Cryptocurrency economist Dr. Garrick Hileman is joining crypto wallet provider Blockchain.
Hileman wrote and teaches the University of Cambridge’s first blockchain and cryptocurrency course.
Hileman will be Blockchain’s head of research, looking at things like usage, geographical spread, and new areas such as stable coins.
Hileman talked to Business Insider about why he believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay, what he teaches at Cambridge, why skeptical economists like Paul Krugman and Nouriel Roubini are wrong, and more.
LONDON — Hot cryptocurrency company Blockchain has hired academic Dr. Garrick Hileman as its first head of research.
Hileman has been studying cryptocurrencies since 2011 and holds posts at both the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics. He developed the first course on cryptocurrencies at Cambridge and still teaches it at the University’s Judge Business School.
Hileman is also well respected in the crypto community, having been an early employee of sector news website CoinDesk. In that role, he created and authored the State of Bitcoin and State of Blockchain reports between 2013 and 2016.
Blockchain is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency-wallet provider, with over 24 million of its wallets in use across 140 countries. The London-headquartered company is also working behind the scenes to build crypto-inspired products and services for mainstream finance. Blockchain recently hired former Goldman banker Breanne Madigan to lead Institutional Sales and Strategy.
Business Insider jumped on the phone with Hileman to hear about how he got into crypto, why he’s bullish on the technology while other economists are sceptical, and what he’ll be doing at Blockchain.
‘I felt very comfortable pivoting my career’
Hileman first discovered cryptocurrencies when he was doing his PhD at the London School of Economics in 2011. His thesis was on currency black markets and he heard about bitcoin, which at the time was largely being used to power the online black market Silk Road.
“It grabbed my attention and I thought, what is this thing?” Hileman told BI. “That was one of my first papers, looking at the taxonomy of cryptocurrencies.”
The more he looked into the space, the more intrigued he became.
“It’s a very multidisciplinary subject so I think the complexity of it is very appealing to me,” he said. “Someone like myself who’s worked in technology, worked in finance, studied economics, studied history, has an interest in policy questions — it really ticks a lot of boxes for me personally.”
Hileman had spent more than a decade working for companies like Bank of America, The Home Depot, IDG, and Allianz before going back to academia.
“To me, it made sense that this was going to become something important and more significant over time so I felt very comfortable early on devoting significant time and really pivoting my career,” he said.
‘Many economists have a hard time seeing the technology’
Hileman’s views on crypto make “unusual as an academic based economist,” he admits.
“Many of my peers in academia have not been as enthusiastic about cryptocurrency or as open to the success its enjoyed and its growing importance.”
Paul Krugman has called bitcoin “evil” and
Source:: Business Insider