All posts by Emily Walker

International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Emily gave a key note on “It is possible to create success” hosted by Florian Krueger at Craft Coin Company sponsored by Dr Jane Thomason of Fintech Worldwide at Elephant & Castle Mercato in London.

Some key take-aways from my 35 years professional career largely in financial services– most of it as a single mom with 2 daughters moving between Washington, DC, London and NY multiple times – are the following:

  • Find opportunities in unexpected places – be creative in your approach
  • Look for a good boss who supports and trusts you whom you respect and from whom you can learn. Hope they can become a mentor.
  • Don’t wear your challenges on your shoulder – get on with the task at hand and do whatever it takes to get the job done with respect.
  • Be culturally sensitive but not offended
  • Succeeding is never easy, challenges occur but don’t let them derail you
  • Work-life balance doesn’t exist in a high-powered career, but in spite of the balance problem, you can make it work for your family.
  • Walk the talk for your children to set the example; make them a part of your journey. Allow them to see they are privileged to have the experiences you provided them and trust they will carry on using those privileges to do something great in their lives whatever that may be I do believe we need more women in tech and other difficult fields, more women on boards, more women in senior positions, and more women entrepreneurs. But we have to get there ourselves. We have to be bold and take the challenge. We won’t follow the traditional male path, but must be creative, say ‘yes and how’, not “it’s not possible”. We must encourage and help each other. It’s not easy, particularly with a family. BUT IT CAN BE DONE. In the blockchain/crypto space there are plenty of women. And hopefully there will be more. It’s no more difficult than any other topic and since this space is a new “tech”, we don’t face a longstanding male dominated sector. Hopefully that will spur new entrants and help solidify the role of women in this space.

CryptoAM 20 Awards

Emily presented the CryptoAM 2020 Annual Award for Social Impact & Sustainability to Richard Ells, CEO and founder of Electroneum, on behalf of Fintech Worldwide Dr Jane Thomason & James Bowater

CryptoAM appears weekly in CityAM newspaper London.  Its’ weekly page devoted to Blockchain and crypto currencies is widely read by the community.  The Crypto Awards culminated 2 weeks of London Blockchain activities which encompassed numerous activities, conferences, and events.  Emily spoke at 4 of these events including at the Italian Embassy in Grosvenor Square where the discussion focused on Innovation in Italy and the UK.

CBDCs at Blockchain

Emily chaired a panel on CBDCs at Blockchain week in London sponsored by Fintech Worldwide.

4 key themes of this discussion: 1) Why are we talking about this 2) What is a definition of CBDC 3) Who are international regulators involved and what are Central Banks actually doing in this space and 4) what are the geopolitical implications.

Some points that I made during the panel discussion:

“A common critique of cryptocurrency in general, including stablecoins, is that governments are protective of their right to control the issuance of currency and supply of money.”  CBDC’s are a result of this view.

Listening to the Fed Chairman Jay Powell testify to Capitol Hill two weeks ago, he said:  “Libra lit a fire to our thinking.  It is ‘systemically important”, fully appreciate the need for a quick process to review issues including ‘cyber, privacy, operational’.  We have an ‘adequate visibility on China’s potential’ in this area.

So Libra lit a fire, but the work in this area has been going on in earnest prior to Libra.

Central banks are considering CBDC for two main reasons: Declining use of cash in advanced economies and financial inclusion in emerging market and developing economies

One of the major problems in blockchain/crypto space is a common taxonomy.  Words are used commonly, but definitions are not commonly held.  This is particularly true in the area of CBDC.  The lexicon is muddled at best between economists, Central Banks, and laymen (aka us).

A number of Central Banks are researching this topic, some have instituted a CBDC, and others are in pilot stages.

In addition, international bodies are involved.

  • There is some coordination going on at the BIS level having announced the formation of  a working group in January.  “The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank and the Swiss National Bank, together with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), have created a group to share experiences as they assess the potential cases for central bank digital currency (CBDC) in their home jurisdictions.

The group will assess CBDC use cases; economic, functional and technical design choices, including cross-border interoperability; and the sharing of knowledge on emerging technologies. It will closely coordinate with the relevant institutions and forums – in particular, the Financial Stability Board and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI).

The group will be co-chaired by Benoît Cœuré, Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, and Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the CPMI. It will include senior representatives of the participating institutions.”

  • The World Economic Forum issued a “The World Economic Forum’s CBDC Policy‑Maker Toolkit seeks to address the need for a concise CBDC decision guide that provides comprehensive and risk‑aware information to policy‑makers. This document serves as a possible framework to ensure that any CBDC deployment fully considers the costs as well as the potential benefits”.
  • The IMF has written a number of staff reports and blogs on the topic including and clearly will be at the center of the monitoring of Central Bank monetary policy as a result of potential implementation of CBDCs.

In addition, many Central Banks are experimenting.  Some are further along than others and there is a differentiation between Developed country Central Banks and those in the developing world where currency stability and payments system inadequacies are rampant.

CSSC Gala Dinner in London

Emily attended the CSSC Gala Dinner in London as a Board Member. Photograph with Richard Barnes, Former Deputy Mayor London and Janet Williams, Former Assistant Commissioner Met Police London.

The Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) initiative, was founded in June 2011 by a team of senior security experts, with the aim of building a messaging platform, to facilitate communications between the private and public sectors, on issues surrounding security and business resilience.

The initial focus of CSSC was to help businesses prepare for business as usual in the lead up to, and during the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The initiative was formed on a partnership basis between law enforcement, government departments and nearly every industry sector that operates in the capital and beyond. Industry Sector Leads (ISLs) were identified for each industry, with a remit to participate in briefing calls and events, and disseminate appropriate messaging conveying “one single truth” to their networks.

Since launching, the CSSC has helped companies prepare for scenarios ranging from counter terrorism, cyber crime, public order events, environmental and transportation issues, to hostile reconnaissance, fraud and security alerts.

The success of the initiative led to expansion to other regions of the UK. CSSC Scotland was formed in 2013 to prepare for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and this was followed by a CSSC hub being established covering the six ‘Eastern’ counties. During 2018 and 2019 CSSC hubs have been created for all other regions throughout the UK.

EBRD Alumni Reception

Emily Attended The Annual EBRD Alumni Reception In London 2020.

Emily was the first US Director at the EBRD establishment in 1991.  She participated in the negotiations to set up the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) after the fall of the Berlin wall.  It opened in April 1991.  The unique factors that caused the set-up of the Bank to lend to the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union created an institution focused on democracy and private sector development. The Agreement to set up the EBRD contained unique elements relative to other international organizations today or at that time.  Meeting up with former colleagues of such an historically important institution is nostalgic!

Summit at Davos

Emily spoke at the Crypto Valley (CV) Summit at Davos in January.

Emily Landis Walker offered her input on regulations and compliance relating to hashtag#digitalassets at the ‘Regulatory Approaches’ panel at the Crypto Valley Association Summit in hashtag#Davos.

Her main points are as follows:

  • The US is clearly a desired location for BC/Crypto operators as it is a market with a concentrated, desirable area of opportunity and due process. Projects need to operate within the law of the US in order to succeed.
  • Unfortunately, the navigation of the crypto regulatory framework in the US is difficult at best and only for those who are willing to circumnavigate the regulations and comply to access the market. This is time-consuming, complex, and costly, particularly for a start-up.
  • The largest obstacle to innovation in the US in the blockchain/crypto space is the lack of coherent and defined ‘legal and regulatory’ framework application to these projects. As the industry matures, the regulators become more educated and the rules become more clear, but no single agency can claim jurisdiction for crypto and agencies have vastly different interpretations of the relevant laws under their remit.
  • Over 20 trade associations and lobbyists are claiming to work in this space in Washington alone. They are not united in thought or process and the message is muddled, confusing to the recipients, and largely ineffective in driving unified clarity from the regulators.
  • The key features that make the US regulatory market difficult to navigate fall in 3 categories:
  • Federal Regulators are many – not one – with conflicting views based on their jurisdiction.
  1. In addition, they report to different committees in Congress:
  2. The main agencies -SEC, CFTC, CFPB -are independent (not reporting to a government agency). FINCEN, OFAC, and IRS are part of the US Treasury but the Secretary has no other official power to pull the independent agencies with Treasury departments into congruity.
  3. Congressional committees who have jurisdiction over these agencies (not including appropriations or oversight, do not have consensus on what they are going to do in the Crypto space and there is no impetus by, significant understanding or seniority in Committees from the Congressmen who sit on the Congressional blockchain caucus, to make it happen. And as you are all aware – it is not a priority.
  4. The attributes of cryptocurrencies and their usages cross all agencies. Traditional financial instruments do not – the traditional financial regimes normally fit under one agencies’ remit.  Hence the problem.
  5. Conflicting views are fundamental between these agencies: is a token a security, a commodity, an exchange of value???  Does the operator fall within money transmitter laws?  And in all cases does the operator comply with AML/KYC and OFAC sanctions regulations.
  • States are separate and have their own laws. g. money transmitter and other licenses and one must be compliant per state.  A project must be compliant in any state it touches residents.
  • There is no national strategy or a location for one (which rarely works anyway) nor is there likely to be one.

What does that mean for you?

  • Working in the US does NOT involve where the operation is located, but if your project touches American citizens.

Digital Impact Week

Emily Speaks on Panel at Digital Impact Week in London November 2019 “Future Predictions”

Hosted by Dr. Jane Thomason, CEO of Fintech Week, Emily discussed the role of regulations and their current lack of clarity in shaping the future of blockchain/cryptocurrency usage globally.  She argues that there is a need for global consistent clarity on the treatment of cryptocurrencies in order to move the eco-system forward.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y602Z6pnwAY&list=PLqD6iZ9zx8SnoPcf1bSTHcHttZlGS8ehK&index=13&t=0s

 

INSEEC U.

Emily participates as Judge in INSEEC U. pitch series in London November 2019

Fabulous pitching session with our startup seminar group @INSEEC U. in London! Thanks to everyone involved Pyxo Anna Carel Gigascope EIYU Avenir Santé Afrique (ST SolutionS) Morvan BARBAROUX and special thanks to jury members Founders Factory Français à Londres Startup Funding Club bim! business accelerator Emily Landis Walker Perdie Alder aisling byrne.

Resilience First Briefing in London

Emily participates in Resilience First Briefing in London “Keeping London’s Traffic Moving”

As a previous Board member of London First Security and Resiliency and current Board member of the CSSC – both designed to make London a safer city-  Emily attended a session held by Resilience First www.resiliencefirst.org with a profoundly interesting keynote address by Gareth Powell, Managing Director, Surface Transport, Transport for London (TFL).  The key take-aways show that TFL has been significantly innovative in technology and AI which manage the transport system that keeps this city moving providing open source data and sharing with and learning from other cities.  The sophistication of the monitoring systems, while not noticeable to the average traveler, is significantly valuable to avert accidents and to keep the transport moving with all the events, weather conditions, and normal disruptions.

Summer in London

Emily Enjoys her Summer in London!

A shout out to Richard Thoburn for hosting a fabulous event at the Henley Regatta

Life is not all work;  sometimes a girl has to have fun!  The summer season in London includes so many fun events like the Henley Regatta, Wimbeldon, Glynebourne Opera, combined with family gatherings such as engagement parties, baby showers and weddings, and visits to the Cotswolds.  Add on beautiful weather and London becomes magical.  So thankful to be a US and UK citizen, even if both of our countries are facing challenging issues.