We have to admit that there is some strange pleasure when people in authority are wrong. A sudden rebellious feeling that one feels after questioning people who we have been repeatedly told not to question.
A similar incident occurred at Stanford University in January 2019. Conner Brown, a student at Stanford, attended a guest lecture by Professor Susan Athey at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She gave a presentation to her class titled “Blockchain and the Future of Finance.”
After the presentation ended Brown was dissatisfied with it as it contained “multiple misstatements” about Bitcoin and it’s fundamentals. What bothered him further was that the majority of the class consisted of people that were unaware of Bitcoin and the principles behind this technology. After this lecture they were going to go home with wrong information and were likely to never research on it as it came from a “credible” source.
Brown opted for a civilized procedure and instead of calling out the Professor rudely in front of the class, decided to write an email. However, the only response his plea got was an email stating, “We will get back to you on this.”
That is when he decided to take it to Twitter.
Posted below is an email that I sent to the Stanford GSB after a presentation in one of my classes. My professors refused to talk in person after bringing this to their attention. Over a month later I still have heard no response, other than "we will get back to you on this."
— Conner Brown (@_ConnerBrown_) February 24, 2019
Athey claimed that Bitcoin is not only “controlled by a small group of miners in China”, But it also “wastes electricity by stealing from rivers to solve useless math problems.” Athey also got it wrong when she mentioned that bitcoin is “secured economically and not cryptographically.”
In protest Brown composed of a letter addressed to the Graduate School of Business, expressing his concerns and how Bitcoin should have been subject to “high caliber discussion and peer review.” Detailing how she “missed” key concepts.
Athey even promoted Ripple, explaining how Ripple XRP, xRapid API mechanism provide an alternative that is faster, cheaper, more secure, and more energy friendly than Bitcoin. It was later highlighted that Athey was welcomed to the Ripple Labs Board of Directors back in April 2014, where she maintains an active role thus shameless promotion.
It concerns me that my classmates’ first introduction to Bitcoin contained severe factual errors along with strong anti-Bitcoin rhetoric. The academy is not a place for marketing, but rigorously testing ideas. If a professor has a potential conflict of interest, they should be held to the highest standards of scrutiny and peer review.
He believes that Bitcoin is the creation of the internet and it’s properties are difficult to understand. Which is why, internet will always be the best place to get Bitcoin education.