Skip to content
Blockchain Certification

Stanford Pupil Calls Out Crypto Professor for Inaccurate Bitcoin Lecture


In January of 2019, pupil Conner Brown attended a visitor lecture by a Professor Susan Athey at the Stanford College Graduate Faculty of Small business. She gave a presentation to his “Evolution of Finance” course titled “Blockchain and the Long term of Finance.” According to Brown, the presentation contained “multiple misstatements” about Bitcoin and its fundamentals.

Following the presentation, Brown was dissatisfied with how Bitcoin was referenced by Athey for the duration of the lecture to a home comprised (largely) of folks who were being unfamiliar with the essential ideas driving the technologies. This prompted him to produce an electronic mail to the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council, expressing his issues.

Brown says that the only response he has gained from the college thus much is an electronic mail stating, “We will get back to you on this.” That is when he posted his criticism on Twitter.

What She Got Mistaken

Athey, who Brown advised Bitcoin Journal is also slated to train an overall course at Stanford next semester known as “Cryptocurrencies,” claimed that not only is Bitcoin “managed by a modest team of miners in China,” but that it also “wastes electrical power by stealing from rivers to resolve useless math challenges.” Athey also mentioned that bitcoin is “secured economically and not cryptographically.”

In her presentation degrading the to start with digital, decentralized forex, Athey drew comparisons to what she regarded as a much better alternative in Ripple’s engineering, working with XRP. Exclusively, she cited trade rate volatility, have confidence in challenges with exchanges, and very long transaction occasions as negatives to utilizing Bitcoin (stating that, subsequently, exchanges wanted to obtain bitcoin). Athey then, in accordance to her presentation, discussed how Ripple’s XRP, xRapid API, and over-all consensus mechanism offer an substitute that is a lot quicker, more cost-effective, extra secure, and additional strength friendly than Bitcoin.

In protest, Brown composed a letter resolved to the Graduate College of Enterprise, expressing his views that particular statements about Bitcoin should really have been subject matter to “high caliber dialogue and peer overview.”

In addressing Athey’s promises towards Bitcoin, Brown effectively described the place Athey missed essential concepts.

Addressing her assert on mining centralization by a modest team in China, Brown spelled out that Athey was conflating mining nodes with whole nodes and had used this misrepresentation to placement Ripple as a improved alternate to Bitcoin. He also countered by outlining that miners typically compile their assets alongside one another in a mining pool, but there are several particular person miners in these pools and not 1 entity can completely control Bitcoin.

To Athey’s assert that Bitcoin is secured economically and not cryptographically, Brown pointed out that she is once once again conflating two unique items: Thieving funds by cracking the encryption of the wallet and applying mining energy to 51% assault a network.

Conflict of Interest?

As the issue came to light-weight on Twitter, it was pointed out that Athey was welcomed to the Ripple Labs Board of Directors back in April 2014, where she however maintains an active role. When Nic Carter requested on Twitter if Athey experienced manufactured any disclosure prior to her presentation, she replied directly: “Five minute verbal introduction talking about my track record in the place — no way to miss out on it!”

Whether or not or not Athey experienced any ill-intent in her presentation, Brown explained to Bitcoin Magazine that is not what mattered to him.

“It issues me that my classmates’ first introduction to Bitcoin contained intense factual problems together with strong anti-Bitcoin rhetoric. The academy is not a area for marketing and advertising, but rigorously testing concepts. If a professor has a likely conflict of curiosity, they really should be held to the greatest specifications of scrutiny and peer evaluate.

“That staying said, Bitcoin is a creature of the net. Its properties are difficult for academics to take pleasure in because of to its deeply interdisciplinary and evolutionary mother nature. This tends to make it hard for building a curriculum due to the fact of the siloed design and style of educational disciplines and the gradual speed of the peer evaluation procedure. The net will often be the finest place to go after a Bitcoin schooling.”