The Blockchain for Impact Workshop is a half-day event that explores the potential of blockchain technology to promote positive social change in three domains: International Development, Public Goods, and Regenerative Economy.

The workshop offers a unique opportunity for academics, researchers, and practitioners to critically explore the most promising approaches for using decentralized technologies and blockchain to promote positive social impact. Through a combination of presentations and interactive sessions, attendees will engage in rigorous debate and analysis of the opportunities and challenges of blockchain technology, including discussions of the technical, economic, and social implications.

The event is hosted by Harvard Belfer Center’s Technology and Public Purpose Project. For event inquiries, please reach out to Helena Rong at

The Technology and Public Purpose Project would like to thank Polygon Labs and Impact Plus for their help coordinating the workshop.

Event Host

I. International Development Panel Session 

Eduard Peris i Deprez, PhD, CEO and Founder of Impact Plus

Eduard Peris i Deprez is the CEO and Founder of Impact Plus, a social enterprise that builds bridges between blockchain technologies and the international development & humanitarian space. Impact Plus is proud to support the implementation of Polygon Lab's social impact strategy. Impact Plus supports activities in Brazil, Kenya, Mexico and Nigeria. Eduard is also the founder of The GeoAnalytics Center, a tech-for-good NGO based in Niger. He previously supported the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on a police reform program across the Sahel and served as the Niger Country Director for USAID's flagship countering violent extremism program in the Sahel. Eduard has experience working on human security-related projects in the wider Sahel region, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Eduard's development expertise is backed by six years of experience in export trade finance. He holds a Master's Degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a PhD from the War Studies Department at King's College London.

Ian Vickers, Senior Program Officer, Results for Development

Ian has over ten years experience working on technology and innovation projects in the international development and public sectors. Currently, Ian works on the Frontier Technologies program as both the Evidence Lead and an Innovation Coach. The program works with FCDO staff and global partners to understand the potential for innovative tech in the development context. To date it has conducted 58 pilots in 32 different countries. Prior to joining R4D, Ian helped deliver digital products and services for the UK Department for Education and Ministry of Justice.

Stan Byers, USAID Cybersecurity Team Lead

Stan Byers founded and leads USAID’s first Cybersecurity Team, helping the Agency build awareness and capacity to respond to current and future cybersecurity risks related to development. Past experience includes: Senior Advisor at the Institute for Security and Technology and an International Security Fellow at New America, Former Director on National Security Council for Afghanistan/Pakistan, Ernst & Young’s Cyber Economics team, focus on the geopolitical and economic aspects of cybersecurity, TED Talk on Tech and Development. 

Karam Alhamad, Ethereum Foundation Fellow

Karam Alhamad is an Ethereum Fellow, international development practitioner, and entrepreneur focused on blockchain for social impact. With over nine years of experience in international development and a deep understanding of the Middle East, he has managed numerous projects in Syria. In 2020, Karam began working on a decentralized multilingual crypto and blockchain education and media platform for the MENA region, exploring the potential of blockchain technology to address challenges and inefficiencies in humanitarian aid and international development sectors.

Isha Varshney, Head of DeFi at the Celo Foundation

Isha Varshney is the Head of DeFi at the Celo Foundation where she supports the ecosystem’s decentralized finance initiatives and protocols. Her expertise is on decentralized finance, digital currency and the intersection of technology and economic and social inequality. She also supports global pilots that develop use cases for Web 3 applications that  reimagine financial infrastructure in emerging markets to increase financial inclusion. Prior to Celo, Isha co-founded a fintech company and has extensive experience working in tech startups and financial consulting, having spent the past decade across Asia, Africa and Europe. Isha graduated with an MBA from Said Business School, Oxford and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. She received a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Delhi.

II. Public Goods Panel Session 

Helena Rong, TAPP Fellow at Harvard Belfer Center, PhD Candidate at Columbia

Helena Rong is an interdisciplinary designer, technologist, and urbanist. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Planning at Columbia University and a Technology and Public Purpose Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, whose research focuses on the use of emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain for the design and governance of the built environment. She received her Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism from MIT and her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. Rong is the founder of CIVIS Design and Advisory, a design and research practice based in Boston and Shanghai that engages in multi-scalar and interdisciplinary architectural and urban projects. Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture, World Real Estate Forum, Future of Architecture Platform, among others.

Scott Moore, Co-Founder of Gitcoin

Scott Moore is a co-founder of Gitcoin, an internet-native community for building and funding digital public goods. He's also a steward at a variety of related DAOs including ENS, Gnosis Safe, and Optimism. Beyond public goods, some of his current research interests include collective sensemaking, equitable governance, and subculture development.

Hideki Okada, Whole Earth Foundation Ltd. CMO, Global of Tekkon 

Hideki Okada has held C-level roles at multiple international corporations and specialized in expanding into emerging markets, and M&A post integration mergers. Currently CEO of Fracta, worked at Sony in charge of the emerging marketing and other TSE listed companies. Graduated from Keio University, Faculty of Law. He has lived in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, India & Singapore and speaks English, Japanese and Spanish.

Renée Barton, Manager of Impact Research at Crypto Council for Innovation

Renée Barton is passionate about connecting research to the design of policies, programs, and places that equitably leverage, distribute, and create access for all to the benefits of technology. As Manager of Impact Research at the Crypto Council for Innovation (CCI), Renée leads research to provide evidence-based insights on the real-world value of crypto on people and communities’ lives, to shape inclusive policy that fosters innovation and grows access to a new ecosystem of tools and services. As a project lead at the Crypto Research & Design Lab, Renée led primary ethnographic research to help organizations and policymakers understand why people are turning to crypto

III. Regenerative Economy Panel Session 

Elena Jin, MBA Candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management

Elena Jin is an MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management—cross-registered at Harvard Business School, pursuing the Finance Track and Business Analytics Certificate. She is also a Technology and Public Purpose Project researcher at the Harvard Belfer Center, focusing on web3/blockchain. After graduation, Elena will join Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division in New York City, assisting Financial Institution clients—including financial technology companies—in M&A advisory and equity and debt financing. Before MIT, for over five years, she held various positions in Global Markets Sales at Barclays Investment Bank in London, responsible for serving institutional clients.

Wyatt Khosrowshahi, Investor at Shima Capital 

Wyatt Khosrowshahi is an investor at Shima Capital bringing past experience investing both natively in crypto and traditional finance. At Shima, he focuses on real world assets, regenerative finance (refi), consumer, and fintech. Before joining Shima in 2021, Wyatt worked for the digital assets team at Matrix Capital in Boston, following multiple stints in traditional equity investing at Foxhaven Asset Management, Durable Capital Partners, and Fortress Investment Group. He is a graduate of Williams College.

Matthew Keller, Director of Impact and Inclusion at the Algorand Foundation

Matt Keller directs the Impact and Inclusion vertical for the Algorand Foundation. In that capacity, Matt leads the design and development of strategies to increase the use of the Algorand Blockchain to achieve financial inclusion, social impact, and environmental sustainability. In previous lives, Matt was a lobbyist on Capitol Hill to advance the cause of campaign finance and voting rights reform in the United States; Executive Director of the $15 Million Global Learning XPRIZE sponsored by Elon Musk; Vice President at One Laptop per Child; Legal Counsel for the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, Italy; Legislative Aide to a United States Senator; Legal Aid attorney for migrant farmworkers in Arizona; and a Jesuit Volunteer in Portland, Maine.

Naveen Arunachalam, PhD, Independent Consultant at NTA Capital 

Naveen is an independent consultant performing due diligence and technology assessment for early-stage VC firms in the areas of Web3 and machine learning. He received his PhD in machine learning from MIT in April 2023, and was lead developer of Ethereum's machine learning library for Solidity, SolMATe. He is coauthor of the MIT Center for Real Estate working paper, "The Emperor’s New Clothes or the Next Big Thing? Web3 in Real Estate Decarbonization" - where he and his coauthors analyzed the business model landscape of 300+ Web3 decarbonization startups and assessed the regulatory and technical factors that determine their viability.

Ariel Scaliter, Co-Founder and CTO of Agrotoken

Ariel Scaliter is an Electronic and Telecommunications Engineer from the University of Buenos Aires. MBA UCEMA University. Director of the Blockchain and Cryptoeconomics Area of UCEMA University. Co-Founder and CTO of Agrotoken (Commodities tokenization), Blockchain Advisor Director of TravelX (airline tickets tokenization), BAG (Blockchain Art Gallery) and IOF Company (IoT tokenization). Technological Consultant, specialist and author of numerous papers in various areas linked to smart cities, digital video, blockchain and technology-based business models.

IV. Presentation with Q&A: Web3 as a Digital Public Good in Taiwan

mashbean (Yen-Lin Huang) Web3 System Architect, Ministry of Digital Affairs Taiwan

Mashbean is a medical doctor turned web3 architect, currently working at the Ministry of Digital Affairs in Taiwan. He is both a researcher and practitioner of DAO in the public and third sectors. Notably, he curated "Project %" for FABDAO and participated in the 2022 Ars Electronica Festival. With a deep appreciation for the spirit of Plurality, he is dedicated to finding a unique approach that deviates from the synthetic technocracy and corporate libertarianism.

V. Collaborative Futures Panel Session 

Colin Gounden, CEO of VIA 

As VIA’s CEO, Colin Gounden leads VIA’s technology roadmap into Web3. This includes the development of VIA’s blockchain in 2017 and the commercial application of zero-knowledge proofs in 2022. VIA is a climate solutions provider on a mission to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. After co-founding VIA, Colin secured several of the world’s leading energy and mobility companies and the U.S. Department of Defense as customers. Colin began his career with IBM in Europe, the U.S., and Mexico, before co-founding a technology services firm that he grew and sold for $98M in 1999. In the early 2000s, he was a partner and elected board director at a top-five global strategy consulting and $2Bn private equity firm.  In 2006, Colin founded Grail Research, where, as CEO, he grew the company to a global analytics firm serving sophisticated companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Colin sold Grail and became the president of the acquiring company overseeing 2,000 people across 18 locations. From 2012 to 2016, Colin was the first investor and co-founder of three MIT spinouts and one Harvard spinout, two of which became profitable in their first year of operations. Colin graduated from Harvard University and is a co-inventor of multiple VIA patents.

Professor Ramesh Raskar, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT 

Ramesh Raskar is an Associate Professor at MIT Media Lab and directs the Camera Culture research group. His focus is on Machine Learning and Imaging for health and sustainability. They span research in physical (e.g., sensors, health-tech), digital (e.g., automated and privacy-aware machine learning) and global (e.g., geomaps, autonomous mobility) domains. At MIT, his co-inventions include camera to see around corners, femto-photography, automated machine learning (auto-ML), private ML (split-learning), low-cost eye care devices (Netra,Catra, EyeSelfie), a novel CAT-Scan machine, motion capture (Prakash), long distance barcodes (Bokode), 3D interaction displays (BiDi screen),  new theoretical models to augment light fields (ALF) to represent wave phenomena and algebraic rank constraints for 3D displays(HR3D).

Jared A. Favole, Senior Director, Policy & Communications at Circle 

Jared A. Favole works on public policy and communications issues for Circle, a global fintech company and the sole issuer of the digital dollar USDC. He has almost two decades of experience distilling complex information to help media, policymakers, and the public make decisions. He was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and twin daughters. 

Cara LaPointe, PhD, Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy

A futurist who focuses on the intersection of technology, policy, ethics, and leadership, Dr. Cara LaPointe is the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy, which works to ensure that autonomous systems are safe, secure, and trustworthy as they are increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives. LaPointe was previously a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation, where she created the “Blockchain Ethical Design Framework” as a tool to drive social impact and ethics into blockchain technology. She has served as an advisor to numerous global emerging technology initiatives, including at the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. LaPointe is a patented engineer, a White House Fellow, and a French American Foundation Young Leader. She served in the White House under three administrations, most recently as a Senior Advisor. She currently serves as a member of the Presidential Commission on White House Fellowships. During more than two decades in the United States Navy, LaPointe held numerous roles in areas including autonomous systems, acquisitions, ship design, naval force architecture, and unmanned vehicle technology integration. At Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Deep Submergence Lab, she conducted research in underwater robotics, developing sensor fusion algorithms for deep-ocean autonomous underwater vehicle navigation. LaPointe holds a Doctor of Philosophy, awarded jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and WHOI, a Master of Science and a Naval Engineer degree from MIT, a Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and a Bachelor of Science from the United States Naval Academy.



8:00-9:00 (60min)

Check-In, Breakfast 

9:00-9:10 (10min)

Introduction (TAPP, Polygon Founder)

9:10-9:55 (45min)

International Development Panel Session

Eduard Peris i Deprez PhD, Founder and CEO at Impact Plus

Ian Vickers Results for Development Senior Program Officer 

Stan Byers USAID Cybersecurity Team Lead

Karam Alhamad Ethereum Foundation Fellow

Isha Varshnay Head of DeFi at Celo Foundation

Dialogue with attendees (20 min)

9:55-10:40 (45min)

Public Goods Panel Session

Helena Rong Harvard Belfer Center TAPP Fellow, Columbia PhD candidate

Scott Moore Co-founder and CTO of Gitcoin 

Hideki Okada CMO of Tekkon 

Renee Barton Manager of Impact Research at Crypto Council for Innovation

Dialogue with attendees (20 min)

10:40-11:10 (30min)


11:10-11:55 (45min)

Regenerative Economy Panel Session

Elena Jin MBA Candidate at MIT

Wyatt Khosrowshahi Investor at Shima Capital

Matthew Keller Director of Impact and Inclusion at the Algorand Foundation

Naveen Arunachalam PhD, Independent Consultant at NTA Capital

Ariel Scaliter Co-Founder and CTO of Agrotoken

Dialogue with attendees (20 min)

11:55-12:15 (20min)

Presentation with Q&A: Web3 as a Digital Public Good in Taiwan

mashbean (Yen-Lin Huang) Web3 System Architect, Ministry of Digital Affairs Taiwan

12:15-1:00 (45min)

Collaborative Futures Panel Session

Colin Gounden CEO of VIA

Ramesh Raskar MIT Media Lab Associate Professor

Jared Favole Senior Director, Communications and Policy at Circle 

Cara LaPointe PhD, Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy

Dialogue with attendees (20 min)

1:00 - 1:15

Concluding remarks - Lunch is served