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Panel discussion

What is it, why should I care, and how can it help?

From Bitcoin to Ethereum and Litecoin to Tether, there are now over 4,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation. In economic theory, money is said to have three primary functions: a medium of exchange; a store of value; and a unit of account. So how does crypto fulfil these roles? And what does the continuing process of digitalisation of the world’s financial systems mean for the future of money?

Writer and tech critic Maria Farrell chairs a discussion with digital evangelist Dinis Guarda; John Turner and Will Quinn, authors of Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles; and Jillian C York, Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the author of Silicon Values.

Maria Farrell

Maria Farrell is a writer and speaker, and one of the Guardian’s 2021 ‘formidable female tech critics’. Her viral 2020 essay, The Prodigal Tech Bro, coined a new term to explain why we still lavish attention and resources on the men who created our technology dystopia. Farrell worked in tech policy for twenty years, including The World Bank, ICANN, the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, and The Law Society of England and Wales. She has written for the Guardian, the New EuropeanSlateMedium, the Irish Times and Irish Independent, and is working on a book about how we can use stories to imagine and build a tech future that includes and serves us all.

Dinis Guarda

Dinis Guarda is an author, academic, influencer, serial entrepreneur and leader in 4IR, AI, Fintech, digital transformation and Blockchain, with decades of experience in international business, holding executive-level positions within the space. Regularly featured among ‘the most influential(s) in tech, blockchain, fintech, metaverse and AI’ lists, he has had a prolific career in leading big businesses and advising corporations and building digital transformation, AR VR, business and fintech strategies and platforms. He has created a bank between Asia and Africa, and worked with the UN, Mastercard, Philips, Barclays, Hyperloop Transportation and many other global organisations and corporations. He advises governments and private corporations. He has been sharing his wealth of knowledge with young and budding talents at universities like Copenhagen Business School, Groupe INSEEC. He is the founder and CEO of techabc and the ztudium group. He is the author of a number of books, including 4IRHow Businesses and Governments Can Prosper with FintechBlockchain and AI? and Blockchain, AI and Crypto Economics.

John Turner

John Turner is Professor of Finance and Financial History at Queen’s University Belfast and is the founder of the Centre for Economic History and a co-founder of the Long Run Institute. He is the former Dean of Queen’s Management School. He has been a Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England and an Alfred Chandler Fellow at Harvard Business School. He is an editor at the Economic History Review and Economics Observatory. He has recently co-authored Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, which was listed as a Financial Times best economics book of the year in 2020.

William Quinn

Will Quinn is Senior Lecturer in Finance at Queen’s University Belfast, where he teaches modules on Financial Bubbles and Crises and FinTech. He is the co-author of Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, the Enlightened Economist Book of the Year for 2020.

Jillian York

Jillian C York is a writer and activist whose work examines the impact of technology on our societal and cultural values. Based in Berlin, she is the Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Human Rights at the European University Viadrina, and a visiting professor at the College of Europe Natolin. She is the author of Silicon Values. Image credit: NADINE BARIŠIĆ / VAMPKITTY