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New gift supports cryptoeconomics research and teaching at Ivey

  • Declan Kelly
  • |
  • Feb 5, 2019
New gift supports cryptoeconomics research and teaching at Ivey

Ryan Zurrer, left, in conversation with Associate Professor J.P. Vergne.

When it comes to ranking Canadian innovations in order of importance, Ryan Zurrer, HBA ’06, places one achievement ahead of many other, more familiar candidates: Cryptoeconomics.

The emerging field of cryptoeconomics brings together the fields of cryptography, behavioural economics, game theory, and computer science. It examines the behaviours and resources contributed on open peer-to-peer (P2P) networks by a decentralized group of actors driven through digital incentivization, often referred to as "tokens."

Zurrer’s goal is to propel Ivey to a leadership position in this area, with a generous gift of $405,000 to establish the Cryptoeconomics Lab at Ivey Business School. The gift will enable the School to become a thought leader in innovative research, teaching and outreach around cryptoeconomics, under the direction of Associate Professor Jean-Philippe (J.P.) Vergne.

"Ryan’s gift reflects Ivey’s commitment to anticipating the seismic technological and social disruptions this area of study means for business and broader society," said Acting Dean Mark Vandenbosch. "Establishing Ivey as a leader in these emerging fields of research and teaching ensures that our graduates will continue to thrive in a disrupted environment, while creating new resources that will benefit business leaders across all sectors."

This work also integrates well with Ivey’s clear leadership in Fintech and the digital economy through the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab. These complementary fields of study will enable the cross-pollination of ideas, research and learning between the Digital Banking Lab and the Cryptoeconomics Lab that will enhance the output and reach of both, further positioning Ivey as a leader in these emerging fields.

Making the gift a reality

Ivey’s first-of-its-kind gift in this area will enable the School to recruit a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Cryptoeconomics, and provide funding for innovative research and the creation of new teaching material, over a three-year term.

“The emergence of cryptoeconomics and blockchain 2.0 started right here in Toronto, and we should be very proud of that as Canadians,” Zurrer said when he spoke at an Ivey event in June 2018.

Zurrer is Director and Board Member at the Web3 Foundation and is invested in a broad array of crypto-assets and blockchain startups.