Willamette MBA to host special event on blockchain technology

by Daniel Johnson,

Open to the entire WU community, the evening’s program will include a networking and social hour, an informational presentation and a panel discussion featuring AGSM and WU professors.

It’s “the invisible technology that's changing the world,” says PC Magazine, but to most people blockchain remains a complex mystery. Fortunately, Willamette alumni and professors are leading the way in this digital technology frontier — and they are inviting you to join them.

The Atkinson Graduate School of Management will host an educational event about blockchain — the emergent technology behind the decentralized ledger for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions — and its impact on surrounding professional industries and sectors at 6 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Putnam University Center.

Titled “Blockchain: The Revolution Extends Beyond Cryptocurrency,” the event’s program will begin with a networking and social hour. Guests will meet and mingle with other digital technology enthusiasts and industry executives. Special guests include Coinme CEO Neil Bergquist ’09, MBA’10, Coinme Head of Crypto Advisory Nathan Love ’05, MBA ’06 and J.R. Willett, the initial coin offering (ICO) designer behind Omni (previously Mastercoin).

Bergquist, Love and Willett will then offer a presentation on blockchain and talk about their experience establishing and working for Coinme, the first licensed bitcoin ATM company in the United States. They will discuss the industry’s latest trends including the rush of many tech companies to adopt and embrace blockchain.

“I have some good friends who made millions last year. I see the same trend of businesses looking to adopt blockchain technology similar to how ‘analytics’ was the buzzword for tech companies just a few years ago,” Love says in a profile piece on Coinme’s website.

The latter portion of the evening will feature a panel discussion of diverse experts who will break down blockchain’s broader impact on business, economics and tech law. The panel includes Jameson Watts, AGSM assistant professor of marketing; Robert Walker, AGSM associate professor of quantitative methods; Don Negri, CLA professor of economics; and Jason Gershenson JD’11, a New York City attorney who specializes in corporate, commercial and venture technology matters.

While he looks forward to seeing alumni and students connect on topics around technology and business, Watts also sees an opportunity to show the broader tech community the important discussions AGSM faculty and students are having about emerging digital technologies.

“We’re just starting to get the word out, but the majority of our newer AGSM faculty are very focused on the quantitative side of business,” says Watts. “This event is a great way to showcase that expertise and give something back to the community at large.”

This event is open to all Willamette students, alumni and Salem area community members. Alumni, faculty, staff and community members can register for $15 per person, while current students can register for free.


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