Crypto, Fintech, and Web3 Lab

Web3 holds the potential to fundamentally reshape commerce and the Internet, and revolutionize how money is transmitted around the globe. Blockchain and token systems give users more control over their digital assets and identity, and greater ability to move seamlessly between platforms. These changes could lead to new peer-to-peer models of exchange.  But do sustainable business applications exist for these novel technologies?

The D^3 Institute’s Crypto, Fintech, and Web3 Lab will work with communities of crypto practitioners and innovators in fintech and the digital economy. Researchers will explore token systems, governance models, incentives, and evaluate how Web3 is impacting finance, entrepreneurship, and the broader economy. The goal of the Lab’s research is to contribute to fundamental knowledge, shape the way these technologies are applied towards innovation, efficiency, and inclusion, inform companies and shape the thinking of regulators.


The Crypto, Fintech, and Web3 Lab is led by: 

  • Shai Benjamin Bernstein Shai Bernstein Headshot Shai Bernstein , MBA Class of 1960 Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. His research centers on the finances of start-ups and high-growth firms.
  • Scott Duke Kominers, Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit; Faculty Affiliate in the Harvard Department of Economics and Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications; and Research Partner at a16z crypto. 
  • David Parkes David Parkes , George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science, Ph.D. The University of Pennsylvania. Founder of the EconCS research group and Co-chair of the Harvard Data Science Initiative and the Harvard Business Analytics Program. 

Activities/Research Focus

The Crypto, Fintech, and Web3 Lab will focus on topics related to blockchain and web3 business models, digital currencies, and fintech. Key research areas include: 

Tokens, cryptography and financial services. It will consider:

  • Can token systems enable markets in digital assets, sentiment, information, and reputation?
  • How do incentives work – in theory, and in practice – in token-based ecosystems?
  • Do cryptography tools influence finance applications, both blockchain and non-blockchain related?
  • What roles do crypto technologies play in consumer markets?
  • The role of digital assets in labor and goods markets and associated regulations to protect consumers.


  • The innovations and trends observed in credit markets and asset management.
  • How does the use of big data affect the provision of financial services?
  • What are the strategies to improve financial inclusion and reach those underbanked and underserved by financial institutions?

Entrepreneurial Finance and Web3  

  • How is building a startup in Web3 different from Web2.0?
  • How do investors deploy capital into Web3 start-ups and how are they involved in Web3 projects and contribute to their success?
  • How should startups in Web3 design their business models, tokenomics, and scaling strategies to succeed?

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