Blockchain Trade Assn. DATA Names Steven Lupien As First Executive Directorbr>
Steven Lupien has been appointed as the first executive director of the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA). DATA was founded earlier this year following the legislative success it helped to attain in Wyoming with the passage of five laws covering blockchain registration of businesses, the definition of open blockchain tokens, exempts virtual currency from the state’s money transmitter regulations, and exempts taxation.
In addition to his new duties, Lupien serves as the chief operating officer of American Certified Brands, LLC (ACB), owners of Wyoming Certified Beef, LLC and the creator of BeefChain and SheepChain. ACB is the first company that brings together Wyoming ranchers and consumers using multiple blockchain protocols, and the first blockchain organization to seek USDA approval.
Lupien previously held senior leadership roles in Five Star Products, Inc, IMS, Ltd/Land O’ Lakes Specialty Foods Group and served as managing director of the Special Interest Video Association (SIVA). Additionally, Lupien spent more than 20 years in various elected legislative roles in Connecticut. He lives in Greenwich, CT.
He answered some Block Tribune questions on the new role.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Where will you be based? Originally the plan was for offices in Wyoming and DC. Has that changed?
STEVE LUPIEN: DATA is domiciled in Wyoming and has an administrative office in Cheyenne; our CFO David Pope oversees this office. The new Executive Director, Steven Lupien, maintains an office in New York City to be near the financial and media centers and Alanna Gombert, CEO, and Jill Richmond, COO, are based in Los Angeles, to be closest to technology centers and giving DATA bi-coastal access. It is in our plans to open a Washington, DC office to facilitate greater access on a federal level in the future.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are the organization’s priorities over the next year?
STEVE LUPIEN: Our guiding principles are to speak with a unified, credible voice to media, consumers, and state and federal policymakers about the benefits of distributed ledger technology, blockchain and new asset classes. The upcoming election cycle gives us an opportunity to impact key races and to support candidates with legislative agendas which are friendly to our industry. We are presently creating a legislative scorecard that will clearly delineate candidate positions, and we’re providing educational support to any candidates that seeks to better understand our industry’s key domestic and macroeconomic issues. Additionally, our goal is to be recognized by policymakers and the industry as thebody setting best practices for the industry and we have formed numerous working groups to guide both the industry and policymakers.
Finally, it is our responsibility to provide certainty to our industry by positively influencing forthcoming laws and regulatory rule makings, providing guidance and interpretations, as well as by calling out bad actors that cast a negative light on our industry.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How is your focus differentiated from the other blockchain trade organizations?
STEVE LUPIEN: Our strength comes from our belief that change is born from affiliating and leveraging the strength of distributed organizations to focus on specific issues at a state/national level. DATA provides the infrastructure and support to our members, and affiliated organizations, to bring about positive change. An example is our work with the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, an independent affiliate, to support them in their successful efforts to get five industry-changing legislative bills passed. We have acted as a SWAT Team in many cases to support local leaders, organizations providing educational support and lobbying efforts in multiple state legislatures.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Some say we are in an ICO winter. What do you say?
STEVE LUPIEN: In 2Q18, ICO’s accounted for 45% of IPO fundraising – raising over $7.2B according to CoinDesk — up from 40% in 1Q18. Quite an accomplishment for an industry that’s only 3 years old. ICOs offer issuers several advantages over IPOs including covenants-free and preference-free sources of capital that is non-dilutive and poses significantly less friction costs. Unless\until traditional markets can offer similar solutions, the ICO market will continue to see growth.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What do you see as the growth areas for blockchain and cryptocurrency in the coming year?
STEVE LUPIEN: There are many exciting things happening in our industry from streamlining financial services, to innovative supply chain solutions. The most successful blockchain use cases may very well be the ones that are less visible to consumers and are seamlessly integrated into everyday applications. Blockchain is rapidly becoming the backbone of many new applications. Frankly, there are no areas that are not being disrupted by blockchain. We are also excited to see new types of token offerings taking shape, including asset-backed token offerings and STOs.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Will DATA have any international offices?
STEVE LUPIEN: We are initially focusing on domestic state and federal issues, but our membership is open to all organizations. We have teams which travel and work closely with other jurisdictions in parts of Asia and we have received several requests to begin to mimic our work overseas. Over the next year, we will begin to assess those requests.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Will you be doing any seminars or trade shows?
STEVE LUPIEN: DATA, our affiliate organizations, and our working groups will be hosting and participating in numerous events through the upcoming year. Our board and officers are asked to speak and keynote several trade shows this year across Los Angeles, Denver, New York and will be speaking on many international panels across Europe and Asia. Additionally, DATA will host our annual conference in Washington, DC early fall of 2019.