2021 Economics of Cryptocurrencies

June 3, 2021

Location: Virtual

Organizers: Aleh Tsyvinski and Wei Xiong

Thursday, June 3
10:00am to 10:45am Matteo Benetton (University of California, Berkeley), *Giovanni Compiani (University of Chicago Booth), “Investors’ Beliefs and Asset Prices: A Structural Model of Cryptocurrency Demand ”
10:45am to 11:30am Will Cong (Cornell University), “Crypto Wash Trading ”
11:30am to 12:15pm Itay Goldstein (University of Pennsylvania), “Initial Coin Offerings as a Commitment to Competition”
12:15pm to 1:00pm Christine Parlour (University of California, Berkeley), “Miner Collusion and the Bitcoin Protocol”
1:00pm to 1:45pm Commissioner Hester M. Peirce (Securities and Exchange Commission), Darrel Duffie (Stanford University), Hyun Shin (Bank for International Settlements), Markus Brunnermeier (Princeton University), “The Future of Cryptocurrencies”
2:00pm to 2:45pm Raphael Auer (Bank for International Settlements), Cyril Monnet (University of Bern), *Hyun Shin (Bank for International Settlements), “Permissioned Distributed Ledgers and the Governance of Money”

Virtual Chair Frequently Asked Questions

Before joining a Virtual Chair conference session please take note of these recommendations:

  • Use a desktop or laptop computer, not a mobile device such as a phone or tablet
  • Use either Chrome or Firefox browsers to connect to a session
  • Disconnect from VPN before joining a session
  • Download and install Zoom video conference software to view speaker sessions

Joining a Virtual Chair conference session is a two-step process. The first step is to verify your credentials; the second step is to join the Virtual Chair conference venue you are participating in. Follow the steps below to join your Virtual Chair conference session.


  1. An email will be sent to you for the conference session(s) you registered for. Follow the link in the email to access the Virtual Chair session webpage. Click the Join button on the Virtual Chair session webpage.

  2. When you come to the landing page, click the Join link. You will then be prompted to enter your email address; click the Send magic link button (The magic link is a security protocol to verify participants; a new email will be sent to validate your access. Do not close the browser window.

    Note: Do not click the Sign in with Google button - it will not work.


  3. When you receive the new email, click the Sign in to Gather link

  4. A new browser window will open to confirm the sign-in process. Click the Browser button to finish signing in. When you have successfully signed in, close this browser window and go back to the original browser window where you clicked the Join link. 

    Note: You only have to use the magic link the first day of  a multiple-day conference as your credentials will be saved.


  1. After successfully signing in with the Magic Link, proceed back to the original browser window with the Join link. Click the green Enter Space button.
    Enter space button
  2. You will now be prompted to configure your Virtual Chair avatar. It is here that you can also verify that your computer camera and microphone are working. Click the Join the Gathering button to enter the Virtual Chair venue space.
    Virtual Chair avatar settings window
  3. You will then see a tutorial window on how to use Virtual Chair. The tutorial can be bypassed by clicking the Skip Tutorial link in the left-hand toolbar.

Additional information can be found on the Virtual Chair Help Guide page, or in this Virtual Chair Help Guide PDF.

Once you have signed-in to Virtual Chair, use your arrow keys to navigate around the virtual conference space. The following video has more details about using Virtual Chair.

Additional information can be found on the Virtual Chair Help Guide page.

The 2021 Cowles Summer Conferences will be held virtually using the Virtual Chair online platform. A separate invitation will be sent to participants with instructions on how to access the conference session you registered for. This brief overview video explains how to navigate the Virtual Chair space.

A list of frequently asked questions for Virtual Chair guests can be found on this FAQ page. To familiarize yourself with the different features available while attending a Virtual Chair session can be found on the Glossary Page.

Each conference space within Virtual Chair has a presentation area called a Plenary Room which is found at the top of the screen.  Navigate your avatar to the plenary room door to enter the room. To join the Zoom presentation, have your avatar take a seat on a vacant stool and press “X” on your keyboard. At this point you will be presented with a Zoom link on the screen. Clicking the link will automatically launch Zoom on your computer to watch the presentation. Steps below:

  1. Enter the Plenary Room at the top of the screen through either of the doorways.
    Virtual Chair Lobby
  2. After entering the Plenary Room, have your avatar sit on a vacant stool.

    Virtual Chair Plenary Room

  3. At this point, press the “X“ key on your keyboard to join the Zoom session; click the link to launch Zoom.
    Join Zoom
  4. Once the Zoom presentation has finished, click the Leave Meeting button to bring you back to the Virtual Chair session in your browser. Exit the Zoom browser tab if necessary and on the Virtual Chair browser page, click the green Re-enter button to bring you back to the plenary room.


Visit the Virtual Chair help page for additional information on how to connect to Zoom sessions.

Your affiliation will be displayed if another participant clicks on your name. Additionally, you can display your affiliation on your avatar by using the Status field found in your avatar settings (click on your name at the bottom of the screen to display the settings).  To save the status text, click anywhere outside of the settings window. Click image below to view a help video or visit this help page.

You can see all participants who have signed-in to Virtual Chair by clicking the people icon in the toolbar found on the left of the screen.

As with in-person conferences, you can approach anyone in the Virtual Chair venue to interact with colleagues. When you approach another participant, that person’s camera will appear at the top of your screen allowing you to converse. If you would like a more private conversation, you can sit at one of the tables in the lounge area. The number of chairs dictates the number of people who can interact with each other. If there are no empty chairs, no one else can join the conversation. Thus, if you want a one-on-one conversation, sit at a table with only two chairs.

Interacting with others

Seating Options

Private Table for two
Private table for two Table with four chairs Table with eight seats

You can find a schedule of all the presentation on the left sidebar. Click the calendar icon to show upcoming events listed at the top of the sidebar.

If you need assistance navigating Virtual Chair, you can contact a support person in one of the following ways:

Help Desk

In (virtual) Person

  • Walk to a virtual Helpdesk to discuss your question directly. Helpdesks will be located in the lobby

  • Chat one-on-one with a Helpdesk staff member by scrolling through the participant list and clicking on their name, then “message”. You can also search for the Helpdesk staff member using the search bar, found above the list of participants.


Via Email

  • Email the Virtual Chair staff to alert them if you have trouble navigating the event space     on gather.town; they are available at the unique help email found on your event’s  landing page.
  • Or email help@virtualchair.net and put the name of the event you’re attending in the subject line.

In order for Virtual Chair’s Helpdesk team to best assist you, it is recommended that you confirm which browser you are using, and provide either a screenshot or a description of the specific webpage where you encountered an issue. Specific information on troubleshooting audiovisual connection issues is available by clicking here.

Via the Web