Welcome to the Charlotte Economics Club

The Charlotte Economics Club’s mission is to provide leadership in the use and understanding of economic information and industry trends that affect our region’s economic growth.


“Understanding Decentralized Finance and Blockchain Economics”

The Charlotte City Club
121 W Trade St. 31st Floor
Charlotte NC 28202

Thursday, June 8th

Mike Blanco is a retired U.S. Army officer with extensive experience in business and risk management, financial analysis, and organizational leadership. He has dedicated the last several years researching the impacts of blockchain technology on the financial services industry. His deep understanding of blockchain solutions enables him to provide valuable insights on leveraging this transformative
technology for enhanced transaction security, transparency, and operational efficiency in finance. Mr. Blanco is able to speak to the challenges and opportunities of blockchain solutions, their impacts on the traditional financial system, and its economic implications. Mr. Blanco holds a M.B.A. from Syracuse
University and a M.S. in Risk Management from New York University Stern School of Business where he focused his research on blockchain adoption in financial services.

Chris Karlsson currently serves as Associate General Counsel for Figure, a leading blockchain technology firm that is harnessing the power of blockchain to revolutionize financial services. Figure continues to unveil a series of fintech firsts across capital markets, investment management, banking/payments, and
lending, including recent announcements of a rated securitization backed by blockchain-native HELOCs, the launch of several on-chain digital funds, and a partnership to bring tokenized public equity to the Provenance Blockchain, a purpose-built blockchain for the financial services industry.

As a fintech attorney specializing in digital lending, embedded payments, and tokenization, Mr. Karlsson has a deep understanding of the expansive legal and regulatory frameworks that impact the future of blockchain technology and digital assets more broadly. Mr. Karlsson holds a BS in Business Administration from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a JD from George Washington

Bart Cant is the Founder and Managing Partner at Rethink Ledgers, a boutique advisory and consulting firm based in Charlotte NC.  Mr. Cant is an expert in blockchain technology, recognized for his instrumental role in advancing the industry. His expertise in the Financial Services domain led to groundbreaking collaborations with AIG and Standard Chartered Bank, resulting in the creation of one of the first blockchain applications in the Insurance Industry. Mr. Cant’s passion for innovation drove him to undertake transformative projects with prominent financial firms such as State Farm, MetLife, USAA, and DTCC.

At Rethink Ledgers, Mr. Cant focuses on financial innovation using Smart Contract Programming and Digital Asset Innovation. He works with financial firms to bring innovation to their products through the latest trends in digital asset tokenization. Additionally, he is the Founder of the Digital Asset Innovation Council—a community organization that fosters collaboration between bankers and technologists in the Charlotte region, driving innovation and growth in Financial Services.

Fahad Saleh is an Associate Professor of Finance and the Nunnenkamp-Cinelli Faculty Fellow at Wake Forest University. He is also an Associate Editor at Management Science and a founding member of the Crypto and Blockchain Economic Research (CBER) Forum. His research focuses on economic questions associated with blockchain technology and has been published in leading academic journals such as Management Science, the Review of Financial Studies, and the Journal of Financial Economics. Moreover, his work has received several awards, including Wake Forest University’s Cowan Faculty Research Award and the Western Finance Association’s Cubist Systematic Strategies Award.

Fahad holds a PhD in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He also holds graduate and undergraduate degrees, both in Operations Research Engineering, from Columbia University and Cornell University respectively.

$45 Members/$60 Non-Members