University of Texas at Austin
Visual example of blockchain technology connecting the world.

Blockchain Initiative

McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

The Business of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

The Business of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Distributed ledgers (i.e. blockchain technology) can be described as a new method of recording and storing information. A ledger is a place where events such as payments, land sale deeds, marriages and births, or any other transactions are recorded. Usually, a single central authority like a government or bank decides what goes on the ledger. Distributed ledgers rely on a network of nodes to come to a consensus on whether events can be added to the ledger. This is a disruptive concept, because it allows parties who don't trust each other to transact and collaborate, creating a trust-less system of data and value transfer between users without the need of a central authority. Blockchain technology is used in many applications today, from digital currencies, smart contract platforms, or data storage, supply chain, healthcare, digital identity, and many other applications.

The Blockchain Initiative at Texas McCombs has three main goals: (i) to support faculty and graduate students research on blockchain across colleges at the University of Texas at Austin; (ii) to teach students the main concepts related to blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital payments; (iii) to be the hub of knowledge for external relations with industry practitioners, policymakers, and media.

2018 McCombs Blockchain Conference

2018 McCombs Blockchain Conference

This spring, experts from across the nation gathered at UT's newest facility, Rowling Hall, to discuss the past, present, and future of blockchain. Jim Schneider (senior FinTech equity researcher for Goldman Sachs) and Frank Yiannas (vice president of food safety for Wal-Mart) presented the two keynotes.

View the 2018 Conference Site

Conference Videos

Introduction

Photo of conference attendees.Introduction

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Opening Keynote Address

Photo of speaker at Keynote Address.Keynote Address

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Supply Chain Implications & Smart Contracts

Photo of speakers at Supply Chain panel. Supply Chain Implications & Smart Contracts

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Blockchain and Financial Services

Photo of participants at Blockchain and Financial Services panel.Blockchain and Financial Services

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The Future of Blockchain

Photo of speakers at Future of Blockchain panel.The Future of Blockchain

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Technology Framework

Photo of speakers at Technology Framework panel.Technology Framework

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Financing Blockchain Ventures

Financing Blockchain FuturesFinancing Blockchain Ventures

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Regulations and Policy

Photo of speakers at Regulation and Policy panel.Regulations and Policy

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Research and the Road Ahead

Research and the Road Ahead

The McCombs School of Business is committed to cutting-edge research and innovation. The Blockchain Initative at Texas McCombs is supporting blockchain research activities across the 40-acres campus. 

John Griffin, Professor of finance and member of the faculty advisory board of the Blockchain Initiative at Texas McCombs, and Amin Shams, phd student in finance and cryptocurrency expert, just released the paper "Is Bitcoin really Un-Tethered?" that received national and international media attention.  Amin Shams explains the findings of the paper in the video below. 

 

Photo of conference attendees.Interview with Amin Shams

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Teaching and Student Organizations

Teaching and Student Organizations

Blockchain technology is taught in several classes at the McCombs School of Business. Students learn about the technological, legal, and business opportunities and challenges faced when deploying blokchain-based solutions. 

  • Prof. Cesare Fracassi teaches about blockchain in Financial Technology courses for McCombs students enrolled in undergraduate, master's in finance, master's in business analytics, and master's in business administration programs. He covers topics on cryptography, blockchain mechanics, financial applications of blockchain (cryptocurrencies, market clearing), blockchain ventures financing, and blockchain regulatory environment.
  • Prof. Prabhudev Konana teaches blockchain concepts in Strategies for Networked Economy to MBA students and in Introduction to Information Technology Management to undergraduate honors students.
  • Prof. Ashish Agarwal teaches blockchain concepts in Introduction to Information Technology Management to undergraduate honors students.
  • Prof. Abhay Samant teaches about the technological needs for blockchain infrastructure in the Intro to Data Management course for Master of Science in Business Analytics students.

The McCombs Graduate Blockchain Society at the University of Texas at Austin is an organization of McCombs MBA students interested in blockchain technology.

Faculty Advisory Board

Faculty Advisory Board

Meet the faculty on the board of the Blockchain Initiative at Texas McCombs. 

Cesare Fracassi

Cesare Fracassi

Director of the Blockchain Initiative

Associate Professor of Finance

cesare.fracassi@mccombs.utexas.edu

John Griffin

John Griffin

James A. Elkins Centennial Chair Professor of Finance

john.griffin@mccombs.utexas.edu

Image of Laura Starks

Laura Starks

Charles E. & Sarah M. Seay Regents’ Chair in Finance

laura.starks@mccombs.utexas.edu

Prabhudev Konana headshot

Prabhudev Konana

Thomas O. Hicks Chair Professor in Business

prabhudev.konana@mccombs.utexas.edu

Doug Morrice

Doug Morrice

Bobbie and Coulter R. Sublett Centennial Professor in Business

douglas.morrice@mccombs.utexas.edu

Contact

The Blockchain Initative at Texas McCombs

McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin

2110 Speedway, Stop B6000
Austin, Texas 78712
Phone: (512) 232-6843 
email: blockchain@mccombs.utexas.edu

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