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The internet as we know it is broken. But we can still take it back—and turn it into a system that serves us all.

Author of The Age of Cryptocurrency and Our Biggest Fight | Co-Host of the Money Reimagined Podcast | MIT Media Advisor

Michael  Casey | Chief Content Officer at CoinDesk | MIT Media Advisor | Author of The Truth Machine and The Age of Cryptocurrency | Web3 Expert
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As we hurtle into the age of AI, society stands at a crossroads. We can continue on our current path, allowing Big Tech to control us and our data. Or we can take the other path: one in which we return the internet to its original intent as a system that serves all human beings. And Michael Casey can show us how. A veteran journalist who’s been writing and speaking about tech for almost three decades, he’s the co-author of Our Biggest Fight: Reclaiming Liberty, Humanity, and Dignity in the Digital Age. In hopeful, practical talks, he draws on his six acclaimed books to give us the tools to reclaim the internet, unleashing waves of innovation far more powerful and socially beneficial than anything we’ve seen before. His call to action is summed up in in the words of some familiar computer keystrokes: CTRL-ALT-DEL-ESC. We need to take control of our data, migrate to an alternative model, delete the old one and escape to a better web—and a better world.

Michael Casey is the former Chief Content Officer of CoinDesk, the Loeb Award-winning media, events and data platform, and a veteran journalist who previously spent two decades at The Wall Street Journal.

In Our Biggest Fight: Reclaiming Liberty, Humanity and Dignity in the Digital Age—his sixth and latest book—Michael and his co-author, business leader Frank McCourt, make an impassioned case for the democratization of our digital data, the most valuable and politically potent commodity of the internet economy. Describing it as both a human right and an economic opportunity, they urge individuals and companies to embrace new technologies that let them wrest control of our data away from the “oligarchs” of Big Tech that currently monopolize it to the detriment of everyone else. The book details the painful legacy of the current internet model: a surging mental health crisis marked by an epidemic of teenage suicides, a breakdown in civility, a dysfunctional democracy. But unlike other accounts that have described social media’s ills but offered no tangible solutions, this one has a hopeful, practical message, one that Michael conveys to his audiences. He explains how adopting “self-sovereign” models of data management will allow people and businesses to collectively reset the internet, returning it to its original intent as a system that serves everyone.

As the chair of the highly influential annual Consensus conference and co-host of the Money Reimagined podcast, Michael has developed a clear vision of how businesses can embrace the internet’s best elements and avoid its worst. Under his leadership, CoinDesk grew into a leading tech brand. In November 2022, the newsroom broke the bombshell story that led to the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire, earning the prestigious George Polk award for two of its reporters. Michael is also a Senior Advisor to the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. He founded data analytics startup Streambed and co-launched the Crypto Impact Sustainability Accelerator, a research body housed at the World Economic Forum.

A globetrotter who has lived and worked on five continents, Michael has published five acclaimed books. These include, with Paul Vigna, The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order, now in 15 languages, and its sequel, The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything. He’s spent more than two decades as a journalist, including 18 years with The Wall Street Journal, where he was a senior columnist covering global finance and economics. In addition to hundreds of bylines at WSJ, Michael has written for The Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Fortune, MIT Technology Review, WIRED, and many other publications. With Sheila Warren, the CEO of the Crypto Council for Innovation, he co-hosts a weekly podcast called Money Reimagined.

Speech Topics

Activism & Humanitarianism
Our Biggest FightReclaiming Liberty, Humanity and Dignity in the Digital Age

Our digital data is the most valuable and powerful commodity of the internet economy. Right now, Big Tech “oligarchs” are using it to strip us of our agency. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can still fight back, reclaiming our data for the good of humanity and democracy.

In this passionate, hopeful talk, journalist and author Michael Casey explores the current state of the internet—marked by a surging mental health crisis, a dysfunctional democracy, and the breakdown of communication across differences. Then, drawing on his vital book Our Biggest Fight, he offers tangible solutions that we can use to collectively “reset” the internet and build a system that serves us all. He explains his CTRL-ALT-DEL-ESC framework for creating a better digital world for ourselves, and gives us practical steps we can take to move forward together. Audiences walk away better informed and inspired to take action.

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The Truth MachineThe Blockchain and the Future of Everything

The world’s largest banks are larger than ever. In a digital era, credit fraud is ever present. Our quaint notions of privacy are ever-more perilous. We can’t look to so-called ‘legacy’ systems for help: they’re ill equipped to keep the economy stable or our lives simple. So we look to the blockchain, argues Michael Casey: a public, common good; a means to transfigure major parts of the economy with an operating system that is, in a word, revolutionary; and a decentralized trust architecture to manage the decentralized economy we’re building. In this keynote, based on his latest book The Truth Machine (the sequel to The Age of Cryptocurrency), Michael unveils the disruptive potential of blockchain for a wide range of industries (shipping, legal, tech, finance, security, and beyond).

Essentially, blockchain offers more trust, and more control: to personal actors worried about data, identity, or assets; to those excluded by the unfair distributions of globalism; and to society itself, long in need of a restoration of faith in its capacity to order, manage, and plan. It’s not without its challenges, of course—and Michael is sure to discuss the threats to employment, public interest, and social cohesion that are coming. But with rich, fascinating examples, he champions the need for this utterly transparent, digital, radical model to pass over and replace broken and unreliable institutions and their self-serving middlemen. This is about empowerment, Michael says: a way to move humanity forward into a world of decentralized, more reliable technology.

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Cryptocurrency & Blockchain
The Age of CryptocurrencyHow Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order

Bitcoin became a buzzword overnight. It pops up in headlines and fuels endless media debate. Yet it seems few people truly understand what it is. In this economics keynote, blockchain speaker Michael Casey delivers the definitive answer to the question: Why should anyone care about bitcoin? The “blockchain” technology behind cryptocurrencies holds the promise of a financial system without middlemen—a change that’s 500 years in the making. It puts that system in the control of the people who use it, safeguarding them from a 2008-type crash.

Much more than a new digital form of currency, this technology could integrate billions of hitherto excluded people into the global economy, restore individuals’ control over their private data and identities, and change the way organizations and business relationships are governed. When coupled with mobile money apps, Big Data-driven banking services, decentralized e-marketplaces, and countless fintech innovations aimed at breaking big banks’ dominance, the blockchain’s core concept of a distributed ledger of information could reinvent the economy as we know it. The potential savings from this disruptive technology are so big that the World Economic Forum predicts that as much as 10 percent of world GDP will be transacted over it by 2025. Michael is an economics speaker with lucidity and verve: he makes this unfamiliar but important topic accessible, and teaches us what we need to know to be ready for this big shift.

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