Robert Musiala Talks Blockchain, Bitcoin with MSIT Students

Musiala currently is Global Blockchain Counsel for BakerHostetler Law Firm

MSIT Director Randall Berry, left, with Robert Musiala, global blockchain counsel for BakerHostetler Law FirmMSIT Director Randall Berry, left, with Robert Musiala, global blockchain counsel for BakerHostetler Law Firm

By Snehil Mathur

Last month, my Northwestern MSIT classmates and I were treated to a conversation with Robert Musiala, who currently is Global Blockchain Counsel for BakerHostetler Law Firm. He previously was a manager at PwC, where he was a founding member of their blockchain practice.

The event was part of the program’s Lunchtime Tech/Leadership Talks, which are held twice a quarter.

Mr. Musiala talked with us about the concept of blockchain and the technologies behind it. The discussion was great, and I am sure everyone learned a lot from his talk.

The basic idea behind blockchain is that it is a public ledger that records all cryptocurrency transactions. The most recent transactions are compiled in blocks, and the blockchain is the accumulation of those blocks. The novelty of the blockchain is that it allows for digital currency to be tracked without a central source — like a bank — overseeing and controlling it.

BlockChain is closely connected to Bitcoin. Mr. Musiala went into a lot of detail about blockchain and Bitcoin, including how the cryptocurrency has been embraced by mainstream businesses — as well as criminals.

Beyond that, though, Mr. Musiala focused on the potentially larger impact of blockchain. He painted the bigger picture of what blockchain could do for enterprises and how it could be implemented into new innovations, like Ethereum, which wants to use blockchain to eliminate third-party Internet applications.

He also talked about the risks involved with embracing blockchain and the various regulations already imposed by the United States and foreign federal agencies.

I was looking forward to the talk because I wanted to understand more about blockchain technology and its role in the current technology space, and I definitely got that.

Having guest speakers like Mr. Musiala help us as students keep up with the latest technology trends and understand how they’ve evolved over time. We learn technology in the program, but the guest speakers add a broader picture to our learnings and show us how those technologies relate to business today.  

Snehil Mathur is a current student in the MSIT Full-Time program.