Financial Engineering Program Hosts Bitcoin Roundtable

The future of crypto-currency and Bitcoin, the controversial online virtual currency, will be the topic of debate June 18 at a roundtable discussion at Haas featuring several industry leaders.

Hosted by the Berkeley Master of Financial of Engineering (MFE) Program, the discussion will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Cheit 230. The event will be open to 22 members of the Haas community on a first-come, first-served basis and broadcast live to 100 people on WebEx at A video recording of the event will be available 24 hours later on the MFE website.

The panel will feature:

  • Michael Casey, a senior columnist at the Wall Street Journal in New York who covers global economics and markets.
  • Jesse Powell, CEO of Kraken, a startup that has developed of a crypto-currency exchange.
  • Keren Zhou, chief economist at Buttercoin, a startup that provides Bitcoin exchange services to other companies.
  • Tariq Dennison, MFE 04, founder of the GFM Group in Kong Kong.

MFE Executive Director Linda Kreitzman will moderate the discussion and plans to ask some tough questions about the validity of bitcoin and its future.

Moderator: Linda Kreitzman

Linda Kreitzman is the executive director of the Master of Financial Engineering Program at the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley. Kreitzman helped launch the MFE in 2000. She has successfully led the curriculum, admissions, and placement of MFE alumni and students in key positions in buy-side and sell-side firms for the last 14 years. In her spare time, Kreitzman serves as advisor to a few startups in Europe and the United States.


Michael Casey, Wall Street Journal
Michael Casey is an editor and senior columnist covering global economics and markets at the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of the "Horizons" column on Moneybeat and the daily "Horizons Global Call" roundup of global economic and financial events. Michael is also a regular host of the AM News Hub show on WSJ Live. Michael is the author of The Unfair Trade, a book on the global dimensions of the financial crisis and, before that, of Che’s Afterlife, about the international impact of Alberto Korda’s iconic image of Che Guevara. He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and has a master’s degree from Cornell University.  

Tariq Dennison, GFM Group
Tariq Dennison, MFE 2004, has worked with structured funds, equity derivatives, currencies, commodities, and fixed income at Commerzbank, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, CIBC, and Societe Generale. He co-founded GFM Group in 2013 in Hong Kong to help make a wider range of financial instruments, techniques, and technologies understandable and usable to brokers, money managers, investors and corporate treasurers in Asia. Tariq has written more than a dozen articles explaining Bitcoin's workings and applications and likens digital currencies’ impact on banks to email’s impact on post offices.

Jesse Powell, Kraken and Payward
Jesse Powell is a serial entrepreneur in the virtual goods marketplace industry and the co-founder and CEO of Kraken, one of the fast growing Bitcoin exchanges targeting European and US clients. Expert in virtual currencies, online/international payments and fraud, Jesse is the founder and former CEO of Lewt, Inc., a $10mm/year virtual goods business established in 2001. He then founded and was CEO of Internet Ventures and Holdings in 2006. He has been obsessed with everything Bitcoin since he first discovered it in March of 2011.

Kevin Zhou, Buttercoin
Kevin Zhou is the chief economist at Buttercoin and Managing Partner at Mandelbrot Ventures.  He has been an advocate of Bitcoin and a part of the crypto-currency community since early 2011. Kevin previously worked as a prop trader at Cutler Group and as a quant at Standard and Poors. He holds an MFE from Berkeley, an MA in economics from Boston University, and a BA in mathematics and economics from Berkeley.


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