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Darla Moore School of Business


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Moore School students apply their finance knowledge to world of cryptocurrency

July 26, 2017

In early June, Darla Moore School of Business fourth-year international business and finance student Jane Lippencott and finance Ph.D. candidate Robert Viglione, along with their other cofounders, launched ZenCash, an anonymous blockchain designed for secure and fast messaging and transactions.

“We’re essentially building on Bitcoin technology and just making it more secure,” Viglione said of their goals.

But they don’t plan on stopping there, according to Lippencott.

“What we’re trying to do is not only create a system that allows for secure and anonymous transactions, but also extend that to messaging and data-sharing, which has never been done before,” she said. “The entire point of the Zen system is to allow any sort of data, monetary or otherwise, to be transacted in a secure, near-instantaneous way.”

Viglione has actually taught a class at the Moore School on Bitcoin and blockchain technologies, making the Moore School one of three schools in the world that has such a course. This and other experiences VIglione has had in the Ph.D. program have given him a good understanding of how markets and economies function. He has been able to apply this knowledge practically in developing the architecture and strategy of the company.

In her time at the Moore School, Lippencott has been involved in the professional society Delta Sigma Pi and the Finance Scholars program. Both are professionally oriented organizations that are supportive of individuals and value collaboration. She has taken those ethics and translated them to how she views Zen.

“I wanted to take the experiences that I’ve had and build a community that is similarly intense but more inclusive,” she said.

The cryptocurrency industry began in 2009 with Bitcoin and has now capped $100 billion.

“It’s something that people don’t really know exists,” Viglione said. “It’s kind of disrupting things behind the scenes.”

Lippencott is thrilled to not only be a part of that growing industry, but also to spread awareness about what it is and what it’s doing.

“We see this as a huge opportunity to bring this industry into the forefront and to educate people,” she said. “We’re really excited to be a part of that.”

For more information about Zen and ZenCash, visit their website.

By Madeleine Vath