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Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money Panel discussion

Festival of Economics

Arnolfini  |  £10 / £8 / £5

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What is it, why should I care, and how can it help?

From Bitcoin to Ethereum and Litecoin to Tether, there are now over 4,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation. In economic theory, money is said to have three primary functions: a medium of exchange; a store of value; and a unit of account. So how does crypto fulfil these roles? And what does the continuing process of digitalisation of the world’s financial systems mean for the future of money?

Writer and tech critic Maria Farrell chairs a discussion with digital evangelist Dinis Guarda; John Turner and Will Quinn, authors of Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles; and Jillian C York, Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the author of Silicon Values.

In partnership with

Maria Farrell

Maria Farrell is a writer and speaker, and one of the Guardian’s 2021 ‘formidable female tech critics’. Her viral 2020 essay, The Prodigal Tech Bro, coined a new term to explain why we still lavish attention and resources on the men who created our technology dystopia. Farrell worked in tech policy for twenty years, including The World Bank, ICANN, the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, and The Law Society of England and Wales. She has written for the Guardian, the New EuropeanSlateMedium, the Irish Times and Irish Independent, and is working on a book about how we can use stories to imagine and build a tech future that includes and serves us all.

Dinis Guarda

Dinis Guarda is an author, academic, influencer, serial entrepreneur and leader in 4IR, AI, Fintech, digital transformation and Blockchain, with decades of experience in international business, holding executive-level positions within the space. Regularly featured among ‘the most influential(s) in tech, blockchain, fintech, metaverse and AI’ lists, he has had a prolific career in leading big businesses and advising corporations and building digital transformation, AR VR, business and fintech strategies and platforms. He has created a bank between Asia and Africa, and worked with the UN, Mastercard, Philips, Barclays, Hyperloop Transportation and many other global organisations and corporations. He advises governments and private corporations. He has been sharing his wealth of knowledge with young and budding talents at universities like Copenhagen Business School, Groupe INSEEC. He is the founder and CEO of techabc and the ztudium group. He is the author of a number of books, including 4IR, How Businesses and Governments Can Prosper with Fintech, Blockchain and AI? and Blockchain, AI and Crypto Economics.

John Turner

John Turner is Professor of Finance and Financial History at Queen’s University Belfast and is the founder of the Centre for Economic History and a co-founder of the Long Run Institute. He is the former Dean of Queen’s Management School. He has been a Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England and an Alfred Chandler Fellow at Harvard Business School. He is an editor at the Economic History Review and Economics Observatory. He has recently co-authored Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, which was listed as a Financial Times best economics book of the year in 2020.

William Quinn

Will Quinn is Senior Lecturer in Finance at Queen’s University Belfast, where he teaches modules on Financial Bubbles and Crises and FinTech. He is the co-author of Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, the Enlightened Economist Book of the Year for 2020.

Jillian York

Jillian C York is a writer and activist whose work examines the impact of technology on our societal and cultural values. Based in Berlin, she is the Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Human Rights at the European University Viadrina, and a visiting professor at the College of Europe Natolin. She is the author of Silicon Values.


Watch: From Our Archives

Jillian C York discusses her book Silicon Values with Maria Farell. This event is free to watch on Crowdcast.

Booking Information

Pay What You Feel

This event is part of our new ticket pricing structure where we ask people to pay what they feel they can afford in accordance with their means. Read more about it here. Read on for the ticket prices for this event.

One free carer ticket can be booked at the same time for a paying disabled visitor. If you need to book more than one, please contact us before booking to arrange.

Pay It Forward

The Pay It Forward option enables you to book a ticket above the standard price, and will help to subsidise a ticket for someone who requires the Pay What You Can option. This option is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and would like to help somebody else with the cost of their ticket.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and stable income and I have the means and desire to contribute towards making the event affordable for others and supporting Bristol Ideas.


This recommended price is based on what we’d traditionally charge for a similar event. It helps us make sure that basic costs are covered. This price is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and have enough to live on.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and disposable income, and I can comfortably afford the recommended ticket price.


This option is lower than the recommended price. It is subsidised by Bristol Ideas and fellow audience members who have booked at the Pay It Forward rate. This price is aimed at people who could do with support to get by.

  • Is this for me? – My access to income is low and unstable and I worry about meeting my basic needs. I would select a concession rate due to my personal circumstances.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, so please contact us if you have any queries.

Accessibility Information

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange.

  • Within Arnolfini there are lifts to all floors and level access to all public spaces.
  • There are two designated Blue Badge parking spaces within easy reach of Arnolfini in the Mud Dock City Docks car park, accessed via The Grove Car Park. There are also five spaces in The Grove Car Park. Parking in the accessible blue badge spaces are free, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • There are toilets for public use.
  • Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

More information about Arnolfini can be found on Arnolfini’s website and on AccessAble.

Header image by André François McKenzie, Unsplash.

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