Nobel Laureate Oliver Hart to Advise Blockchain Startup

Blockchain economics startup Prysm Group has added Nobel Laureate Oliver Hart and former Microsoft chief economist Preston McAfee as senior advisors.

AccessTimeIconAug 1, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:14 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Blockchain economics and governance design startup Prysm Group has added Nobel Prize laureate Oliver Hart and former Microsoft chief economist Preston McAfee to its senior advisory board.

Prysm assists blockchain startups by providing "counsel in the complex economic fields of contract theory, market design, game theory and social choice. McAfee told CoinDesk that he was "excited" to join the group, adding that "blockchain enables a variety of new business models by permitting decentralization and publication of digital records."

Moreover, "there is no other mechanism that simultaneously provides decentralization, secure privacy and verifiability," he said.

McAfee added:

"Many blockchain applications involve creating economic systems [or] groups of agents who interact in multiple ways, with distinct roles. The challenge in designing such systems is that they have many interacting parts — various incentives, policing, contract rules, information provision, prices — that need to be simultaneously optimized if good performance is to be achieved."

In a statement, Hart echoed McAfee's words, saying it was "important" for the founders of blockchain startups to "understand the possible complications" that can come from creating code to replace traditional institutions and power structures, "so that they can design better systems that are more likely to accomplish their objectives."

He told CoinDesk that he was "intrigued" by the ways blockchain technology could allow developers to "design better incentives and contracts."

"Prysm Group is dedicated to the idea that economic principles provide a powerful tool for understanding the issues and I am excited by the prospect of working with them," he added.

Hart's statement suggests that there will be some parallels between the project and his past work. Hart and Finnish economist Bengt Holmström won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2016 for their work on contract theory.

Oliver Hart image via Bengt Nyman / Wikimedia Commons

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.