Digital Currencies in Development: A Conversation about Bitcoin – s Real-World Applications, TechChange, The Institute for Technology and Social Switch

Digital Currencies in Development: A Conversation about Bitcoin’s Real-World Applications


Digital Currency Council

The Digital Currency Council is the leading executive association in the digital currency industry. We provide training, software, certification and an experienced network of peers and clients in the digital currency economy. Interested professionals may join the Digital Currency Council at

Sarah Martin is the Vice President of the Digital Currency Council, the leading professional organization for executives in the digital currency industry. Previously, she worked for the US Department of Defense, United Nations (UN), and US Agency for International Development (USAID). She graduated spunk laude from Cornell University and holds an MA in international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Fereshteh Forough

Code to Inspire

Code to Inspire is a 501c3 filed non-profit that is committed to educating female students in Afghanistan and improving their technical literacy by training them how to code so that they can find future employment as a freelancer and get involved in entrepreneurship and technological innovations.

Fereshteh is an advocate of using bitcoin and the very first to formally promote its use in Afghanistan, where she was born. Code to Inspire serves as a launchpad for females in Afghanistan to get involved in entrepreneurship and technological innovation. Fereshteh is also a founding member of Women’s Annex Foundation. Previously, she was a professor in the computer science faculty of Herat University.

Connie Gallippi

BitGive is the very first Bitcoin 501(c)(Trio) nonprofit, providing it tax exemption status at the federal level in the United States. The vision of the organization is to benefit charitable causes worldwide, providing a platform for the Bitcoin community to give back with an organized and professional representation. BitGive has built partnerships and raised funds with large nonprofits including Save the Children, The Water Project, TECHO, and Medic Mobile. BitGive recently announced its Bitcoin Charity Two.0 Initiative, which includes a multitude of projects aimed at leveraging Bitcoin and blockchain technology to benefit charitable organizations worldwide.

Ms. Gallippi is the Founder and Executive Director of the BitGive Foundation, which was established in mid-2013. Through her work with BitGive, Connie has built a positive philanthropic representative foundation for the Bitcoin industry, bridging the gap inbetween an innovative technology and its practical applications for nonprofits and humanitarian work in the developing world. Connie is a well-known industry spokesperson for the social influence of Bitcoin and advocating for more diversity and equal chance in the digital currency community. Prior to founding BitGive, Connie worked with environmental organizations in California for over fourteen years, specializing in consulting, strategy development, policy and advocacy, funding assistance, and program management. Most notably, her work included the development and implementation of multi-million dollar programs in public funding for the environmental sector. She remains involved as a Board Member for California Urban Forests Council.

Chelsea Barabas

The MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) brings together global experts in areas ranging from cryptography, to economics, to privacy, to distributed systems, to address key issues that digital currencies like bitcoin are poised to make on people’s lives in the next decade. Digital currencies suggest tremendous possibilities for growing the global economy and enabling developing nations to leapfrog the tech of developed nations. The DCI works across the MIT campus and collaborates with experts around the world to research the issues and challenges for this nascent technology.

Chelsea leads development of collaborations inbetween the MIT research community and other institutions to build blockchain applications that serve the public interest. Previously, she worked on civic technology and international development projects in Africa, South America and the Middle East with a multitude of organisations and research institutions including MIT’s Center for Civic Media and Nuru International.

Peter Kirby

The Factom Foundation is the very first usable blockchain technology to solve real-world business problems by providing an unalterable record-keeping system. By creating a data layer on top of the blockchain, Factom’s distributed ledger technology secures millions of real-time records in the blockchain with a single hash. Businesses and governments alike can use Factom to document their information so that it cannot be modified, deleted or backdated. Their technology decentralizes record keeping. Factom provides transparency, while at the same time maintaining user privacy. To learn more about the project, visit

Peter Kirby is the Chief Executive Officer of Factom, the very first usable blockchain technology to solve real world business problems by providing an unalterable record keeping system. A pioneer in his field, Peter works with leaders in financial services, government and law to address the most sophisticated data security issues around the globe.

A seasoned entrepreneur, Peter has spent the past fifteen years involved in numerous successful early-stage tech companies and possesses a deep skill of business development and community-based marketing in the technology sector. His ventures have ranged from neurological supplements and investment financing to commercial development and real estate. As a leader in the blockchain space, Peter has led multi-million dollar operations and was the driving force behind delivering major products to market.

Peter’s expertise in distributed ledger technology has made him a sought-after speaker across the world, where he has introduced at conferences including Inwards Bitcoins Singapore, Inwards Bitcoins Berlin and Bitcoin Amsterdam. Peter is also a trusted source for leading outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and numerous other industry trade publications. Peter earned his degree in biochemistry from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and later pursued his MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Acton School of Business in Austin, TX, where he graduated Summa Spunk Laude.

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