Inaugural Highland Capital Lecture at the George W. Bush Presidential Center Explores Disruptive Technologies’ Effect on the Global Economy

By November 1, 2018 December 11th, 2018 Announcements

Part of the Bush Center’s Engage Series, event welcomes expert panel to discuss cryptocurrency, block chain, and other emerging technologies

The Engage Speaker Series, presented by Highland Capital Management, is a key component of the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s engagement agenda. The lecture series brings authors, thought leaders, and newsmakers to the Dallas community throughout the year for thought provoking discussions on today’s most pressing issues.

The series covers a range of topics; however, starting in 2018, the Bush Center announced its collaboration with Highland Capital Management to host one event each year dedicated to the future of the global economy. The inaugural “Highland Capital Lecture,” which was held in October, featured a lively conversion on opportunities and challenges presented by transformational technology.

The event, “Cryptocurrencies, AI, and the Disruptive Technologies That Will Redefine the Global Economy,” explored the ways these technologies affect our lives, the future of our economy, and even our national sovereignty.

“We admire the Bush Center’s commitment to hosting events like this one that challenge audiences and embrace the complexity of multifaceted issues like disruptive technologies,” said Highland Capital Management co-founder and president James Dondero.

Matthew Rooney, George W. Bush Institute managing director and head of the institute’s economic growth initiative, introduced the event, followed by opening remarks from Mark Okada, Highland Capital Management co-founder and co-CIO. The audience then got a primer on cryptocurrency via a short video before hearing from an expert panel moderated by Ken Hersh, CEO of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

The panel featured:

  • Barry Eichengreen, professor of economics and political science at Cal-Berkley and a former senior advisor at the International Monetary fund;
  • Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; and
  • Tuur Demeester, founder of Adamant Capital, a Bitcoin Alpha fund.

The discussion, which at times took the form of a lively debate, captured both the opportunities and risks in the growing use of cryptocurrencies. Despite the many opposing views from the panelists – Tuur Demeester is a believer in cryptocurrency, while Barry Eichengreen is a staunch skeptic – the group agreed on the value of the blockchain technology that drives cryptocurrency transactions.

A group of Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars, all students in SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, had the chance to meet with the speakers before the inaugural Highland Capital Lecture at the Bush Center.

Left to right: (back row) Mark Okada, Highland Capital Management co-founder and co-CIO; Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Tuur Demeester, founder of Adamant Capital; Ken Hersh, George W. Bush Presidential Center CEO; Barry Eichengreen, professor at Cal-Berkley; (front row) Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars Visakh Madathil, Sydney Tomlinson, Priya Young, Zach Miller.

Moderator Ken Hersh successfully navigated the different perspectives and raised a number of challenging questions on topics such as regulation, scalability, and the threat to central banks and other established institutions around the world. As the resident central banker, Robert Kaplan provided valuable insights on the regulatory aspects of the topic and offered a unique perspective on how the Federal Reserve is addressing the proliferation of these technologies. He mentioned that within the Fed, the Payment Systems division, in particular, is keeping a close eye on cryptocurrency trends.

Bringing together its nonprofit network, Highland Capital Management provided tickets to the event to a group of undergraduates from Southern Methodist University. The students, all Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars, are members of the Tower Center program in public policy and international affairs. In addition to attending the lecture, the students got the opportunity to spend time with the panelists.

Watch the inaugural Highland Capital Lecture, “Cryptocurrencies, AI, and the Disruptive Technologies That Will Redefine the Global Economy” on the Bush Center website – here

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