Brian Forde has spent more than a decade at the nexus of technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. He was the Founding Director of Digital Currency at the MIT Media Lab where he led efforts to mainstream digital currencies like Bitcoin through research, and incubation of high-impact applications of the emerging technology. Before MIT he was the Senior Advisor for Mobile and Data Innovation at the White House where he spearheaded efforts to leverage emerging technologies to address the President’s most critical national priorities. Prior to his work at the White House, Brian founded one of the largest phone companies in Nicaragua after serving as a business and technology volunteer in the Peace Corps. In recognition of his work, Brian was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the ten most influential people in bitcoin and blockchain.
Brian graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from University of California at Los Angeles and an M.B.A. from London Business School.
Jeremy Rubin | Co-Founder of DCI
Chelsea Barabas | Former DCI Head of Social Innovation
A Media Lab alumnus and former head of social innovation for the DCI, Chelsea focuses on the intersection of technology and civil society. Living between Kenya and Cambridge, she now works for the MIT Media Lab's Artificial Intelligence Initiative.
Mark Weber | Previous Graduate Researcher and Working Groups Project Manager
Mark Weber leads the b_verify project for verifiable claims, focused on securing warehouse receipts records on public blockchains to improving agricultural finance. Mark also managed DCI's student working groups. Follow @markrweber on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Github.
Alin S. Dragos | Previous Head of Strategic Partnerships
Alin headed strategic partnerships for the Digital Currency Initiative, and also led product management for the DCI's efforts on Layer 2 solutions for scaling public blockchains. Before MIT, he was a vice president at First Data Corporation, leading a family of products for banking the unbanked. In this role, he was responsible for a $200M P&L and an organization of ~200 employees. He also spent three years in the startup world, raising seed funds, scaling up business models and managing a post-acquisition integration. Alin holds an MBA from University of Arkansas and an MS from MIT.
Joi Ito | MIT Media Lab Director
Joichi "Joi" Ito has been recognized for his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy, and internet freedom. As Media Lab Director, he is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways. Follow @Joi on Twitter.
Willy Vasquez | Graduate Researcher Fall 2016 - Summer 2017
Willy completed his MIT masters thesis entitled "Auditable Private Ledgers" with the DCI, which provides a design and implementation of a privacy solution for distributed ledgers that lets third parties audit private ledger data. He is currently a PhD student at UT Austin continuing to work on provably secure cryptosystems. Follow @elwrv on Twitter.
Henry Aspegren | Previous Graduate Researcher
Henry Aspegren is currently a Schwarzman Scholar studying technology policy and management at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Previously Henry was an undergraduate and graduate researcher at the DCI. He completed a Master’s thesis entitled “b_verify: Scalable Non-Equivocation for Verifiable Management of Data” with the group and was advised by the DCI Director Neha Narula. Henry is interested in using cryptography and data-driven decision making to make finance fairer and more inclusive.
Samantha Bates | Project Manager
Sam has a background in tech, law, and project management. She helps coordinate a variety of DCI projects including the MIT cryptocurrency journal.
Sophie Meralli | Project Manager
Sophie works on the application of zkLedger and zero-knowledge proofs to the world of Finance. Her primary focus is on the securitization market and the ability for investors to get anonymized performance analytics about their investments in near-real time. Sophie holds a Master of Science in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics and a Master of Business Administration from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Cole Vick | Undergraduate Researcher Spring 2019
Cole is an undergrad at Northeastern University studying Computer Science and Philosophy and is joining the DCI in January as a 6 month Co-Op. At Northeastern, he has tutored both the introductory CS course and various Philosophy courses. He also mentored and prepared students through their first Co-Op application while serving as a Fellow of the College of Computer Science. Previously, Cole has built CI pipelines, REST APIs, and DevOps automation. He looks forward to learning about the crytposphere and continuing development on CryptoKernel with James. Aside from his technical interests, Cole is also eager to explore the economic and philosophical implications of large-scale market decentralization that many crypto users and developers talk about. Cole also enjoys running, cooking, and playing chess badly.
Dan Cline | Undergraduate Researcher Spring 2019
Dan is an undergraduate at UMass Amherst studying computer science and math. Last summer he interned at Charles River Analytics as a Software Engineer Intern. He is interested in learning more about scaling blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, and will be working on layer 2 and decentralized exchange tech. In his free time he likes to cook, play tennis, and bike.
Trey Del Bonis | Undergraduate Researcher Fall 2018
Trey is an undergraduate student at Northeastern University studying computer science that joined the DCI in 2018. He primarily worked on extending and refactoring the Lit Lightning Network implementation with new features under Tadge and also renovated the Bitcoin vending machine in the Media Lab to accept payments though Lit. His goal at the DCI was to build "cool Bitcoin stuff" in new and creative ways. He also loves programming in Rust. Outside of technology, he is a proud Rhode Islander and a lifelong snowboarder.
Nabeel Younis | Undergraduate Researcher Fall 2018
Currently a senior at Boston University studying Computer Engineering with a focus on algorithms and distributed networks. At mit-dci Nabeel developed zkSigma, a stand-alone cryptographic library for generating non-interactive zero knowledge proofs of knowledge (NIZKs). In his spare time he enjoys video games and reading about current events in the Middle East.
Luke Horgan | Undergraduate Researcher Fall 2018
Luke is a Northeastern University undergrad with a penchant for strange things that seem useful and interesting. He spent several years as a research assistant at Northeastern’s Lazer Lab, where he assisted in the development of the social psychology platform Volunteer Science (volunteerscience.com). He was new to the crypto sphere before joining the DCI, but has since come to see that it unequivocally checks all the “penchant” boxes. His primary role is to further the development of Cryptokernel, an open source blockchain toolkit. He looks forward to exploring the crypto arena and, hopefully, making his mark there.
Amanda Horne | Undergraduate Researcher Spring + Fall 2018
Amanda is studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She joined DCI in Spring 2018, as part of the Cryptokernel development team. She has a passion for cryptocurrency and cybersecurity, and works on the security and stability of the Cryptokernel application. Amanda hopes to pursue a Master’s in Computer Systems at MIT after her Bachelors, ultimately leading up to a career in Cybersecurity. In addition to academics and her work in DCI, Amanda is a Tour Guide for MIT Admissions, currently serves as the Alumnae Engagement Director for her sorority, and enjoys skiing, seeing broadway musicals, and traveling for fun in her spare time.
Marcin Jachymiak | Undergraduate Researcher 2018-2019
Jesus Mathus | Graduate Researcher Spring 2018
Jesus Mathus is now pursuing a Master's of Engineering in Computer Science. Jesus is completing his thesis work on Lightning Network under Tadge Dryja's supervision.
Marla Odell | Undergraduate Researcher Fall 2017 - Spring 2018
Since joining the Digital Currency Initiative in 2017, Marla has worked on the Digital Fiat Currency and Open Music Initiative projects. She is passionate about making the blockchain and cryptocurrency space accessible to everyone through developing educational resources and tools. In addition to her work in the DCI, Marla is also the Co-Founder and President of MIT Women in EECS, a rower on MIT's varsity crew team and a leader in Amphibious Achievement.
Arturo Chavez-Gehrig | Undergraduate Researcher Fall 2017 - Spring 2018
Arturo studies computer science and economics at MIT. He is excited to understand the financial, economic, and engineering elements of cryptocurrencies. He joined the DCI community in 2016, participating in the Intro to Cryptocurrencies Bootcamp. He was a member of the Valuing Cryptoassets working group in Spring 2017 to explore the intrinsic value of blockchain-derived assets and their market dynamics. He is currently working on the Digital Fiat Currency project, implementing new functionality in Cryptokernel (a distributed ledger development toolkit).
Bernard Snowden | Undergraduate Researcher Fall 2017 - Summer 2018
Bernard started exploring the great potential for bitcoin and blockchain technology in 2017 and was immediately fascinated with how they combine the two fields of computer science and economics. He currently works on the Digital Fiat Currency project to develop CryptoKernel into a useful resource for future parties to issue their own digital currencies.
Nchinda Nchinda | Undergraduate Researcher Spring 2017
In the Spring of 2017, Nchinda was a UAP for Tadge Dryja working on Lit-BAMF (Lightning Browser Actuated Multi-Functionality) for his senior thesis, which was a web based GUI for lit. Nchinda was also involved in the concept stage for ‘Blockchain Warehouse Receipts’, used in tracking agriculture in Mexico. Nchinda graduated from MIT in 2017 with a BA in Computer Science, and in 2018 with a Masters in Viral Media designing MedRec2.0.
Nchinda was a Member of the MIT Bitcoin club for 4 years, as Secretary, President, Webmaster, and Expo Director; where since graduating he still likes to be involved.
Nchinda was born in Cameroon, and raised in WI. He plays the tuba, euphonium and bass guitar. During his undergraduate time he was part of the Marching Band, Student Information Processing Board (SIBP), and Webmaster for his dorm. He has a secret passion for Chemistry, especially Organic.
He now works for the Cambridge start up MTonomy
Nicola Greco | Previous Graduate Researcher
Nicola Greco was a Ph.D. student in the Decentralized Information Group at MIT. He writes and advances research on ways to re-decentralize the web, focusing on technical, political, and social aspects of decentralized systems both at MIT and the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society.
Ariel Ekblaw | Previous Collaborator
Ariel is a PhD student and research assistant in the Responsive Environments group at the Media Lab, where she designs and prototypes aerospace structures with embedded sensor networks. As Founder and Lead of the Media Lab's Space Exploration Initiative, she coordinates space research opportunities across the spectrum of science, engineering, art and design and support collaborations on this work throughout MIT. Previously, in the Viral Communications group at the Media Lab, she produced research and prototypes for blockchain-based medical records.
Alin Tomescu | Previous Student Collaborator
Alin Tomescu is a PhD candidate in MIT CSAIL, advised by Professor Srinivas Devadas. His current research interests are in secure communication, public-key directories, cryptographic puzzles, cryptocurrencies, anonymity and privacy-preserving web applications.
Prema Shrikrishna | Previous Collaborator
Prema Shrikrishna is a blockchain enthusiast, a sustainable business champion and has spent over 13 years building sustainable business operations for Walt Disney, ABB & Vodafone across Asia Pacific. She is passionate about understanding industry dynamics enabled by technology and their impact on the global ecosystem—economic, social, and environmental.Currently, she is a serving as Blockchain & Supply chains advisor at the MIT Media Lab. She has advised Governments, Ports & Fortune 500 companies on streamlining process efficiencies through the Distributed Ledger Technology. She is also collaborating with the Belt and Road Blockchain consortium, Hong Kong to explore the future of digital trade for Belt and Road initiative led by China encompassing over 60 countries.
Ana C. Fiallo | Previous Student Collaborator: Undergraduate Researcher 2018-2019
My name is Ana Cristina Fiallo and I am from Dorado, Puerto Rico. I am currently a first year student at MIT, interested in studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a minor in Energy Studies.
As an undergraduate at MIT, Michelle majored in Computer Science and Engineering, and minored in Energy studies. She is currently pursuing her master's degree (also at MIT), developing more accurate prediction models for household energy consumption, and working on system designs for smarter and more dynamic electricity grids.
Andrew Koh | Previous Student Collaborator: Undergraduate Researcher
Andrew Koh worked on the Solar Microgrids project that is based in Puerto Rico, which is currently run by Martin Wainstein.
Erick Pinos worked on the Solar Microgrids project that is based in Puerto Rico, which is currently run by Martin Wainstein.
Eilon Shalev | Collaborator: Project Manager
Eilon Shalev the founder and CEO of elphi and was a 2019 MBA graduate from MIT Sloan. He led the DCI Working Groups in 2018-2019 and continues to help us with this program. Prior to MIT Sloan, Eilon served his country for 12.5 years. He wrote a novel at the age of 23 and was the first-ever Israeli to crowdfund a project in Israel, financing the publishing of his book.