The Ascent of Digital Money

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Date aired: April 20, 2021

Covid-19 has accelerated a monetary revolution. China is at the forefront, launching the world’s first central bank-issued digital currency. Bitcoin is rocketing in value, although debate rages over whether it is “digital gold” — a hedge against inflation at a time of rampant government spending— or fool’s gold. Can digital money reshape the architecture of the global financial system? Will it empower individuals and small businesses at the expense of big banks? And will blockchain technology replace the modern corporation with more fluid — and more accountable — alternatives?

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Raj Dhamodharan

Executive Vice President, Digital Asset, Blockchain Products & Partnerships


Raj Dhamodharan is EVP Digital Asset/Blockchain Products & Partnerships. In this role Raj is responsible for managing Mastercard’s global strategy, products & partnerships in the blockchain and digital assets space.

Previously Raj held various leadership roles in Mastercard including managing global digital partnerships, managing Click to Pay standards and leading Mastercard’s digital payment products and Labs group in Asia pacific.

Prior to joining MasterCard in 2010, Raj had worked in payment and telecom industries for 14 years in various product and technology leadership roles including co-founding Think Business Networks, a telecom software company in Silicon Valley that built products for MNOs across the world.

Raj holds several patents in the field of loyalty marketing/advertising and payments.

Raj graduated from Coimbatore Institute of Technology, India with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Technology. He also holds MBA degrees from the Columbia Business School, Columbia University, NY and Hass Business School, University of California, Berkeley.

Gita Gopinath

Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Department

International Monetary Fund

Gita Gopinath is the Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is on leave of public service from Harvard University’s Economics department where she is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and of Economics.

Ms. Gopinath’s research, which focuses on International Finance and Macroeconomics, has been published in many top economics journals. She has authored numerous research articles on exchange rates, trade and investment, international financial crises, monetary policy, debt, and emerging market crises.

She is the co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics and was earlier the co-editor of the American Economic Review and managing editor of the Review of Economic Studies. She had also previously served as the co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and member of the economic advisory panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. From 2016-18, she was the Economic Adviser to the Chief Minister of Kerala state in India. She also served as a member of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters for India's Ministry of Finance.

Ms. Gopinath is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Econometric Society, and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Washington. In 2019, Foreign Policy named her one of the Top Global Thinkers, in 2014, she was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 by the IMF and in 2011 she was chosen a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum. The Indian government awarded her the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians. Before joining the faculty of Harvard University in 2005, she was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Ms. Gopinath was born in India. She is a U.S. citizen and an Overseas Citizen of India. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 2001 after earning a B.A. from Lady Shri Ram College and M.A. degrees from Delhi School of Economics and University of Washington.

Hester M. Peirce


U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Hester M. Peirce was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and was sworn in on January 11, 2018.

Prior to joining the SEC, Commissioner Peirce conducted research on the regulation of financial markets at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. She was a Senior Counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, where she advised Ranking Member Richard Shelby and other members of the Committee on securities issues. Commissioner Peirce served as counsel to SEC Commissioner Paul S. Atkins. She also worked as a Staff Attorney in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. Commissioner Peirce was an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) and clerked for Judge Roger Andewelt on the Court of Federal Claims.

Commissioner Peirce earned her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Case Western Reserve University and her JD from Yale Law School.

Michael Sonnenshein


Grayscale Investments

Michael Sonnenshein is CEO of Grayscale Investments, the world’s largest digital currency asset manager. In his role, Michael oversees the strategic direction and growth of the business, and maintains many of the firm’s key relationships with clients, industry stakeholders, and regulators.

Prior to joining Grayscale, Michael was a financial advisor at JP Morgan Securities, covering HNW individuals and institutions, and an analyst at Barclays Wealth, providing coverage to middle‐market hedge funds and institutions.

Michael earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and his Master of Business Administration from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. Michael was honored in 2018 as one of Business Insider’s Rising Stars of Wall Street and serves as a member of the Grayscale Board of Directors, CME Group Bitcoin Futures Council, and NYU Blockchain Association.

Andrew Browne

Editorial Director

Bloomberg New Economy

Prior to joining Bloomberg, Andrew Browne was China Editor, Senior Correspondent and Columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He started his career in journalism in 1982 at the South China Morning Post and then moved to Reuters News Agency, where he spent 20 years running bureaus around Asia before becoming Asia Pacific News Editor.

Andrew joined the Wall Street Journal in 2004. He was a member of a team of Journal reporters in Beijing that won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 2007, and an Overseas Press Club award in 2011.

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