Founding Economist

Dr. Cathy Barrera


Dr. Cathy Barrera

Dr. Cathy Barrera is a Partner and Founding Economist of Prysm Group. Dr. Barrera’s work combines tools from cutting-edge economics research with blockchain expertise to design successful incentive-compatible digital economies. Dr. Barrera has led economic advisory projects for Fortune 100 companies and leading startups backed by funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Sequoia, Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator and more. She is the Program Director for The Wharton School’s Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets executive education program, an industry expert for MIT Sloan’s executive education course, Blockchain Technologies: Business Innovation and Application and Columbia Business School’s executive education course, Blockchain in Business: Beyond the Hype, an academic advisor to blockchain projects at the World Economic Forum, and an Opinion Columnist for CoinDesk, where she writes a monthly column on the economics of emerging technologies. Dr. Barrera is former tenure-track faculty at the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University and was the Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter.  


Dr. Barrera regularly presents her work and research relating to economics and blockchain, which includes recent talks at Blockchain Revolution Global, Consensus, DARPA, FWD50, Harvard, IBM Blockchain Accelerator, NBER, and SXSW. Additionally, she has appeared as a seminar speaker or guest lecturer at schools including Columbia Business School, Cornell Tech, Fordham University, Harvard University, MIT, NYU, University of Toronto, and USC. Dr. Barrera received a BA in Communication Studies, Economics and Mathematics from Northwestern University, an MSc in Applicable Mathematics from the London School of Economics and a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard University, where she studied under Nobel Laureate Oliver Hart.

Recent speaking appearances include Consensus, DARPA, the IBM Blockchain Accelerator, and SXSW

A Framework for Blockchain Governance Design: The Prysm Group Wheel
Dr. Cathy Barrera outlines a structure for approaching governance design for blockchain networks.

Blockchain Governance: Challenges and Opportunity for a Decentralized System
Dr. Cathy Barrera and Prof. Oliver Hart discuss the importance of governance for a blockchain network.

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Experimenting with Blockchain for Government Transparency in Colombia

Prysm Group Founding Economists Dr. Cathy Barrera and Dr. Stephanie Hurder discuss the potential impact of the World Economic Forum blockchain pilot.

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