Future of Digital Currency

The digitization of currency, the foundation of economic life, will have a profound impact on the future of society. The FUTURE OF DIGITAL CURRENCY INITIATIVE will explore the emerging role of Central Bank Digital Currencies and other digital currencies in advancing global financial inclusion.

Our Vision

Engagement, Standardization, Innovation

The Initiative will focus on Digital Currencies of all forms across the entire ecosystem spectrum, from centralized to decentralized to hybrids including Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and stablecoins amongst many others. Currently, more than 40 central banks are exploring some form of digital currency initiative. The Initiative will undertake research and evaluation of technical standards for interoperability in collaboration with key government, NGO and private industry stakeholders. The Initiative will also study and implement emerging cross-border business use cases related to supply chain, financial markets, charitable giving and macroeconomic impact of these instruments on promoting financial inclusion.

Initiative Pillars

Standardization

Standardization focuses on the development of policy objectives, regulatory requirements and governance norms to advance a standardization roadmap in coordination with standards setting entities, through a consensus driven process.

Engagement

Engagement focuses on engaging a diverse set of stakeholders in the work of the Initiative, sharing lessons learned in the implementations of Central Bank Digital Currencies as well as facilitating dialogue between thought-leaders.

Innovation

Innovation focuses on driving industry adoption through developing methods and metrics to evaluate the performance, security and resilience of existing and future implementations of all digital currencies against a set of common requirements accepted by ecosystem stakeholders.

Our Team

David Mazières

Faculty Director

David Mazières is a professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he leads the Secure Computer Systems research group and co-directs the Center for Blockchain Research. His research interests include Operating Systems and Distributed Systems, with a particular focus on security. Prof. Mazières received a BS in Computer Science from Harvard in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2000. He is also a co-founder of Intrinsic, Inc and Stellar Development Foundation.

Dan Boneh

Faculty Director

Dan Boneh heads the applied cryptography group at the Computer Science department at Stanford University. Professor Boneh's research focuses on applications of cryptography to computer security. His work includes cryptosystems with novel properties, web security, security for mobile devices, digital copyright protection, and cryptanalysis. He is the author of over a hundred publications in the field and a recipient of the Packard Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Award, and the RSA award in mathematics. Last year Dr. Boneh received the Ishii award for industry education innovation. Professor Boneh received his Ph.D from Princeton University and joined Stanford in 1997.

John Morris

Executive Director

John Morris brings 25 years of experience in the financial markets to the FDCI and has been an innovator throughout his career. He’s made two successful exits for companies he founded in the clean energy finance sector. In the last 5 years his vision has helped him lead strategy for multiple VC, cryptocurrency, and blockchain companies, including Token Capital Management, Bosonic, Fantom Foundation, and Collateral Velocity. His interest lies in the intersection of blockchain and finance. John received his Bachelor’s in International Relations from Colgate University.

Jonathan Padilla

Co-Founder and Deputy Director

Jonathan Padilla is a founding member of the Stanford Future of Digital Currency Initiative and currently serves as Deputy Director. Over the past four years he has dedicated his energy to the revolution occurring in fintech and blockchain. His work on digital asset regulation has been used by the Financial Stability Board and earned him a spot on the 2018 List of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Law and Policy. Outside of his role at the Initiative, he leads blockchain strategy at PayPal where he heads up that firm’s Blockchain Research Group. In the past he has advised major tech firms on the regulatory landscape and macro level trends impacting blockchain. He has also consulted for Fortune 100 firms on integration of blockchain technology to their operations on both supply chain logistics and finance. Jonathan graduated from Harvard College with a degree in government and from Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government with a Masters of Public Policy as a Startup Nation Scholar with a full scholarship. He was a 2018 Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University where he earned a Masters in Economics and Management. There he wrote his thesis on blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation.

Jonathan Rufrano

Program Manager

Jonathan has over six years of experience in public policy, research, and advisory services at the intersection of emerging technology, human rights, and environmental protection. His passion is stewarding the development and implementation of emerging technologies responsibly and for the benefit of humankind, and is keenly interested in democratizing access to new technologies so that all may realize their benefits. Whether drafting legislation to ensure financial inclusion in emerging digital currency systems or conducting research on how to leverage AI in agriculture to decrease chemical runoff and increase yield, his expertise is invaluable to policymakers, corporate executives, and other global leaders as the world moves further into the 21st century. He graduated from UT Austin with a BA (honors) in International Relations and holds professional certificates from Harvard, MIT, Duke Law, the Wharton and Darden Schools, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Having worked in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Texas Legislature, Jonathan knows how important sound legislation is to creating a thriving business ecosystem, and is excited to see the lab’s policy efforts grow in parallel to the cutting-edge technical research being done by our academic team.

Ashish Goel

Faculty Advisor

Ashish Goel is a Professor of Management Science and Engineering and (by courtesy) Computer Science at Stanford University, and a member of Stanford's Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. He received his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford in 1999, and was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California from 1999 to 2002. His research interests lie in the design, analysis, and applications of algorithms; current application areas of interest include social networks, participatory democracy, Internet commerce, and large scale data processing. Professor Goel is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan faculty fellowship (2004-06), a Terman faculty fellowship from Stanford, an NSF Career Award (2002-07), and a Rajeev Motwani mentorship award (2010). He was a co-author on the paper that won the best paper award at WWW 2009, an Edelman Laureate in 2014, and a co-winner of the SigEcom Test of Time Award in 2018. Professor Goel was a research fellow and technical advisor at Twitter, Inc. from July 2009 to Aug 2014.

Darrell Duffie

Faculty Advisor

Darrell Duffie is the Adams Distinguished Professor of Management and Professor of Finance at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Professor (by courtesy) in the Department of Economics, Stanford University. Duffie is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the American Finance Association, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was the 2009 president of the American Finance Association. Duffie is an independent director on the board of U.S. Dimensional Funds. Duffie chaired the Financial Stability Board’s Market Participants Group on Reference Rate Reform. He is a Project Advisor of The G30 Working Group on Digital Currencies, and a member of the Systemic Risk Council. Duffie’s research focus is the design and regulation of financial markets. His most recent books include How Big Banks Fail (Princeton University Press, 2010), Measuring Corporate Default Risk (Oxford University Press, 2011), Dark Markets (Princeton University Press, 2012), and Fragmenting Markets: Post-Crisis Bank Regulations and Financial Market Liquidity (forthcoming, 2020, DeGruyter).

Alex McComb

Co-Founder and Fellow

Alex is a co-founder of the Future of Digital Currency Initiative. He has spent the last three years in fintech, blockchain, entrepreneurship, and minerals. He is a UN-recognized blockchain expert in the minerals sector and has consulted on DLT technology and development strategy for governments, startups, and Fortune 500s. Alex is a Schwarzman Scholar and earned his Master’s in Policy and Management from Tsinghua University. He earned his BA from Virginia Wesleyan University.

Atticus Francken

Co-Founder and Fellow

Atticus Francken is a native of Illinois and a serial entrepreneur with multiple successful ventures spanning energy, education, and fintech. He co-founded his first venture in college, which still operates today. This includes a depth of work in renewable energy finance and development. In addition, Atticus has deep experience in public policy, serving in roles at the White House and Federal Reserve Board of Governors. He has also served in institutional investment roles, including Ullico and as Vice President at CleanCapital. As a founding member of the lab, he will be working on commercialization of new technologies, partnerships, public policy, and interfacing with central banks and multilateral institutions. Atticus graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, DC with a degree in Economics and Mathematics and is an incoming Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University.

Dylan Olivia Hunzeker

Fellow

Dylan is an investment analyst at Iconic Holding GmbH, an asset management firm specializing in cryptocurrencies and digital asset strategies based in Frankfurt, Germany. At the firm she specializes in searching for and due diligencing cryptocurrency hedge funds as well as potential venture capital investments. Previously she worked at Eigen Capital, a Beijing-based hedge fund for digital assets where she helped build out the OTC and market making desks by developing a new technology for atomic swaps (among other workstreams). Prior to Eigen she worked as a blockchain consultant for various businesses. Her research on cryptocurrency (specifically staking networks) has been published in Ledger, Carnegie Mellon’s computer science journal, and by the City University of New York. Dylan received her BA from Columbia College of Columbia University in the City of New York in Human Rights and Comparative Literature and her MBA from Tsinghua University in Beijing where she was a CSC Scholar and a Tsinghua Exemplary Student Scholar on a full scholarship, and where she wrote her thesis on the future of blockchain innovation in both the U.S. and China. As a founding member of the lab, she hopes to focus on bringing together different actors in the space that would normally not intersect to enable innovation, and to have a hand in pioneering research that would lead to said innovation.

Ines Gonzalez del Mazo

Fellow

Ines is a blockchain enthusiast with ten years of working experience in banks, payment systems, capital markets, correspondent banking, financial inclusion, blockchain, digital currencies, central banks and regulators. At the World Bank, she worked with 33 countries including India, Russia, South Africa, Colombia, Morocco, Sudan, and Barbados to analyze their financial entities and provide advice and multi-year strategies for regulation, development and stability. Also, she elaborated interventions and reports for the WBG Managing Director and CFO at the Financial Stability Board and G20 meetings that shaped international standards and regulation​. Furthermore, Ines has worked for Ripple, other FinTech start-ups, and VCs providing go-to-market, scaling-up, and monetization strategies, analyzing uses of blockchain for securities, OTC Derivatives and FX settlements, and has sourced start-ups globally. She graduated from Wharton with an MBA degree, from Universidad San-Pablo CEU with a BA in Business and Finance and received merit scholarships for international studies from the Government of Spain.

Justine Humenasky

Fellow

Justine Humenansky is an investor at Playground Global, a deeptech venture fund based in Palo Alto. She has researched blockchain-based digital identity and data privacy for Blockchain at Berkeley, SamsungNext, the State of California, and as a University Blockchain Research Initiative grant recipient. She has also contributed to the World Economic Forum's publications on Central Bank Digital Currencies. She previously worked as an equity research analyst at Barclays Capital, covering internet and telecom infrastructure. Justine is a CFA charter holder and received her BA from Fordham University and her MBA from Berkeley-Haas. As a founding member of the lab, Justine is excited to work with industry leaders to advance digital currency innovation -- particularly as it pertains to digital identity, privacy, and interoperability -- and to shape the discussion around how central bank digital currencies can be designed to promote a more open and inclusive financial system.

Natalya Thakur

Co-Founder and Fellow

Natalya began working in the fintech, crypto and blockchain space in 2015. She has worked at companies such as BlackRock, Google[X], C-Labs (Celo) and IDEO CoLab. Natalya co-authored the 2019 Blockchain for Social Impact Report and helped organize the Digital Currency Wars simulation with former White House officials and crypto experts to address national security concerns around digital currency. As a founding member of the lab, she hopes to enable CBDC policy and technology adoption through small scale pilots that promote data gathering and education. Natalya also helps the lab with their public-private relationship management, and sits on the United Nations ITU Policy and Governance Working Group.

Natalya’s work has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, IDEO Futures Podcast, SAP Women in Tech Conference and at SXSW. Natalya graduated with a BA (honors) in International Relations from Stanford University, and holds an MBA/MPA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Kennedy School.

Alex Pruden

Advisory Board

Alex is currently the Chief Strategy Officer at Aleo, a protocol based on zero-knowledge cryptography that enables developers to build decentralized, performant, and privacy-preserving applications. Prior to Aleo, he was an investment partner at venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz. There, he focused on blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and stablecoins. Before a16z, he worked at Coinbase, the leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, as a member of the Corporate Development team. Prior to arriving in Silicon Valley, Alex spent nearly a decade in the United States Army in the Infantry and Special Forces. He deployed three times to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. His experience witnessing impoverished and oppressed communities lacking financial access and opportunity in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria was the inspiration for his career transition into crypto. Alex holds a B.S. in International Relations from the United States Military Academy and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Nitin Gaur

Advisory Board

Nitin Gaur currently leads IBM Financial Sciences research practice, as a part of IBM Research. In this role, Nitin leads a team that aspires to play a pivotal role in reshaping the future of the financial services industry with faculty, advanced technology, and superior design in the field of financial sciences and financial technology. Transforming the financial services industry with technology into a new era with Blockchain, AI, and ML, qualitative. and quantitative modeling. In previous role, Nitin Gaur, served as Founder and Director of IBM Digital Asset Labs- serving to devise industry standards, use cases, and working towards making blockchain for the enterprise a reality. In parallel Nitin also served as CTO of IBM World Wire - a cross border payment solution utilizing digital assets. Nitin also Founded IBM Blockchain Labs and led the effort in establishing blockchain practice for the enterprise.Prior to this role he was working in capacity of CTO, IBM Mobile Payments and Enterprise Mobile Solutions. Nitin holds MS in Management Information systems and MBA in Finance from University of Maryland. Nitin is also appointed as an IBM Distinguished Engineer and is an IBM Master Inventor with a rich patent portfolio.

Thank you

Foundational Supporters

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Founding Members

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Membership

Tier 1

  • $250,000/year
  • All of the benefits included in Tier 2 plus the following items below
  • (2) Nominations to the FDC Advisory Board
  • Opportunity to participate in all FDC Pilot projects related to digital currency
  • Invitation to send (1) Visiting Scholars to Stanford per academic calendar year

Tier 2

  • $75,000/year
  • Opportunity to obtain visibility at the annual conference event organized by Stanford FDC
  • (1) Nomination to the FDC Advisory Board
  • Opportunity to participate in select FDC Pilot projects related to digital currency
  • Access to engage with students and/or researchers
  • Participation in ongoing webinars focused on digital currency topics
  • Regular briefings on regulatory and technical developments from FDC staff, researchers, and experts