Duke to Host First-of-its-Kind Digital Assets Conference, Jan. 20-21

1/17 Pratt School of Engineering

Avoiding the sales pitches and bluster of other conferences in the field, Digital Assets at Duke brings together key stakeholders for serious discussion

Dusk on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC USA
Duke to Host First-of-its-Kind Digital Assets Conference, Jan. 20-21

On January 20 and 21, 2023, a host of industry players, experts, policymakers and researchers will gather at Duke University for a first-of-its-kind conference focused on digital assets.

Jimmie LenzFor two days, attendees will engage in rigorous debate, discussion and education, facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration in an academic setting.

Dubbed “Digital Assets at Duke,” or DA@D for short, the event seeks to look past the hype cycle and price fixation that accompanies many digital asset events and instead focus on the development, delivery and regulation of the next-generation digital asset environment.

The DA@D conference, hosted by Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering and its Financial Economics Center, features speakers and panels, as well as highlighted academic papers, in the field of digital assets. Speakers include:

  • U.S. Securities & Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce
  • U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Kristin Johnson
  • John Rolle, chairman of the Central Bank of the Bahamas

Speakers and participants will explore new frontiers of digital asset development, investment and regulation. Topics covered will include: NFTs, cryptocurrency, DeFi, stablecoins, central bank digital currency and more. The conference will provide ample opportunities to converse, network and exchange ideas with peers, colleagues, experts and leaders in the digital assets ecosystem.

Q&A with Duke FinTech’s Jimmie Lenz

We sat down with Jimmie Lenz, director of Duke’s Master of Engineering in FinTech program and organizer of the conference, for a Q&A about what to expect.

What was your inspiration for this conference?

Very few issues are as top of mind with regulators, industry participants and politicians as digital assets. The number of questions about these assets and the lack of understanding is what drove us as an academic institution to address this issue by bringing together the various constituents, along with academics working in this area, to provide an objective venue to host the right discussions.

As scholars and practitioners in this field, we know there is a lot happening behind the scenes in terms of digital asset adoption that is not generating headlines. Our goal for DA@D is to bring together the people and the companies that are building for the long term and look past current news headlines to try and understand where the industry will be in five or 10 years down the road.

What makes this conference different?

Most conferences in the digital asset space are oriented toward sales or support of certain assets. We are seeking to create an environment that can host discussions without the influence of sales pressures. In other words, more of a Bretton Woods than a Bitcoin Miami environment.

As an academic institution, we can provide a neutral forum for serious and rigorous conversation around digital assets. We are avoiding the hype and hoopla that accompanies other conferences on crypto and digital assets.

Who are some of the biggest speakers, and why are their views and opinions so important?

We have a phenomenal group of speakers who are all at the forefront of the digital asset industry or its regulation. Regulation is critical to the future of the digital asset industry, and we are fortunate to have speakers from the two federal regulatory agencies that are spearheading these efforts. SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has been a vocal critic of the SEC’s approach to cryptocurrencies, and she will be delivering the Friday evening keynote address. We will also have CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson address the challenges in regulating digital assets. We’re also excited to hear from John Rolle, the chairman of the Central Bank of the Bahamas, on his country’s rollout of a central bank digital currency. And we have a number of speakers from the digital asset industry, venture capital firms investing in the space and developers of digital asset products, including several Duke graduates!

What do you think attendees will take away from this conference?

First and foremost, attendees will come away with additional understanding and new considerations.  Specifically, we expect participants to gain a better understanding of the digital asset use cases and business models that are likely to generate long-term value. We also anticipate attendees will develop important relationships with those that may be “across the table” in business and regulatory discussions. And maybe, just maybe, attendees will come away with some concrete actions.

What do you hope this conference will become in the future?

I hope that this year’s attendees, and future participants, will see this as an event at which all sides can be heard in the discussions of digital assets. There is no doubt that this asset class will change and mature. This will be a venue where these changes can be discussed, and that will provide academic researchers interested in the field an opportunity to meet with the participants—something that rarely occurs.

Register to Attend