HABA Bitcoin and BlockChain Discussion Enlightens Audience

The attendees at the HABA event. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

NEW YORK – The Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance (HABA) presented a fascinating discussion on Thursday, Nov. 9, Understanding Bitcoin, Blockchain & ICOs: A Glimpse of the Future with Cristina Dolan- Tech Guru & MIT Challenge Founder.

The sold out event was held at Wells Fargo Connections in Midtown Manhattan and was attended by professionals from all aspects of the finance world as well as members of the community interested in learning about Bitcoin and Blockchain. In attendance at the event were the officers of HABA- Fanny Trataros- President, Robert Savage- Vice President, Manny Caravanos- Treasurer, and Sophia Prountzos- Secretary as well as HABA directors- James P. Gerkis, Costas Kellas, Nick Lionas, George Maroulis, Demetri Papacostas, Elena Paraskevas-Thadani, Anna Sembos, and John C. Tsunis.

Kellas gave the welcoming remarks and thanked all those in attendance for supporting the many wonderful events HABA presents as well as its commitment to giving back through charitable causes including Ronald McDonald House. Kellas also mentioned the upcoming event on November 30 entitled- Follow the Red Carpet: A Behind the Scenes View of Filmmaking as an Alternative Investment.

HABA Vice President Robert Savage introduced Cristina Dolan, noting her many accomplishments. Dolan is Co-Founder and COO of iXLedger, an MIT Media Lab alumna and Internet pioneer with over two decades of experience building software, Internet, AI and FinTech related businesses.

Cristina Dolan is Co-Founder and COO of iXLedger. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

She was a co-founder of OneMain.com, which grew to be the 10th largest ISP after a successful IPO (Acquired by Earthlink). Formerly, Dolan held executive roles at Disney, Hearst, IBM, and Oracle. She is a member of Forbes Technology Council and the Vice Chair and former Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum in New York, where she hosted several blockchain and fintech events with industry leaders. The award-winning student competition she founded, Dream it. Code it. Win it., was the subject of her TEDx Talk, Just Solve It. She earned a Master’s Degree from the MIT Media Lab and holds a Master of Computer Science and Bachelors of Electrical Engineering with concentrations in Computer Science, Data Communications and Business.

Dolan began her presentation with an introduction to Bitcoin and BlockChain. As noted on its website, Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. There is a perception that Bitcoin is bad and BlockChain is good, but Dolan explained that such perceptions are actually unwarranted. She noted that trust levels have decreased for financial services in recent times and it therefore takes longer to do business.

Dolan mentioned that she would be speaking in Athens, Greece in one week and they asked her not to talk about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies when she talks about BlockChain, but she said, you can’t talk about BlockChain without Bitcoin. It is the next generation technology, spread all over the world, and relies on miners who earn Bitcoins and add records of transactions so everyone has a copy of the record. BlockChain enables trust since everyone has the same copy, Dolan said, adding that you can’t go to a central place and make changes where the information is stored. This enables business to be carried out faster. Creating digital currencies is not a new idea, Dolan observed, noting the early attempt in 1982, but the technology of the time, computers with floppy disks, made it difficult to implement.

HABA director Costas Kellas. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
The reception before the HABA discussion on Bitcoin and BlockChain. Photo by Eleni Sakellis