Blockchain technology is intersecting with liberal arts thinking strategies thanks to Pedro Miranda ’19.5 and the college’s new Blockchain Club. Miranda, the founder and president, was inspired to create the club after working at blockchain consulting firm ConsenSys this past summer and wanted to bring his experiences back to the college in an innovative way.
“Blockchain technology refers to a particular way in which data is stored, transferred and secured,” said Michael Borenstein ’19, a club member. “A blockchain is a decentralized database where everyone has a copy of the database itself and is responsible for keeping it up to date and verifying new entries to the database.
“I realized that I had an advantage being a liberal arts student. I had more problem-solving capabilities, more holistic methods,” Miranda said. “I wanted to bring my experience back to campus.”
Miranda’s goal is to prove that there is value in the interaction between liberal arts, blockchain and other technology. In this respect, the first two meetings of the club have been successful — roughly 40 percent of attendees came from a computer science background, another 40 percent from economics, and the remaining 20 percent from a variety of majors, including political science, philosophy and mathematics. One of the club’s goals is to reach people with technical and non-technical backgrounds.
At the meetings, students engage in blockchain news updates, lessons in the technology and facilitated discussions.
The club also engages with the Middlebury Investment Committee, who came to a meeting to speak about cryptocurrency. Connor O’Day ’17, who works at ConsenSys, will be speaking at the club on Nov. 7.
“I want to prove that it is worth talking about technology in a liberal arts environment,” Miranda said. “What makes us so unique is that we’re able to address a very technical concept in a holistic and broad manner.”
Other club executives include Vice President Chris Amata ’20 and board members Michael Borenstein ’19, Alex Baskin ’19, Youssef Halim ’20.5 and David Valentin ’19. The Middlebury Blockchain Club meets on Wednesdays on a bi-weekly basis, in Bicentennial Hall room 220.