park and a Master’s of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University.