• Duke Blockchain Lab

    Bringing Blockchain Technology to the Duke University Community

  • Who We Are

    Students, Professors, and Professionals Working Together

    Student Leadership Team

    Joey Santoro


    Joey is a junior majoring in Computer Science at Duke. He got involved in the lab by taking "Blockchain and Innovation," a half-credit house course taught by Dhruv, David, and Jacob. He was inspired by the potential for blockchain and cryptocurrencies as a natural progression to the internet by including trustless systems for transacting value. He has spent the summer of 2018 taking the ConsenSys Academy Developer program for certification in dApp development.

    Christopher Sides


    Chris is a junior at Duke studying Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. After learning about bitcoin and other early cryptocurrencies in 2015, his interest has traversed a wide range between the potential anonymity with certain coins and the power to disrupt massive financial institutions with decentralized applications. Recently, he has been most excited about blockchain applications outside of the financial realm, such as identity verification and systems of online trust. His past summers have been spent working at Lightstep (2017), a distributed tracing startup, and Auris Surgical Robotics (2015).

    Abhishek Anbazhagan

    PR and Outreach

    Abhishek is a grad student in the Duke MEM program and a former Marketing Strategy Consultant who has worked with several startups across APAC and MENA. He got his introduction to blockchain by working with Chainalysis on a valuation method for different digital assets and spent the past summer as a PMM intern at Ripple. Abhishek leads the PR and Marketing efforts for Duke Blockchain Lab.

    Matias Barbero

    Head Project Coordinator

    Matias Barbero is an MBA student at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business completing a Technology Management Certificate. He has extensive experience in sales and marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship. Matias spent the summer of 2018 with J.P. Morgan’s M&A team and is currently involved in a leading Artificial Intelligence startup. Having grown up in Argentina, he experienced first-hand the effects of hyperinflation and political corruption; after learning about blockchain and cryptocurrencies, Matias became convinced of their potential to disrupt and radically improve many of the world’s systems in place. As a Head Project Leader in the Duke Blockchain Lab, he oversees the multiple in-house projects, and provides advisory to students who want to launch their own ventures in the space.

    Carlos Manzano

    Current Events Researcher

    Carlos is a 3rd year law student at Duke University School of Law. He became interested in blockchain technology in 2017 after writing and publishing a journal article on state regulation of cryptocurrencies and understanding blockchain’s ability to disrupt industries globally. Carlos is especially interested in issues regarding conflicts between blockchain technology and law and in the potential for smart contracts to revolutionize business transactions and the legal industry in general. Upon graduation, Carlos will be working at the law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    Justin LoTurco


    Justin is a senior studying Economics and Computer Science. He spent his summer with the securities division at Goldman Sachs where he worked with the strategic investments group to help find fast growing technology companies positioned to benefit the financial services industry. In researching companies, he became fascinated with blockchain applications, specifically its potential to transform financial transactions. He now hopes to learn about other industries with potential for blockchain integration. He also hopes to spread this knowledge across Duke to facilitate more thought and innovation around blockchain on campus.

    Pratik Mulpury


    Pratik is currently a sophomore studying Computer Science. He spent his summer developing an analytics application for sales, marketing, and management teams at Verana Health, a Google Ventures funded healthcare analytics startup. Pratik got interested in blockchain as a technology after watching Vitalik’s talk at TechCrunch disrupt. Pratik is most fascinated in blockchain as a system of trust and its potential applications in healthcare as well as financial transactions.

    Collin Brown

    Community Development

    Collin is currently a Sophomore studying Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer science. His older Brother turned his desktop into a Dogecoin rig and ever since then Collin has been a Blockchain fanatic. When not in classes, Collin is on the Club Sailing and Rugby teams at Duke.

    Yash Patil

    Project Lead

    Yash is a sophomore studying Computer Science and Statististics with a certificate in PPE. After learning about blockchain in his freshman year, Yash has been interested in exploring the applications of blockchain beyond finance. He has recently delved into developing decentralized apps of his own and hopes to one day have his own blockchain startup.

    Cryptocurrency Investment Group

    James Hwang

    Co-President, Duke Cryptocurrency Investment Group

    James is a senior studying biology with minors in chemistry and psychology. Although he is pursuing medicine, he also enjoys investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies. He spent this summer working a cellular biology lab investigating genetic targets associated with scoliosis. At Duke, James leads organic chemistry seminars, volunteers at the local nursing home, and competes with the Moot Court team. He also devotes much of his time to studying technical and fundamental analysis for equities and cryptocurrencies. During his free time, he enjoys rock climbing, reading financial news articles, and teaching others about investing.


    Richard Ruiz

    Co-President, Duke Cryptocurrency Investment Group

    Rich is a senior at Duke studying Electrical & Computer Engineering. He spent his summer with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., supporting the Advanced Concepts Lab with automating and revolutionizing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) communications and next-generation UAS control stations utilizing Machine Learning. Ever since his exposure to the Blockchain and cryptocurrency world, Rich actively engages in learning and trading various cryptocurrencies in his portfolio. Rich is part of the Air Force ROTC program at Duke and is on track to commission next year. He now hopes to learn and spread his passion and interest of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the defense world.

    Faculty Advisors

    Campbell Harvey

    Campbell R. Harvey is Professor of Finance at the Fuqua School of Business. He is the 2016 President of the American Finance Association. Professor Harvey teaches a blockchain-focused course called Innovation and Cryptoventures.

    Howie Rhee

    Howie Rhee serves two roles at Duke University. Since 2007, he has been the Managing Director at Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. After the creation of Duke’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (Duke I&E), he took on the additional role of Managing Director for Student and Alumni Affairs for Duke I&E. he is dedicated to making entrepreneurship at Duke University awesome. His programs at Duke include the Program for Entrepreneurs, Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs, the Duke Startup Challenge, the Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network, StartupConnect, and advising a number of student organizations.

    Previous Leadership Team Members

    Brent Xu

    Brent Xu has an extensive background in entrepreneurship, capital markets, real estate, biomedical research, and insurance. Brent discovered Ethereum and ConsenSys while attending a class taught by Professor Campbell Harvey on Innovations and Cryptoventures. Brent’s current role at ConsenSys involves enterprise business development along with China expansion. As Head of Structured Finance, he leads a team tasked with utilizing blockchain technology to research and facilitate the creation of multiple debt products through blockchain based securitization. Brent received his Bachelor of Science in Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Philosophy from Duke University. He also received his Master’s in Management Science from the Duke Fuqua School of Business. He is currently very supportive of the Duke Blockchain lab and finding the best ways to allocate Ethereum to the lab in various capacities.

    Melissa Zhang

    Melissa (Trinity '17) is a recent graduate working as a software engineer at Coinbase in San Francisco. At Duke, she studied computer science and economics. She first became interested in blockchain technology after taking Cam Harvey's course, Innovation and Cryptoventures, in the spring of 2015. She was fascinated by the potential for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to help the unbanked in developing countries. She started the Blockchain Lab to give other students the resources to have an impact on their respective industries and eventually start their own ventures built on this powerful technology.

    Dhruv Luthra

    Dhruv Luthra is a recent graduate who studied Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. His interest in technology led him to learn about blockchain and its revolutionary applications in finance and beyond. He hopes that the Duke Blockchain Lab will serve as springboard for innovative applications of blockchain by students. This past summer, Dhruv worked as a software engineering intern at Slack.

    David Zarge

    David is a recent graduate from Duke who studied Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Economics. After beginning following Bitcoin in 2013, he has since become interested in cryptocurrency's potential to revolutionize and disrupt financial systems and outdated transaction channels. David has spent the past two summers working in product development roles for W.L. Gore & Associates and GelTech Solutions.

    Jacob Baca

    Jacob is a Duke University senior completing a major in Computer Science and Economics along with a certificate in Decision Sciences. Jacob first learned about blockchain technology after listening to a lecture given by Cam Harvey in early 2017. After only some time, Jacob’s true interest developed when he realized the potential for the technology to revolutionize every existing industry within the next few years, just like the internet did back in the 1990s. Because the technology is so new, very few people truly understand it, and for that reason Jacob believes that through just providing an opportunity to learn, this lab has the opportunity to spawn some of world’s next leaders in business and technology.

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