Rise of Crypto Currency: Crypto, Blockchain, NFTs and Beyond

Cryptocurrency, also known as crypto, is a digital currency that allows one to purchase goods and services.  Crypto is seen as the currency of the future.  Unlike traditional financial systems, crypto uses blockchain technology that manages and records transactions in a distributed ledger.

Blockchain technologies go far beyond crypto.  With its ability to create more transparency and security in enabling and recording transactions, blockchain is impacting various sectors in ways that range from minting NFTs representing original works of art to allowing government to work more efficiently.  NFTs are non-fungible tokens that attest to ownership of goods cryptographically on a blockchain.  NFTs can represent anything, and whether it's a piece of art or a song. The NFT market exploded in 2021, and the tangible real-world use-cases of NFTs are just starting to be explored.

This event brought together a panel of blockchain and crypto enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and patent counsel to discuss the future of crypto and blockchain.

Check out our YouTube Channel for a recording of the panel discussion and Save the Date for another event on this subject in June 2022.


Justin McKennon

Principal Scientist, Electro Magnetic Applications
Co-Owner and CEO, CoinBusters.io

Justin is an electrical engineer and scientist. He has spent the majority of his working on electromagnetics problems related to aerospace platforms and space radiation effects on space-borne vehicles and materials. Justin attended the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth for his graduate and undergraduate studies in electrical engineering. Justin has been keenly interested in the applications of blockchain technology, with a particular emphasis on the cryptocurrency ecosystem since 2015. His website, CoinBusters.io, serves as a hub for research and best practices within the cryptocurrency space, aiming to reduce the barriers to entry and increase cryptocurrency adoption across the masses.

Dave Nadig

Chief Investment Officer & Director of Research at ETF Database

Dave Nadig is the Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research of ETF Trends (ETFTrends.com) and ETF Database (ETFdb.com). Dave has over 25 years in the investment management and ETF business, having served as the CEO of ETF.com, Director of Exchange Traded Funds at FactSet Research Systems, and Managing Director & Chief Strategy Officer of Barclays Global Investors.  You can follow Dave in his column at ETFTrends.com, his frequent CNBC appearances, or you can read his book, "A Comprehensive Guide to Exchange Traded Funds" which was published by the CFA Institute.

Chetan (Chet) Manikantan

Chetan (Chet) Manikantan is a software engineer, blockchain expert, and a serial entrepreneur. Chet currently serves as the founder and CEO of an NYU Grant-funded startup, "StonkLeague" - a crypto-gaming platform. He also serves as Venture Partner at Companyon Ventures and as a mentor, judge, and advisor to several companies, independent and university accelerators. Prior to this, Chet co-founded a Crypto / Fintech venture, Tengu, which was acquired in 2018 by FutureFuel. where he served as their CTO.  Chetan also served as the Director of the MIT Bitcoin Club and ran the 2018 MIT Bitcoin conference and as the Global Entrepreneur in Residence at UMass, Boston. In this role, he provided teaching assistance to professors, and lectures, mentorship, and guidance to the students of various disciplines. He also functioned as UMass VDC entrepreneurship ambassador.  Chetan obtained his electronics engineering degree from BIT India.

Giovanna Fessenden

Counsel, Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds

Giovanna is a computer scientist, intellectual property attorney, and blockchain specialist with 18 years of experience advising high tech companies and startups in all areas of intellectual property law with an emphasis on the blockchain, NFTs, eSports, wearables, open source software license compliance, software-related agreements, patents, and trademark branding.


Ben Sosne

Executive Director, Berkshire Innovation Center

Ben Sosne is the Executive Director of the Berkshire Innovation Center, which opened its new state-of-the-art facility in February 2020.  The BIC serves as a catalyst to spark innovation and sustainable growth of technology-enabled companies, start-ups, and advanced manufacturers.  Ben is a Berkshire County native and a graduate of Monument Mountain Regional High School.  He earned a BA from Columbia College in 2002 and a JD from Pace University School of Law in 2009, where he focused on renewable energy and climate change law.  He has been focused on regional economic development since returning to the Berkshires in 2015.  Prior to that, he spent seven years as a Principal Court Attorney for the Appellate Division, Second Department, in Brooklyn.

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