Future Money: The problem with cryptocurrencies

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 26 February


The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay


Free for Ri Patrons

Standard £16

Concession £10

Ri Members £7

About the event

On 22nd May 2010, software developer Laszlo Hanyecz swapped 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas, and the first documented purchase of real world goods with cryptocurrency was complete.

Nine years on from the first transaction and numerous peaks and troughs later, which cryptocurrencies have a future? Can currencies have real world applications without being backed by real assets? What are the legal and ethical implications of global digital currencies - do real world costs outweigh virtual benefits?

Join Alexander Lipton and Tatiana Cutts as they discuss the future of money for cryptocurrencies, central banks and society as a whole. 

About the speakers

Alexander Lipton is Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of Sila, Co-Founder of Distilled Analytics, Partner at Numeraire Financial, Connection Science Fellow at MIT, and Visiting Professor of Financial Engineering at EPFL. 

In 2016, Alex left Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served for ten years. In parallel, he held academic appointments at NYU, Oxford, and Imperial College. Previously, Alex was a Professor of mathematics at the University of Illinois.

Alex received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in pure mathematics from Moscow State University, and has published eight books, including, most recently, "Financial Engineering - Selected Works of Alexander Lipton”, and more than a hundred scientific papers. 


Tatiana Cutts is Assistant Professor of Law at the London School of Economics, working primarily within the context of modern monetary practices. She is particularly interested in monetary theory and digital commerce.

Tatiana Cutts

Prior to joining LSE, Tatiana was a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, and senior lecturer at the University of Oxford. Tatiana received her graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Oxford, and is an Academic Fellow of the Inner Temple. In 2016, Tatiana was awarded the Modern Law Review Wedderburn Prize for her article "Tracing, Value and Transactions".


The discussion will be chaired by Alex Hern, the Guardian's technology features writer, who covers the intersections of technology, politics and society. He has made his own cryptocurrency, covered three bitcoin booms, and first called it a "bubble" in 2013, when one coin was worth $33.  


More about Ri Patrons Present

'Ri Patrons present' events explore the intersection of science, culture, innovation and society with leading thinkers and decision makers. These events are supported by Ri Patrons, a group of philanthropically motivated individuals that help to ensure that people of all backgrounds can build a lifelong interaction with science.

After this event, there will be a private drinks reception for patrons. 


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Following the talk, a private drinks reception for Ri Patrons will start at 8.30pm. 

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email: events@ri.ac.uk.

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing events@ri.ac.uk.

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop.  

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