Zoe is an experienced entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Neufund. Neufund "brings ownership back to the people" and "enhances real-world assets with legally enforceable security tokens." In December 2018, Zoe led Neufund to the first successful offering of tokenized equity to the general public over a week-long pre-sale and week-long public sale raising €3.4 million.
Prior to Neufund, she founded the tech companies Xyo, Priori Data, and Concise Software.
Zoe has also acted as a mentor to the Gaza Sky Geeks organization, where she promotes technology, entrepreneurship, and blockchain in the challenging area of the Gaza Strip.
Since launch, Andrey has led the charge on the sale of atoms from Snark.art's first piece of art, 89 seconds atomized, completely selling out the pre-sale in less than 48 hours.
Andrey has seamlessly transitioned from a CEO and leader in other industries and now intends to introduce many incredible artists to the magic of using blockchain as a creative medium.
Andreas Antonopoulos is a best-selling author, speaker, educator, and easily one of the most well-known bitcoin advocates.
His books, Mastering Bitcoin, The Internet of Money, The Internet of Money Volume Two, and Mastering Ethereum are arguably some of the best published pieces on the technical aspects of blockchain and philosophical reasoning of bitcoin.
Andreas obtained his degree in Computer Science and Data Communications and Distributed Systems and started consulting on open source and open networks in the early 1990s.
Kevin April is bringing blockchain into the mainstream with SportsCastr.Live — a live streaming company based in New York City that allows users to be color commentators and enables viewers to select which sportscaster they wish to have call, recap or make predictions on a game. Founding partners include some major names in sports like David Stern, Vernon Davis, and Steve Smith. FanChain is the blockchain-based decentralized ecosystem that powers SportsCastr.
As an Entrepeneur-in-Residence (EIR) at SGI Merchant Bank in New York, Kevin provides advice to high-growth startups navigating value creation options and lab-to-market paths, and consults with talented executives to help them bring their ideas to fruition.
Check out the podcast that we did with Kevin last year.
Chris is the co-founder of Placeholder, a New York-based VC firm that specializes in cryptoassets. Before Placeholder, he worked at ARK Investment Management as the first buy-side analyst to cover cryptoassets, driving the firm's decision to invest in bitcoin in 2015. His commentary has been featured on national media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, and Forbes.
Chris also co-authored the best-seller, Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond and has over 113,000 Twitter followers, making him one of the most influential voices in the blockchain space.
Alex is a great example of a leader of a traditional company entering the blockchain space after many years. He's the founder of preCharge, a risk management company. preCharge was founded in 2004 and counts Equiax, TransUnion, and Sony as past clients. Over the past few years, they've been committed to assisting cryptocurrency and blockchain companies managing the risk, legal, and technical aspects of their projects.
Last year, Alex led preCharge through their ICO, which raised $22 million. The company is also creating the preCharge Blockchain eXchange, a nonprofit Community forum for the open development of blockchain technology.
Meltem is a cryptocurrency investor, advisor, and advocate, with experience in both legacy and blockchain-based finance. She's worked with some of the largest companies in the world on financial risk management and capital efficiency. On the blockchain-based finance side, she has extensive experience on portfolio management and network development, beginning in the early days of cryptocurrency ecosystem development.
In her role at CoinShares , a digital asset manager, she creates investment products to provide institutional investors with exposure to crypto assets and blockchain companies. She's also the managing director of the firm’s U.S. operations
Additionally, Meltem is guest lecturer at the MIT Media Lab and Lecturer at Oxford University's course on blockchain technology.
Sometimes referred to as the "Bitcoin Queen" by media, Olga is an entrepreneur focused on the intersection of banking and blockchain technology. She was formerly a Commercial Managing Partner at Xapo, one of the largest bitcoin custodians, where she enabled the first bitcoin license in Switzerland.
Olga is also a compelling speaker and global influencer, named as a top 100 digital shaper, top 10 female blockchain founder, and top 100 power women in fintech (UK).
Fereshteh is a native of Afghanistan and has her bachelor's in computer science and her master’s from Technical University of Berlin in Germany. She has taught as a professor of computer science at Herat University and in January 2015, she founded Code to Inspire, the first coding school for girls in Herat, Afghanistan.
Fereshteh is a great example of someone using blockchain for good. After she found out about cryptocurrency, she experimented with it with her students by creating wallets for each of them and sending bitcoin back and forth. In an interview with Coinbase, Fereshteh said:
“One of the main challenges I face in my work helping girls in Afghanistan is getting them paid for the work that they do. None of the girls have bank accounts — people in Afghanistan don’t really trust banks. Also to have a bank account, you need a lot of ID, which a decent amount of people in Afghanistan don’t have. And we don’t want to send the money to family members, because with a lot of these girls, their families just take their money. One thing that’s great about crypto with this community is its privacy.
I see a lot of people trying to solve problems around payment and crypto. But to be honest, all of these projects ignore conflict zones. What they create usually serves the privileged: people who have bank accounts, countries with good infrastructure.
This may sound crazy, but maybe the solution could come from one of our students."
Giancarlo is an American attorney and former business executive who currently serves as chairman of the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Giancarlo has been affectionately referred to as "Crypto Dad” for his congressional testimony in which he defended cryptocurrency and warned legislators not to dismiss it just because of its appeal to younger investors.
In 2018, he stated in an interview with CNBC:
"There’s a whole section of the world that really is hungry for functioning currencies that they can’t find in their local currencies. There’s 140 countries in the world, every one of them has a currency. Probably two-thirds of them are not worth the polymer or the paper they’re written on, and those parts of the world rely on hard currencies.
Bitcoin cryptocurrency may solve some of the problems. But whether it is Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, we are not talking two years, we are probably talking ten years.”
Arthur is one of the many, but one of the most influential, traditional finance professionals who has successfully transitioned into crypto. He has his bachelor's in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and moved to Hong Kong to work as an equity derivatives trader for Deutsche Bank and Citigroup for five years.
He co-founded BitMEX (Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange), a crypto derivatives marketplace, in 2014. BitMEX offers futures contracts that let investors make leveraged bets of up to 100 to 1. They brought in $83 million in revenue in 2017 and $21 million during the first 30 days of January 2018 alone.
Natalia is a seasoned entrepreneur. She founded her first company at the age of 19. In addition to being a managing owner of MP Group Ltd , a real estate development firm, a software engineer, and an expert in sustainable urban development, she's also the CEO and co-founder of Propy.
Propy is a global property store and decentralized title registry built on the Ethereum blockchain. Propy has already handled several successful real estate transactions, acting as one of the first true use cases for the technology. Built on the mission of alleviating issues such as contract fraud, exorbitant fees, and the time consuming multi-step process to complete transactions, Propy provides one single platform to help remedy these common pain points for both buyers and sellers.
Tawanda founded Golix, Zimbabwe's first cryptocurrency exchange, in 2014.
Having been writing software since he was 13, Tawanda immediately understood the positive social and economic value of bitcoin when he first heard about it in 2012.
“We have had the worst type of inflation in Zimbabwe, where the government was printing as much money as it could to mitigate larger economic problems.
I witnessed the world my family had built over so many generations just vanish because we couldn’t take the money out of the bank fast enough so it ended up becoming worthless.”
He faced more of these issues in 2018 right before Golix launched their ICO. Their plans were disrupted when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe banned banks from processing cryptocurrency transactions in the country. Golix was ordered to cease operations, but the exchange successfully obtained a court ruling overturning this move.
Tawanda clearly has many hurdles, but has already brought Golix into Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya, and is working towards cryptocurrency adoption across all of Africa.
Read more from "The Zimbabwean Engineer Bringing Cryptocurrency to Aftrica"
Travis is another great corporate to crypto success story. He spent ten years in traditional finance before founding Ikigai Asset Management, a long/short multistrat hedge fund investing in crypto assets. Ikigai was just launched last year and Travis has already made a name for himself as a crypto advocate - stating that he's bullish on its adoption and impact for the long haul.
Before Ikigai, he was a L/S Equity Portfolio Manager ($200mm) at Point72 ($90bn) through 2017. Prior to that, Travis was an Energy Analyst at Magnetar Capital ($4.6bn), investing across the capital structure in L/S equities and non-control private equity and debt.
Easily one of the most well-known names on this list, you most likely know Charlie as the founder of Litecoin. An MIT grad and Google alum, he has a wealth of impressive crypto experience, being involved in blockchain since 2011 and as the former director of engineering at Coinbase. He created Litecoin in 2011 as a complement to bitcoin with quicker confirmations and a different mining algorithm.
Hate it or love it, Litecoin has been established as one of the top cryptocurrencies by market cap and major Ethereum challenger. At the end of 2018, it made mainstream news as the first cryptocurrency to sponsor a UFC event, displaying their logo in the octagon.
Alexandra “Sasha” Levin Kramer is a partner at the global law firm of CKR Law LLP, and the Founding Chair of its Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency practice group of over 50 attorneys world-wide, who provide U.S. and foreign clients including startups, cryptofunds, investors, advisors and more with legal advice in underlying legal specialties such as securities, real estate, intellectual property, banking, tax, finance, corporate, investment funds, employment and litigation.
Alexandra was also the President of the International Blockchain Real Estate Association and currently serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.
Upset by the lack of recognition for women in crypto, Alexandra co-founded Women on the Block to put the spotlight on the hundreds of women already thriving in cryptocurrency and blockchain. For this venture, she's been named as one of Entrepreneur Magazine's 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs in 2018, alongside Elon Musk and Chance the Rapper.
aka Ivan on Tech!
Ivan is an international speaker, blockchain educator, software developer and data scientist. Ivan’s YouTube channel, Ivan on Tech, boasts 190,000+ subscribers and spreads practical knowledge about blockchain technology. Ivan makes the complex simple by delivering entertaining and exciting talks.
He also offers online blockchain courses that include Blockchain Deep Fundamentals, Smart Contract Programming, and Blockchain Business Master Class.
Prior to Bakkt, Kelly has held several positions at International Exchange since 2002, including Chief Communications & Marketing Officer, Head of Investor Relations, and Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Marketing and Investor Relations.
Bakkt is a platform that will allow institutional customers to perform various operations with digital assets as part of a seamless global network. Bakkt has been in the news a lot lately, as Kelly announced the completion of their first round of funding, raising $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors.
Additionally, Bakkt made its first acquisition, as Kelly announced "we have entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets of Rosenthal Collins Group (RCG), an independent futures commission merchant with nearly 100 years of earning clients’ trust."
Caitlin is a 22-year Wall Street veteran who has been active in bitcoin since 2012, and whose passion is achieving a fair and stable financial system.
While running Morgan Stanley’s pension solutions business, holding senior roles at Credit Suisse, and starting her career at Salomon Brothers, Caitlin noticed a lot of inaccuracies in Wall Street's ledger systems. She turned to blockchain to try to fix these problems, and from 2016-2018 acted as chairman and president of Symbiont, an enterprise blockchain company, where she jointly spearheaded blockchain delivery of index data to Vanguard.
In 2018, Caitlin made headlines by driving unprecedented blockchain legislation in her native state of Wyoming. Five bills were enacted as the first elected body to recognize utility tokens as a new form of property.
Dr. Lu, who holds a Ph.D. in Particle Physics and worked at CERN, is the founder of 5miles, an app that allows you to to buy and sell secondhand goods and services in your neighborhood. The blockchain arm of 5miles, CyberMiles, was launched in 2017.
This new blockchain network is specifically designed and optimized for online marketplaces like 5miles. In 2018, Dr, Lu partnered with billionaire, Mark Cuban, in an effort to mainstream cryptocurrency with "the world’s first true utility token, the CyberMiles Token (CMT)."
Buyers and sellers can use CMT for everyday transactions of goods and services in online marketplaces such as 5miles and NYSE-traded LightInTheBox—the first of many commercial applications to decentralize on the CyberMiles blockchain.
Shiv Madan heads up Blockparty, "the leading blockchain-based event ticketing platform." Shiv leads Blockparty’s business functions, including client acquisition, business development, and finance. Blockparty’s platform enables ticket sellers to earn a share of secondary ticket sales, track a ticket in the primary and secondary market, and prevent fake ticket sales. It also provides a reward mechanism that enables ticket sellers to reward fans and influencers for promoting and re-selling tickets. Its technology utilizes digital identity and smart contracts that are unique to blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrency. Blockparty is backed by leading blockchain investor and former Fortress Investment Group partner Michael Novogratz.
Prior to founding Blockparty, Shiv was COO at Time Inc’s NME music magazine. He also co-owned and operated a 20,000+ person music festival and college tours, and was founder and CEO of a wearable data startup.
Alex has become a staple in the tech community. He is one of the inventors of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), with a foundational patent dating back to 1994 and is now working on MOIP (Money Over Internet Protocol) technology. Over 35 patents have been issued to Alex, relating to exchanges, VOIP protocols, messaging and communication. As a founder of seven New York City-based startups, Alex has raised more than $1 billion and exited over $3 billion.
Impressive stats, to say the least! In 2017, Mashinsky co-founded Celsius Network on the belief that "banking is broken" - a sentiment felt by many in the crypto space. Celsius is a decentralized P2P loans platform built around the Celsius Wallet. Celsius is among the only online cryptocurrency wallets that pay the highest interest income and charge the lowest interest rates on dollar loans. Additionally, they promise to match or beat any written offer.
Bill is the CEO and visionary behind the Free Speech Crypto Social Network, Minds.com, dubbed as a “Facebook Killer.” The social network has attracted millions of users around the world and has continued to be a trailblazer in the technology world with the launch of the Minds Crypto Token in 2018. A leader in fighting against censorships and defending user rights, security and free speech, Bill has a passion for equality and justice in the digital world.
Bill is also a former advisor for Code to Inspire, founded by Fereshteh Forough - also on this list.
We were lucky enough to have Bill on The Roundtable podcast last year - check it out here.
Hester Peirce serves as Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Prior to joining the Commission, Commissioner Peirce served as Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Financial Markets Working Group (now Program on Financial Regulation) at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. While at the Mercatus Center, Commissioner Peirce’s research explored how financial markets foster economic growth and prosperity and the role well-designed regulation plays in protecting investors and consumers while promoting financial stability and innovation. Commissioner Peirce co-edited two books, authored publications, testified before Congress, and served on the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee.
She has drawn attention for frequent votes against enforcement actions and calling on the SEC to moderate how it imposes fines against companies and some individuals.
But it was the vote she cast in July of 2018—Peirce was the only one in favor of allowing what would have been the first retail investment fund tied to bitcoin—that won her the nickname "Crypto Mom" from crypto enthusiasts. It's always encouraging to see individuals who wield political power using that power for good and fighting against those we see as stifling innovation.
Eric has more than 20 years of global experience in highly regulated industries such as banking, payment, supply chain and life science. He spent 11 years at Deloitte Consulting, where he founded the Global Blockchain practice and grew the blockchain team from three people in 2012 to the 1,200 people it is today. Eric joined Citizens Reserve in early 2018 to help develop the company and launch its blockchain-based platform, SUKU.
SUKU aims to revolutionize the supply chain through its industry agnostic ‘supply chain-as-a-service’ platform. SUKU utilizes blockchain to simplify global logistics, provide full traceability of products from suppliers all the way to retailers, and cut expensive currency conversion costs and fees from intermediaries.
You've probably heard of this armyman turned investor through his popular podcast Off The Chain, where he interviews big names in the crypto and blockchain community. Fans love his ability to merge crypto and Wall Street and provide non-speculative information. He also boasts over 185,000 Twitter followers, clearly making him one of the most popular thought leaders in blockchain.
He was the founder of Full Tilt Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund, founded in 2016. Full Tilt was acquired by Morgan Creek Capital Management in Q1 2018.
Paul is the CEO and Co-founder of Edge, a mobile wallet and single-sign-on security platform for blockchain and cryptocurrency applications.
In addition to running Edge (formerly Airbitz), he has been a tremendous advocate for consumer adoption in the cryptocurrency space. Paul works tirelessly to fulfill his vision of bringing crypto mainstream with products aimed at simplifying usage without sacrificing security.
He is also a positive influence for leaders and beginners in the space, serving as a mentor and lecturer throughout the year.
A self-proclaimed "finance nerd" Qayyum started trading stocks in Kenya when he was just 12.
A former traditional finance professional, Qayyum held positions at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, RBC Dominion Securities, and Sentry Investments. He spent his free time learning about data science and blockchain technology, leading up to him co-founding iComply in August, 2017.
The Vancouver-based iComply aims to automate and streamline regulatory compliance processes for digital securities. Long-term, his goal is to to help create opportunities for blockchain-based technology to mobilize capital, especially in developing countries like Kenya, where he spent the bulk of his childhood.
Yael has more than 15 years experience as an entrepreneur and is also a mentor and startup advisor for Google. In 2017, she founded Blockchain Israel, the largest organization in Israel dedicated to blockchain solutions and crypto technology.
Blockchain Israel has hosted hackathons and partnered with Microsoft to present Blockchain Academy – the first and most comprehensive blockchain courses for CTOs, R&D leaders and senior developers in Israel. Blockchain Academy hosts 12 weekly classes around 8 core chapters of blockchain designed to provide a deep dive into this new technology and develop relevant industry use cases.
Laura boasts a successful career in journalism, formerly as a Forbes senior editor managing coverage of crypto assets, Bitcoin, Ethererum, cryptocurrencies, ICOs, tokens and blockchain technology. She was the co-lead reporter on the Forbes Fintech 50 list and wrote a magazine cover story on initial coin offerings.
Now she hosts the popular, highly-rated podcasts Unchained: Big Ideas From the Worlds of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency and Unconfirmed: Insights and Analysis From the Top Minds in Crypto. With over 108,000 Twitter followers, Laura is clearly a major thought leader in the space.
You've probably seen him featured in the Netflix documentary, Banking on Bitcoin, as he founded the Bitcoin Center NYC, but Nick has been a tech staple for many years. He founded the Bitcoin Center to educate people about bitcoin, blockchain, and promote trading.
He has over thirty years of experience in technology and politics and is a thought leader in blockchain. An early pioneer of the technology, Nick founded Blockchain Technologies Corporation in 2013. He also founded Mining Bot, a cryptocurrency mining platform, Cryptos.com, a Blockchain news platform, Votewatcher, a patented Blockchain voting system and Zap.org, a platform that allows users to create, publish and subscribe to smart contract and decentralized application compatible data feeds. He has also attempted to expand the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to Native American tribes and communities.
We caught up with Nick last year at Token Fest - check out the video here.
A multi-disciplined entrepreneur and blockchain evangelist, Fran co-founded Techemy and Brave New Coin and has been deeply involved in the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities from their earliest days. Techemy is a venture company builder for businesses in the crypto and blockchain industry and Brave New Coin is a data and research company focused on the blockchain and cryptographic assets industry founded in 2014.
Describing his mission in life as “terraforming the digital asset landscape” he is a sought-after industry thought leader and is also the co-founder of Blockchain Labs and the Dasset exchange.
Dr. Taylor is the co-founder of SIMBA Chain, a cloud-based, blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, enabling users across a variety of skill sets to implement dApps. The goal of SIMBA is to democratize blockchain so that anyone can develop dApps. In November 2018, it was announced that SIMBA Chain had been awarded a government contract that will see the U.S. Air Force leverage its platform as it explores how blockchain technology can improve its logistics and supply chain capabilities. The complexity of the Air Force's supply chain and logistics network is an ideal use case for blockchain - and this team is bringing the technology to the forefront.
Dr. Taylor is also a computational scientist at the CRC at Notre Dame, an incoming professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame, and a Reader in Cardiff University, UK.
Michael has more than 25 years of PR agency management, but his latest venture is heading up Transform Group, "the world leader in blockchain and ICO PR and advisory services," serving more than 200 ICO clients.
He has led the PR efforts for blockchain companies and foundations, including some of the leading token crowdsales. Client successes include the launches of Augur, Counterparty, Dash, Ethereum, Factom, Golem Network, Lisk, MaidSafe, Tether, as well as ongoing campaigns for Bittrex and Shapeshift.
Jules is the CEO and founder of OTOY, a cloud graphics company that was created on the mission of making complex rendering capabilities faster and more accessible to the masses. In the 10 years since its founding, OTOY has been backed by some of the most respected industry veterans, including JJ Abrams, Ari Emanuel, and Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt, and its technology has been used to create visuals in major productions, including Westworld, Star Wars: Rogue One, and The Avengers.
Earlier this year, Jules and his team unveiled RNDR, a blockchain-based rendering platform that incentivizes a self-sustaining ecosystem that harnesses the power of idle GPUs across the world to make producing quality visuals faster and cheaper. RNDR helps content creators, scientists, and anyone else requiring complex rendering activity the ability to render advanced visual works at a much faster and more affordable rate, while also more safely and securely storing their creations.
Bridget is the leader of IBM's blockchain division, comprised of 1,500 team members (that's kind of a big deal!). She leads a business unit that conceives, develops, and scales disruptive software cloud platforms for specific industries; opens new markets for the Watson artificial intelligence platform; and has established IBM as the clear leader in the emerging market for blockchain.
She is also responsible for IBM's global strategic partnerships and alliances with industry leaders such as Apple, SAP, Workday and Salesforce.
Bridget brings more than 20 years of business experience to her current role. Since 2011, she has been listed as one of Fortune Magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business."
David founded Wachsman in 2015 to provide public relations support to the rapidly growing bitcoin ecosystem. Since then, he has become globally recognized by market leaders for building the largest and most prominent professional services firm for companies exploring emerging technologies and blockchain. Wachsman specializes in providing strategic advisory, public relations consulting, events management and production, and corporate development services.
David helps innovative startups accelerate and empower forward-looking enterprises and institutions, representing clients with more than $5 billion in total market capitalization. The agency offers a unique platform that helps clients go to market, build their brands on the global stage, become influential thought leaders, and protect their reputations throughout each phase of development.
He has grown the staff from one to nearly 100 people in under three years and has established offices in New York, Dublin, and Singapore. David helps Wachsman’s more than 120 clients thrive in an ever-more competitive global market.
We had David on our podcast last year - check it out here!
Nathaniel is a seasoned marketer who focuses on the intersection of new technology and traditional business, with a focus on how marketers can evolve their practices to meet changing consumer expectations. This ideal brought him into the crypto and blockchain space, where he works with crypto funds and projects to help them understand the market around them and communicate their opportunity.
A former CMO, Nathaniel now produces content and works on marketing and strategy with crypto companies through his site whittemore.io.
In 2015, he was named as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices in Marketing.
Joseph is a financial analyst and investor who has worked in the cryptocurrency and technology sector since 2013.
He has worked with leading publications within the cryptocurrency space, providing unique insights, interviews, market analysis, and technology coverage. His contributions include: Cointelegraph, CryptoSlate, CCN, Forbes, Hacked, Binary District, NewsBTC, CoinJournal and CryptoInsider.
For most, CZ needs no introduction!
He is the founder and CEO of Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange. With a networth of over $1 billion, he was named #3 in Forbes' list of the richest in crypto and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Binance is expected to lead the pack with the launch of their own decentralized exchange (DEX) in the near future.