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Foreword from the Expo Director

It feels like just yesterday we were mourning the death of Bitcoin. Crypto winter claimed its casualties, and unfortunately, Bitcoin was to be no more.


Last year, we celebrated 10 years of Bitcoin, blockchain, and cryptocurrency.

This year, the the MIT Bitcoin Club is excited to announce the 7th Annual Expo — MIT Bitcoin Expo 2020: Building the Stack!


The MIT Bitcoin Club is a student and blockchain-enthusiasts run club at MIT, whose mission is to increase awareness and use of cryptocurrency and to provide forums where blockchain-related ideas, projects, programs, and businesses can be studied, discussed, and developed. The club has also organized the MIT Bitcoin Expo every year since 2014 — a two day conference focused on all things blockchain .

The club meets on a weekly basis to discuss the technology — both its merits and its challenges — and work on various projects. Lately, we’ve focused on improving our programming and cryptography skills, working through exercises in Jimmy Song’s Programming Bitcoin and learning about new scaling technologies like UTreeXO. Learning through experience speaks to the heart of MIT’s motto: Mens et Manus — “mind and hand” — and is one of the reasons we’re so excited for this year’s Expo.

7th Annual Expo

We are excited for you to join us in Cambridge for the 7th Annual Expo, to be held on March 7th and 8th, 2020 at MIT!

Last year was both a retrospective on the previous decade as well as a call to what the future may hold.

This year, we focus on the state of the art of the emerging protocol stack.

From efforts to optimize base-layer protocols and sustained interest in privacy integration to second-layer development and standardization, the past year has brought both incredible innovation and increasing scrutiny.

We were excited by the Taproot/Graftroot/Schnorr soft fork proposal; we are ever-anxious for the ETH2.0 hard fork; we love the existence of varied, yet standardized lightning implementations; and we continue to be intrigued by the precedent-setting SEC actions against a handful of ICO companies.

Still, with a growing developer- and user-base, it is important we build consistent, accessible, and clean tools and experiences. Constructing a distributed, censorship-resistant digital world requires intuitive structures be adopted and implemented.

Current infrastructure (such as HTTP over TCP/IP) communicates seamlessly and allows the common user and front-end developer alike to operate without necessarily understanding the intricacies of sending packets over the internet.

In Bitcoin and other public blockchain implementations we should strive for similar standards where developers can focus their efforts and users can operate under the assumption that other parts of the stack will work.

Recent articles (1, 2) focusing on the growing stack have spoken to what we see as central to the emerging Bitcoin and blockchain ecosystem. So we’ve decided to build a conference focusing on exactly that.

Join us in Cambridge, March 7–8!

This year’s expo is sure to be an exciting one. It will feature:

  • Many of the most interesting people from the bitcoin and blockchain space speaking on technically interesting topics!
  • A 24-hour hackathon, during which hackers will learn and build amazing projects!
  • The inaugural Cryptoeconomic Systems Conference (CES ‘20), co-located with this year’s expo!

A big thank you to our early sponsors Castle Island Ventures and Sia for pledging to support this year’s Expo!

Looking forward to seeing you at the 2020 MIT Bitcoin Expo!

— Hugo Uvegi, MIT Bitcoin Expo 2020 Director


Be part of “Building The Stack”! Alongside the MIT Bitcoin Expo, this year’s hackathon focuses on building out the components of a blockchain stack so we can expand the technology’s usefulness and increase adoption. The hackathon will bring together students for a weekend of coding, learning, experimenting, and collaborating. The hackathon is co-located with the Bitcoin Expo and MIT Press’ inaugural Cryptoeconomic Systems Conference, so you’ll also get to meet and hear from the people at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency development.

— Hackathon Chairs

Cryptoeconomic Systems

The Cryptoeconomic Systems journal and conference series aims to be a reputable venue and scholarly publication of record for impactful original research and reviews, analyses & systematizations of existing knowledge with a focus on cryptocurrency & blockchain technology. By bringing together the technical fields of cryptography, protocol engineering and distributed systems research with insights from the domains of economics, law, complex systems and philosophy we hope to help crystallize a mature research commons.

The journal is to be published by MIT Press using a Diamond Open Access policy, co-ordinated by a Managing Editor Wassim Alsindi and two Editors-in-Chief: Andrew Miller and Neha Narula. Guidance comes from our Advisory Board, whose members are: Dan Boneh, Eric Budish, Justin Drake, Shafi Goldwasser, Maurice Herlihy, Simon Johnson, Dahlia Malkhi, Sendhil Mullainathan, Arvind Narayanan, Robert Townsend, Kevin Werbach & Pieter Wuille.

— Wassim Alsindi, CES Managing Editor

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