If blockchain is the greatest technological innovation since the internet, then we are at the dawn of a new digital age heading well beyond our wildest dreams. But what is blockchain? Why is everyone talking about cryptocurrency? And is bitcoin just one giant bubble waiting to pop? It was these questions, and more, why Georgetown FinTech welcomed Commonstock to campus for their latest Georgetown FinTech Showcase.
Georgetown FinTech is the newest student organization at McDonough School of Business. Launched last year by a few MBA students, Georgetown FinTech has grown from a handful of founding members to over 150 students representing both graduate and undergraduate programs. The club's mission is to foster a community passionate about startups, venture capital, and organizations leveraging technology to transform the financial services industry.
They're capturing the attention of recruiters and alumni well beyond the walls of Georgetown's campus.
Georgetown FinTech hosted an industry event last spring that attracted 250+ students, alumni, and industry professionals from around the country. In 2018, they're launching a Showcase Series, highlighting some of the industry's hottest topics, blossoming startups, and exciting thought leaders.
"FinTech stretches well beyond traditional finance and investing," says Jamie Russo, one of the club's founders. "There are major players transforming all aspects of the financial services industry around the world today."
One area of focus in 2018 is on cryptocurrency.
"ICO's brought in $3.8 billion in 2017," says Russo. "We're interested to see what that translates to in 2018."
In response to all of the buzz on campus, Georgetown FinTech hosted a Showcase in January centered around An Intro to Cryptocurrency. During the talk, guest speaker Eric Pelnik shared why he left a career in VC to join SF-based crypto startup CommonStock.
Founded in 2017, CommonStock is a social investing platform built on the hypothesis that when friends invest together, their portfolios perform better. They're eliminating the faux pas associated with finance and believe that investing can be made fun and collaborative.
"If blockchain is to the internet, then 2018 will be just like 1996," proposed Pelnik. "It's the wild, wild west."
Pelnik described how electronic money is the natural progression in the digital age, an evolution from electronic mail and electronic trading.
"Bitcoin was blockchain's killer app." But blockchain is still early, Pelnik reminded.
There are very few internet giants that dominated the 1990's that are still dominating today. So what is the future of bitcoin? The facts remain pretty simple.
"We are in the very early stages of a blockchain revolution," says Russo. "20 years from now, there will be winners and there will be losers. It is tough to predict who those winners will be. But keep in mind that there will be more losers than winners. So beware of the hype."
Do you work at a company on the leading edge of the FinTech revolution? Georgetown FinTech would love to feature you or your company at an upcoming Showcase.
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