Berkeley Haas a key player in Blockchain Week

Top blockchain technology researchers and industry leaders from around the world will gather in Berkeley for the Crypto Economics Security Conference (CESC) this month, part of the massive San Francisco Blockchain Week taking place Oct. 28 to Nov. 3 on both sides of the bay.

About 5,000 people are expected to attend the full week of events, with Berkeley Haas co-hosting the conference and a Blockchain Career Fair during the first half of the week, followed by the San Francisco Blockchain Week Epicenter event at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis on Thursday and Friday and the DeFi Hackathon over the weekend.

Haas professors to share research

Haas Profs. Christine Parlour and Steven Tadelis are among the researchers speaking at the Crypto Economics Security Conference on Oct. 28 and 29 in UC Berkeley’s Pauley Ballroom. The conference will explore the economic security aspects of blockchain technology, including game theory, incentive design, mechanism design, and market design.

Parlour, the Sylvan C. Coleman Chair in Finance and Accounting, will present her research on the investment characteristics of a sample of 64 initial coin offerings, and discuss asset pricing properties of cryptocurrencies. (Read a Q&A with Parlour here). Tadelis, the Sarin Chair in Leadership and Strategy, will outline how feedback and reputation systems work for online marketplaces like eBay and Uber, highlighting some of the bias in feedback and reputation systems.

Speakers at the conference, now in its third year, will hold sessions simultaneously on two ballroom stages. “It will be much more intimate than many tech conferences,” said UC Berkeley undergraduate student Liam DiGregorio, BS 21, who is a SF Blockchain Week co-organizer and head of external partnerships and business development for Blockchain at Berkeley, which is also a host of the week’s events.

Kate Tomlinson, MBA 20 and a business consultant at Blockchain at Berkeley, said she’s looking forward to a few days of immersing herself in blockchain. “One of the things I liked about the conference last year was the opportunity to meet people working on projects that we’ve been working on at Blockchain at Berkeley,” she said. “The conference also connects you to people who are really building this stuff and are at the forefront of what’s going on. The conference helps me to understand what’s really happening.”

Along with the security conference, Haas is co-hosting the Blockchain Career Fair at International House on Oct. 30 from 3:00 to 7:30pm, where more than 40 companies will be looking for blockchain talent. Last year, about 1,500 people submitted resumes online and 170 people landed jobs, DiGregorio said.

Epicenter Event and Hackathon

Following the conference and and career fair at Berkeley, the week’s events shift to San Francisco for the Epicenter Event, bringing together companies, developers, investors, and researchers. Among the speakers throughout the week are Ethereum founder and industry leader Vitalik Buterin and the founders of NuCypher, Forte, and Kabam. UC Berkeley Prof. Shafrira “Shafi” Goldwasser, director of the Simons Institute at UC Berkeley and the winner of the ACM Turing Award in 2012, will speak at the Epicenter Conference at San Francisco’s Marriott Marquis.

Researchers from Vanderbilt, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, UC Santa Barbara, the University of Edinburgh, Northeastern University, New York University, and McGill will also attend.

The week wraps up with the DeFI Hackathon, open to developers of all ages, on Nov. 1-3 at San Francisco’s Terra Gallery. “We’ll have mentors onsite to jump-start the learning experience,” DiGregorio said.

Haas’ participation in blockchain week is part of the school’s ongoing commitment to blockchain research. Haas is one of  34 universities that participate in the University Blockchain Research Initiative,  created by Ripple to support academic research; technical development; and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital payments. Through the initiative, Haas received a five-year, multi-million dollar grant to support faculty and student research, along with events like the conference and job fair, said Karin Bauer, program manager for the Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative. “We are able to support independent research in areas of innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency, and finance that might not otherwise be funded,” she said.

Use the promo code Haas20  to receive 20% off tickets for the CESC or Epicenter conference. The Career Fair and DeFi Hackathon are both free and open to the public upon completion of the applications on