Christian Catalini

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Christian Catalini
Christian Catalini.png
Christian Catalini
Alma materBocconi University (MSc, BSc)
University of Toronto (PhD)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMIT Sloan School of Management
Doctoral advisorAjay Agrawal

Christian Catalini is a co-creator of Diem[1][2][3][4][5] (formerly Libra), the Chief Economist of the Diem Association,[6] and the Theodore T. Miller Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.[7]

Catalini is known for his research on the economics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology,[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] and for the economical design of Diem.[17][18][19] His past research focused on the economics of crowdfunding,[20][21][22][23] early stage capital formation,[24][25][26] the economics of science[27][28][29] and technology.[30][31]


Catalini joined the faculty of MIT in 2013, and was appointed in 2018 as Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research in the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program.[32]

In 2013, Catalini co-designed with Catherine Tucker the MIT Digital Currency Experiment[33] that distributed $500,000 in Bitcoin to all MIT undergraduates.[34][35] Catalini and Tucker published the results of their research study in Science.[8]

In 2017, Catalini founded the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab, which brings together the fields of economics and computer science to study cryptocurrency protocols, their incentives and market design. Catalini is also a faculty advisor to the MIT Digital Currency Initiative (on leave), and an economic advisor to Algorand, a cryptocurrency startup founded by Silvio Micali.

In 2018, Catalini joined David Marcus' team at Facebook, Inc. to develop the economical design of Libra (now Diem).[36] Since 2020, he is seconded to the Diem Association as its Chief Economist.[6] At Diem, Catalini is focused on the economic, market design, growth incentives, and business model of the project.[6][37]

In 2022, Catalini joined Coinbase Institute and sits on the Advisory Board. [38]


Christian Catalini was born in Ancona, Italy. He studied economics and business at Bocconi University in Milan (B.Sc. and M.Sc.). In 2013, Catalini earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management) for research supervised by Ajay Agrawal. During his Ph.D., Catalini worked with Ajay Agrawal to establish the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto, served as its Associate Director (2012-2013),[39] and then as a member of the CDL Strategic Advisory Board (2013-2018).[39] Since 2019, he is an Associate in the Creative Destruction Lab Blockchain Stream.[40]


Catalini is best known for some of his fundamental early work on the economics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, crowdfunding, early stage capital formation, and the economics of science. His research on these topics has been featured in Nature,[41][42] Science,[8] the New York Times,[43][44] CNN,[45] the Wall Street Journal,[46][47] the Economist,[48][49] CNBC,[50][51][52] WIRED,[53][54][55][56][57] NPR,[58] Forbes,[59][60][61] Bloomberg,[62][63] TechCrunch,[64][65] the Financial Times,[66] the Chicago Tribune,[67][68] the Boston Globe,[69][70] VICE news,[71][72] the Washington Post,[73][74][75][76][77] and Reuters[78][79] among others.

In 2017, Catalini received the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research.[80] In 2014, Catalini's thesis was awarded the Wiley Blackwell Outstanding Dissertation Award in Business Policy and Strategy[81] for “Three Essays on the Impact of Geographic and Social Proximity on Innovation”,[82] assigned by the Business Policy and Strategy division of the Academy of Management.

Catalini has presented his work at a variety of institutions including Harvard University,[83] MIT,[84] Yale University,[85] London Business School,[86] New York University,[87] UC Berkeley,[88] Stanford University,[89] the Council on Foreign Relations,[90] the Federal Reserve Bank,[86] the Federal Trade Commission,[91] the US Treasury,[92] the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,[46] the Commodity Futures Trading Commission,[93] the World Bank,[92] the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum,[94] the White House OSTP, and a number of central banks and US and global regulators.


  1. ^ "Diem bridges banking and crypto worlds". Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum. 15 February 2021. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Christian Catalini: Co-Creator of Libra Explains How the Facebook-led Project Aims to Enable Financial Inclusion". Crowdfund Insider. 2019-11-13. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  3. ^ "Libra co-creator explains, defends Facebook's cryptocurrency". MIT Sloan. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  4. ^ "Facebook's Diem joins the regulatory fold". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  5. ^ Kominers, Christian Catalini, Scott (18 October 2019). "The best thing about Libra is often overlooked—and its creators explain why". Quartz. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  6. ^ a b c "Diem Association Executive Team". Diem Association. Archived from the original on 2020-12-02. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  7. ^ "Christian Catalini". MIT Sloan School of Management. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Catalini, Christian; Tucker, Catherine (2017-07-14). "When early adopters don't adopt". Science. 357 (6347): 135–136. Bibcode:2017Sci...357..135C. doi:10.1126/science.aal4476. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 28706029. S2CID 1375522.
  9. ^ Catalini, Christian; Gans, Joshua S. (2020-06-18). "Some simple economics of the blockchain". Communications of the ACM. 63 (7): 80–90. doi:10.1145/3359552. ISSN 0001-0782. S2CID 219844399.
  10. ^ Catalini, Christian; Jagadeesan, Ravi; Kominers, Scott Duke (2020-12-01). "Markets for Crypto Tokens, and Security under Proof of Stake". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3740654. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Catalini, Christian; Gans, Joshua S. (2018-03-01). "Initial Coin Offerings and the Value of Crypto Tokens". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3143343. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Athey, Susan; Catalini, Christian; Tucker, Catherine (2017-06-12). "The Digital Privacy Paradox: Small Money, Small Costs, Small Talk". doi:10.3386/w23488. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ Catalini, Christian; Tucker, Catherine (2016-09-01). "Seeding the S-Curve? The Role of Early Adopters in Diffusion". doi:10.3386/w22596. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Catalini, Christian; Jagadeesan, Ravi; Kominers, Scott Duke (2019-06-18). "Market Design for a Blockchain-Based Financial System". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3396834. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Catalini, Christian (2018). "Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies: Implications for the Digital Economy, Cybersecurity, and Government". Georgetown Journal of International Affairs. 19: 36–42. ISSN 1526-0054. JSTOR 26567525.
  16. ^ Catalini, Christian; Tucker, Catherine E. (2018-06-19). "Antitrust and Costless Verification: An Optimistic and a Pessimistic View of the Implications of Blockchain Technology". Rochester, NY. SSRN 3199453. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ Economics of Libra 2.0 // CESC 2020 - Dr. Christian Catalini, retrieved 2021-04-16
  18. ^ MIT Sloan Experts Series – Christian Catalini: Breaking Down the Libra Cryptocurrency, retrieved 2021-04-16
  19. ^ SFBW19 - Economics of Libra - Christian Catalini, retrieved 2021-04-16
  20. ^ Agrawal, Ajay; Catalini, Christian; Goldfarb, Avi (2015). "Crowdfunding: Geography, Social Networks, and the Timing of Investment Decisions". Journal of Economics & Management Strategy. 24 (2): 253–274. doi:10.1111/jems.12093. ISSN 1530-9134. S2CID 154926205.
  21. ^ Agrawal, Ajay; Catalini, Christian; Goldfarb, Avi (2013-06-13). "Some Simple Economics of Crowdfunding". Innovation Policy and the Economy. 14: 63–97. doi:10.1086/674021. hdl:1721.1/108043. S2CID 16085029.
  22. ^ Agrawal, Ajay; Catalini, Christian; Goldfarb, Avi; Luo, Hong (2018-10-18). "Slack Time and Innovation". Organization Science. 29 (6): 1056–1073. doi:10.1287/orsc.2018.1215. ISSN 1047-7039. S2CID 6586560.
  23. ^ Agrawal, Ajay K.; Catalini, Christian; Goldfarb, Avi (2011-02-25). "The Geography of Crowdfunding". doi:10.3386/w16820. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  24. ^ Catalini, Christian; Guzman, Jorge; Stern, Scott (2019-07-22). "Passive Versus Active Growth: Evidence from Founder Choices and Venture Capital Investment". doi:10.3386/w26073. S2CID 199894176. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  25. ^ Catalini, Christian; Hui, Xiang (2018-07-09). "Online Syndicates and Startup Investment". doi:10.3386/w24777. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  26. ^ Catalini, Christian; Guzman, Jorge; Stern, Scott (2019-12-09). "Hidden in Plain Sight: Venture Growth with or without Venture Capital". doi:10.3386/w26521. S2CID 214476802. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ Catalini, Christian (2017-07-19). "Microgeography and the Direction of Inventive Activity". Management Science. 64 (9): 4348–4364. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2017.2798. ISSN 0025-1909.
  28. ^ Catalini, Christian; Fons-Rosen, Christian; Gaulé, Patrick (2020-02-10). "How Do Travel Costs Shape Collaboration?". Management Science. 66 (8): 3340–3360. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2019.3381. ISSN 0025-1909. S2CID 125947376.
  29. ^ Catalini, Christian; Lacetera, Nicola; Oettl, Alexander (2015-11-10). "The incidence and role of negative citations in science". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (45): 13823–13826. Bibcode:2015PNAS..11213823C. doi:10.1073/pnas.1502280112. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 4653214. PMID 26504239.
  30. ^ Bekkers, Rudi; Catalini, Christian; Martinelli, Arianna; Righi, Cesare; Simcoe, Timothy (2017-07-31). "Disclosure Rules and Declared Essential Patents". doi:10.3386/w23627. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  31. ^ Breschi, Stefano; Catalini, Christian (2010-02-01). "Tracing the links between science and technology: An exploratory analysis of scientists' and inventors' networks". Research Policy. 39 (1): 14–26. doi:10.1016/j.respol.2009.11.004. ISSN 0048-7333.
  32. ^ "Christian Catalini". National Bureau of Economic Research. Archived from the original on 2021-04-19. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  33. ^ Baxter, Stone Wright. "Two Years Later: MIT's Bitcoin Experiment". MIT Spectrum. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  34. ^ Catalini, Christian (2014-12-05). "Innovating with Bitcoin at MIT". Xconomy. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  35. ^ Matheson, Rob (2017-07-13). "Bitcoin study: Period of exclusivity encourages early adopters". MIT News. Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  36. ^ "The People With Power at Facebook's Calibra". The Information. Retrieved 2021-05-06.
  37. ^ "Diem Pre-launch Discussion". Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum. 2021-02-11. Retrieved 2021-02-11.
  38. ^ "About Coinbase Institute". Retrieved 2022-05-31.
  39. ^ a b "Christian Catalini". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  40. ^ "Christian Catalini". Creative Destruction Lab. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  41. ^ Sohn, Emily (2016-05-01). "Collaboration: The geography of discovery". Nature. 533 (7601): S40–S42. Bibcode:2016Natur.533S..40S. doi:10.1038/533S40a. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 27144608. S2CID 205089114.
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  49. ^ "Bandwagon behaviour". The Economist. 2013-07-20. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
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  52. ^ Ungarino, Rebecca (2015-05-01). "Race to $2 billion: The fastest-growing start-up". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
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  56. ^ "So You Want to Fund a Startup? Here's What You Need to Know". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
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  59. ^ Anderson, Kare. "Four Ways To Spur Shared Learning And Performance At Work". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
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  79. ^ Storbeck, Olaf (2016-05-06). "Brexit advocates: heed the tale of Herb Kelleher". Reuters. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  80. ^ "Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellows". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  81. ^ "Wiley Blackwell Outstanding Dissertation Award - Strategic Management". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  82. ^ Catalini, Christian (2013-11-01). Three Essays on the Impact of Geographic and Social Proximity on Innovation. University of Toronto Doctoral Theses (Thesis).
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  87. ^ Seeding the S Curve: The Role of Early Adopters in Diffusion, retrieved 2021-04-16
  88. ^ Agrawal, Ajay; Catalini, Christian; Goldfarb, Avi (2016-02-01). "Are Syndicates the Killer App of Equity Crowdfunding?". California Management Review. 58 (2): 111–124. doi:10.1525/cmr.2016.58.2.111. hdl:1721.1/103355. ISSN 0008-1256. S2CID 197816536.
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  90. ^ "Roundtable on Technology, Innovation, and American Primacy". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  91. ^ "PrivacyCon 2018". Federal Trade Commission. 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  92. ^ a b "Christian Catalini | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  93. ^ "Written Testimony of Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo before the Senate Banking Committee | CFTC". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  94. ^ "Christian Catalini - Agenda Contributor". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2021-04-16.