Stefano Balietti Scholar Profile

"Blockchain by itself isn't transformational, however it is foundational." (Tom Golway)

"What the inventive genius of mankind has bestowed upon us in the last hundred years could have made human life care free and happy if the development of the organizing power of man had been able to keep step with his technical advances. As it is, the hardly bought achievements of the machine age in the hands of our generation are as dangerous as a razor in the hands of a three-year-old child." (Albert Einstein)

Blockhain Economics and Radical Markets

This seminar is composed of two interlocking parts:

  1. Students will learn about the blockchain technology, what it is and what new economic and governance possibilities is enabling for individuals, firms, organizations and national states.
  2. Students will learn about the novel, critical solutions to "radically" redesign our socio-economic systems introduced in the book by Eric Posner and Glen Weyl, Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, and evolved into the RadicalXchange social movement.

The goal of this seminar is to creatively combine insights from both parts to generate innovative solutions to address some of the shortcomings of current socio-economic systems. Students are required to submit a mid-term presentation and a final presentation, plus a final project in one of the formats described in this document.

Blockchain Economics

The blockchain is a global technology which aims to revolutionize several areas of society by extending its tenets of decentralization, transparency, and verifiability to domains in which it was previously impossible or impractical. The blockchain popularity is often associated and confused with that of Bitcoin, however Bitcoin is just its oldest application, alongside many other promising ones. For instance, the blockchain technology can enormously reduce frictional costs of financial services, eliminating the "middle-man" costs and allowing seemingly instantaneous payments across the globe just for fractional fees. The blockchain technology can also improve the trust in and the efficiency of supply chain systems by allowing anyone to trace each product to its source, simply by looking up the records in a distributed digital ledger. The blockchain technology can also be used to create solid digital economies in gaming environments, where collectibles and other digital assets can be reliably owned, sold, and exchanged. Notwithstanding the rapidly evolving ecosystem of new applications, many commentators have described the blockchain as a "solution in search of a problem." This seminar invites students to boldly fill this gap, by thinking at the blockchain technology at its maximum level of abstraction: as a tool to create, test and validate economic and governance designs.

Topics: Blockchain Technology, Different Blockchains, Consensus Mechanisms, Cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi), NFTs and the Metaverse, Tokenization, Governance, Privacy.

Radical Markets

The book "Radical Markets" by Posner and Weyl argues that wealthy countries face a triple social crisis of rising inequality, economic stagnation, and failing political legitimacy. This crisis results from a failure of ideas and it proposes a new set of policies labeled "Radical Markets" that are at once more free market than the right and more egalitarian than the left to reunite the classic liberal coalition. Radical Markets argues that expanding the scope of markets is the only way to reduce inequality, restore robust economic growth, and resolve political conflicts. The final aim of the book is to show how the emancipatory force of genuinely open, free, and competitive markets can reawaken the dormant nineteenth-century spirit of liberal reform and lead to greater equality, prosperity, and cooperation. This seminar invites students to embrace the bold and radical vision put forward in this book to daringly develop new solutions to socio-economic problems, as well as to criticize and improve upon the solutions proposed by Posner and Weyl.

Topics: Private Property, Auctions, Quadratic Voting, Immigration Sponsorships, Antitrust Laws, Data Labor and Dignity.

Intro: Inequality, Market Power, Internet

This is the glue between the two following parts.

Market Power
Internet: Censorship, Data Ownwership, Leaks Solution-Oriented Social Science

Blockchain Economics

Most of the references in this category will not be academic publications. In fact, blokchain is a bleeding-edge technology and the academic research (specially social and economic reserch) has just started.

Please consider non peer-reviewed resources as informational and inspirational, but always keep a critical eye on its content (as you should do for academic articles).

Some of the non-academic reference might contain referrals or advertisements for commercial products. I do not endorse any product/service nor I receive financial gains from those links.

Blockchain Technology (2021) Crypto Wallets (2021) Crypto Finance Blockchain Economics Overview Blockchain Real-World Use Cases (2021) Energy, Smart Grids, Blockchain Tokenization Cryptocurrencies Intro CBDC: Central Bank Digital Currencies Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto and Bitcoin History Bitcoin Monetary Policy and The Cantillon Effect
Ethereum Governance (2021) Social Tokens (2021) NTFs: Non-Fungible Tokens DeFi Web 3 (2021) Cross-chain Protocols (2021) Scams, Bankruptcies, Hacks, etc. Tech Resources

Radical Markets

The main reference for this part is the book "Radical Markets" by Eric Posner and Glen Weyl.

The Radical Markets book spurred a social movement around the world called RadicalXchange. Its web site is incredibly rich of resources.

Last year RadicalXchange 2020 Virtual Conference contains the recordings of all main sessions.

The most up to date collection of students resources is the Rxc Students Reading List. Currently down.

If you have read all the Blockchain material, and feel like code is law right now, maybe you should start with the article "Why I Am not a Technocrat" by Glen Weyl.

Given the breadth of the topic, I have selected below some content for each of the main chapters of the book, which I believe are the most relevant and accessible, plus added a few extra resources and links.

Against Monopoly: Common Ownership Self-Assessed Tax (COST) Quadratic Voting Institutional Investors / Antitrust Immigration: Visas Between Individuals Program (VIP) Data Dignity Radical Markets 2.0 Critiques to Radical Markets More on Market Design

Selected Students Reports

Summer Semester 2021

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