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BBL - Blockchain for Education - Cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and other blockchain innovations for education

BBL - Blockchain for Education:
Cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and
other blockchain innovations for education 

February 13, 2020 | 12:30pm-2:00pm
Room G 7-011, 1776 G Street NW, Washington DC


Brian Brooks, Chief Legal Officer, Coinbase
Erik Bethel, Alternate Executive Director (US), World Bank
Robert Hawkins, EdTech GSG Lead, Education Global Practice, World Bank

Julia Liberman, Operations Officer and EdTech Fellow, Education Global Practice, World Bank


Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a network. An asset can be tangible (cash, property, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, or copyrights). Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all parties involved. While applications of the blockchain range from asset management to music distribution, a number of interesting use cases for the education sector are emerging – they range from verification of certificates and diplomas, to transfer of resources through cryptocurrencies (digital currencies using encryption), to smart contracts (self-executing contracts like if-then statements) for results-based financing and conditional cash transfers, and to tokens as incentives for the attention of students to learn.

While blockchain’s influence and integration in the Education sector is in the beginning stages, companies such as Coinbase are leading efforts to inform and educate potential users and beneficiaries in what blockchain is and how it can be applied to advance countries’ education priorities. The regulatory and legal landscape for implementing these innovations is also evolving. Likewise, the World Bank has supported the development of a Blockchain Lab (now Innovation Lab), and efforts are under way to develop and implement innovative solutions to address education challenges in World Bank client countries.

During this BBL, Brian Brooks will share the efforts of Coinbase in working with education stakeholders in the US and abroad to revolutionize and improve education processes and discuss some of the legal and regulatory hurdles involved. 

about the presenter:

Brian Brooks is Chief Legal Officer of Coinbase, an $8 billion Silicon Valley startup that is one of the largest digital currency platforms in the world. At Coinbase, Brian is responsible for the company’s legal, compliance, internal audit, government relations, and global intelligence groups. Brian is deeply involved in the financial technology sector, serving as a member of the board of directors of Avant Inc., a major marketplace lending and technology platform company; a founding advisor of Spring Labs, a blockchain-enabled digital credit bureau; and a Series A investor in FlyHomes, an Andreesen Horowitz-backed online real estate brokerage. Brian joined Coinbase in September 2018 from Fannie Mae, where he served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. He previously served as Vice Chairman of OneWest Bank, where he worked closely with future Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and future Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting. He was also a member of the board of directors and the executive committee of the California Bankers Association. Brian began his career as an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he served as chair of the firm’s financial services practice group, managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, and a member of the firm’s 12-person board of directors. He received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard University and his J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School.