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New York-based blockchain startup adds Nobel Laureate Oliver Hart and former Microsoft chief economist Dr. Preston McAfee as Senior Advisors

Thu, 02 Aug 2018, 11:21 am UTC

Prysm Group, a blockchain economics and governance design firm led by PhD-level economists, has appointed two renowned economists to its recently launched Board of Senior Advisors.

Harvard Professor Oliver Hart and Dr. Preston McAfee, former chief economist at Microsoft, are joining the firm as senior advisors.

Founded in 2017, New York-based Prysm Group is led by Harvard-trained, PhD-level economists Dr. Cathy Barrera and Dr. Stephanie Hurder. The company provides blockchain organizations with counsel in the complex economic fields of contract theory, market design, game theory, and social choice.

“Through client engagements as well as our educational and research initiatives, we aim to set the standards by which the economic structures of decentralized digital systems are designed. The launch of our Board of Senior Advisors and the participation of economists of this calibre will accelerate Prysm Group toward that goal,” Dr. Barrera said.

Prof. Hart, currently the Andrew E. Furer Professor of Economics at Harvard University, was awarded the 2016 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on contract theory and his fundamental contributions to the theory of incomplete contracts. He said that it is extremely important for those who are creating blockchain-based platforms to understand the possible complications that can arise from “the issues of property rights and contractual incompleteness.”

Dr. McAfee served as the Chief Economist at Microsoft from 2014 until earlier this year, and previously led research teams at Google and at Yahoo!, where he was also Chief Economist from 2007 to 2012. He won the prestigious Golden Goose Award in 2014 for his research on auction design, and has dedicated much of his career to exploring the intersection of microeconomics and computer science.

"Blockchain technology provides the opportunity for significant innovations in decentralized exchanges. In order for such platforms to deliver on their potential, the founders must ensure that all the various governing systems — such as contract enforcement, dispute resolution, policing, infrastructure, education, property rights, medium of exchange, taxes, and subsidies — are aligned and yield the intended incentives,” Dr. McAfee said.

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