Business School Faculty Share Blockchain Knowledge with State Legislative Leaders


Marketing Communications

Amid the growth in financial technology, WPI is answering the call for greater understanding and public information about blockchain technology. As invited guests of the Massachusetts Blockchain Technology Legislative Caucus, Business School professors Joseph Sarkis and Sara Saberi delivered a presentation to state representatives and state senators during the Caucus’s first meeting as a bicameral group on April 4, 2024. The Massachusetts Blockchain Technology Legislative Caucus, co-chaired by State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian and State Senator Barry Finegold, was formed in 2021 to study the emerging role of blockchain in shaping public policy. Members of the State Senate joined the Caucus in 2024.

Sarkis, a professor of management, and Saberi, an assistant professor of operations and industrial engineering, shared with lawmakers an explanation of blockchain technology, the decentralized database of records or shared ledgers of digital events, on which cryptocurrencies run. Going beyond that definition, the professors emphasized there is much more to blockchain platforms than cryptocurrencies. They told the group about WPI’s teaching, research, and projects involving current applications and potential uses of blockchain in supply chain management and government, plus student involvement and interest in financial technology and blockchain. 

“We shared knowledge and insights from our research and instructional experience, covering topics ranging from IQPs and MQPs to cutting-edge courses on blockchain technology,” Sarkis said of the meeting. “We believe that offering our insights to the Legislative Caucus can help our representatives make informed decisions essential for shaping the educational and economic landscape for current and future generations.”

Saberi said the opportunity to present to lawmakers was a great chance for WPI to show its thought leadership in this area of technology and to “underscore the importance of cross-sector collaboration in technology adoption. By doing so, WPI’s role extends beyond academia into state economic development, emphasizing our contribution to shaping a tech-savvy workforce and fostering innovation-driven economic policies.”

The presentation highlighted ways in which blockchain technology provides for security, transparency, and the execution of smart contracts without the need for intermediaries. The WPI presenters offered examples of how blockchain can increase integrity in the climate tech sector by verifying the sources of biofuel, and shared how WPI students designed a blockchain prototype to keep records of property transactions, and how WPI researchers are studying the potential for blockchain in closed-loop recycling. A large part of the discussion focused on job opportunities and skill needs for positions related to blockchain; and current and potential government uses for blockchain, including identification, credentialing, and land records. 

Professors Rob Sarnie and Daniel Treku also participated in a question-and-response session with the lawmakers. Professor Kwamie Dunbar, adjunct teaching instructor Abdullah Yildizbasi, and several PhD students also represented WPI at the virtual meeting.



WPI business school professors speak on Zoom with members of the state legislature about Blockchain technology

Professors Sarkis & Saberi present WPI research on areas of blockchain applications in government