by Cindy Huynh
Hot cryptocurrency wallet provider Blockchain has recently hired academic and cryptocurrency economist, Dr. Garrick Hileman as blockchain’s head of research. He will explore cryptocurrency usage, geographical spread, and areas such as stable coins.
Hileman has studied cryptocurrencies since 2011 and previously held positions at The London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge. He also developed the first course on cryptocurrencies at Cambridge and is currently teaching the course at the University’s Judge Business School. Furthermore, Hileman was also one of the earlier employees at CoinDesk and had authored reports on the State of bitcoin and blockchain from 2013 to 2016.
According to an interview with Business Insider, Hileman believes that cryptocurrencies are:
“a very multidisciplinary subject, so I think the complexity of it is very appealing to me. 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 previously spent over a decade working for the Bank of America, The Home Depot, IDG, and Allianz before returning 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,” said Hileman.
Hileman Feels Comfortable to Pivot His Career
Hileman believes that his diversified experience will be beneficial for the cryptocurrency wallet provider Blockchain. According to a statement, Blockchain’s CEO and co-founder Peter Smith mentioned that Hileman’s role would not only advance the company but the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.
“Blockchain is one of the premier data organizations in the crypto space and has been a big supporter of my research in the past,” said Hileman. “I’m going to be first and foremost really looking to better understand the data landscape both in terms of Blockchain as a company as well as across the space.”
Hileman sees much work that can be done to advance the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector. He recognizes that there are many things about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology that the public does not understand. His goal is to explore questions concerning how cryptocurrencies will be used, which cryptocurrencies are gaining more fundamental traction, and where are they primarily based, on an empirical level.
Many Economists Fail to Understand Cryptocurrency as a Technology
Unlike Hileman’s academic peers, his positive and progressive views on cryptocurrency make it “unusual as an academic based economist.”
American economist and distinguished professor of economics at the University of New York, Paul Kruger has published an article detailing why “Bitcoin is evil.” Other academics like Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University has described himself as a “blockchain skeptic,” while Nouriel Roubini, the economist known for his prediction of the 2008 housing bubble called Bitcoin “bullshit.”
“It’s been actually pretty surprising for me to learn that many economists have a hard time seeing the technology. The use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is really a technology platform and not just a currency, not just a return to the gold standard or something.”
Although Hileman is confident about the technology and significance of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, he is however uncomfortable with making predictions, especially over the next five to ten years. “Crypto years are kind of like dog years,” said Hileman. “You pack 6,7 years worth of time into a single year it seems.”