Townsend Delivers AFA Distinguished Keynote Lecture

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Professor Robert M. Townsend presented the American Finance Association’s Distinguished Lecture on January 4, 2020 at their annual meeting in San Diego, CA. Townsend, who was introduced by Program Chair Kenneth Singleton (University of Chicago), spoke on “Distributed Ledgers: Design and Regulation of Financial Infrastructure and Payment Systems.”

Townsend thanked the AFA for the lecture opportunity, citing it as a great chance to share “what I’ve been thinking about rather intensively over the last couple of years.” Townsend’s lecture focused on the role emerging distributed ledger technology plays in the global financial system and seeks to align the economic and financial underpinnings with the computer science ones driving the cryptocurrency fields. “I could have put ‘Bitcoin’ on the title or maybe ‘blockchain,’” observed Townsend, but he felt that doing so could be intellectually misleading. “Distributed ledgers are at the root, they came first.”

The video of the lecture can be watched here.