Finance, computing experts at DePaul University available to comment on fintech, cryptocurrency

Portrait of Massimo Di Pierro and Lamont Black
Massimo Di Pierro, professor of data analysis and scientific computing in the College of Computing and Digital Media, left, and Lamont Black, assistant professor of finance in Driehaus College of Business, teach cryptocurrency from the perspective of finance and encryption. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
​CHICAGO — Cryptocurrency grabbed mainstream America's attention when bitcoin, the first and most widely recognized cryptocurrency, peaked at nearly $18,000 in December. DePaul University has faculty experts who can talk about financial technology (fintech), cryptocurrencies and how growing interest in both areas have influenced what they teach. Experts include:

Lamont Black, Assistant Professor of Finance, Driehaus College of Business. Black is a former economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., who researches banking, corporate finance and macroeconomics. Cryptocurrency is a subject matter interwoven into his finance classes.

"Cryptocurrency is now a core topic that I teach on the role of money in financial markets," Black said. "There is an entire session on bitcoin in my money and banking class for undergraduates and in the money and capital markets class for graduate students. This includes a discussion of the bitcoin futures contracts listed here in Chicago. Each quarter, there is a larger portion of students working on cryptocurrency for their term projects. There is a discussion about creating a stand-alone course that would cover fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency."

Black understands there is skepticism about the viability and longevity of cryptocurrency, but it's not a financial asset for everyday investors.

"It's for high net worth individuals who are looking for alternative asset investments," he said.

Black can be reached at lblack6@depaul.edu or 312-362-5617.

Massimo Di Pierro, Professor of High Performance and Scientific Computing, College of Computing and Digital Media. Di Pierro researches numerical algorithms for scientific and financial applications. "All of my classes are related to fintech in a broad sense," he said. "I have an assignment on how to use machine learning to try to predict ether (cryptocurrency) prices."

Di Pierro is uncertain about cryptocurrency stability.

"They are highly volatile and most cryptocurrencies are concentrated in the hands of a few players and in a few countries," he said. "Where I see real value is in the underlying technology. That has an increasing role to play in our society since it provides a system for establishing trust in a distributed environment. Most of the technology is just a rebranding of known security algorithms, but that's OK."

He can be reached at Massimo.DiPierro@depaul.edu or 312-362-5173.

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Media Contact:
Lorene Yue
Lyue3@depaul.edu
312-362-7788