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A Unified Voice for the Blockchain Industry Introducing DATA, the Digital Asset Trade Association.

  • by Alex Lightman
  • May 25, 2018
  • 0

A conversation between Alex Lightman and Alanna Gombert, Steering Committee, DATA

1.What does DATA stand for and who does DATA stand for?
DATA stands for the Digital Asset Trade Association and we seek to offer a unified credible legitimate voice for the 3,000 or so companies working hard to make the world a better place via Blockchain and cryptocurrency.

2.Why is the Blockchain industry important to the US? To the world?
Blockchain is the solution to a decentralized world, bringing disparate voices and incentives together to create a new paradigm.

3.Who came up with the idea for DATA? How did it come about?
We all came together around an idea that Jill Richmond sparked over a lunch almost a year ago. Many of us met in Davos and two weeks later convened in DC to form DATA. As a bit of historical lore, DATA was initially going to be named the Digital Currency Trade Association. Alanna Gombert asked to not use the word currency and John Wise immediately came up with the Digital Asset Trade Association and the corresponding acronym. DATA was born.

4.Who came up with the acronym? How is being received?
John Wise, CEO of Loci. The community loves it as it speaks to our mission. Protecting all digital assets: cryptocurrency, data, blockchain and new innovations like crypto commodities.

5.Who can join DATA as a member? What are the categories of membership?
Anyone can join!

6.What are the costs and benefits of DATA membership?

7.How does DATA make decisions?
We make decisions in a standard working group way. Our steering committee and founding board guide the organization and our specific working groups e.g. The Token Working Group drive strategy and policy.

8.DATA went 5-0 in Wyoming. That’s amazing. How did that happen? Who led that effort? What is the beneficial impact in the month or so since those victories?
Caitlin Long from the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition led the charge in Wyoming with a stellar support team that included David Pope and Rob Jennings. The DATA team including Brittany Kaiser, John Wise, and Alanna Gombert went on the ground in Wyoming and helped out wherever we could. Jill Richmond and Blain Rethmeier ran PR and media communications from offsite. Wyoming established that this team could work together to achieve great things.

9.What is DATA doing in Colorado?
We are in Colorado currently lobbying for a utility token definition and also money transmitter laws to be amended to support the blockchain and crypto industry. HB 1220 which deals with utility tokens passed the House of Representatives unanimously on April 12th, 2018. Alanna Gombert is working with Ally Medina and our DATA lobbyist Micki Hackenberger on the bill language and Jill Richmond testified in Colorado on April 12th with various members of the local blockchain community.

10.What is DATA doing in Utah?
There is a move in Utah with Sovrin and Evernym to establish specific identity legislation. More to come on this.

11.What is DATA doing in Virginia?
Because of MAE-East, for decades Virginia has been a hub for all Internet connectivity in the United States as well as the headquarters state for many government agencies and government contractors. We would like to mirror our work in Wyoming in Virginia, especially as it pertains to money transmitter laws and utility token definitions.

12.Did the Federal Reserve serve as a motivation for DATA? How?
The United States Federal Reserve, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and other agencies have all provided motivation for DATA. At least one of these entities asked DATA steering committee members to create a unified entity to speak with one voice for the industry, to bring order, coherence and clarity while building a community capable of some level of legitimate self-regulation. It is fascinating to watch all these agencies move so quickly to adapt to this ever-changing landscape and this new industry and smart evolving community of innovators.

The crypto/Blockchain companies in the United States want to stay in the United States, with clear guidance on specific asset classes especially utility/consumer tokens and direction on banking. They don’t want to have to move their lives and families just to work in the industry that they love and are good at, especially since many are excited about upgrading the US along with the rest of the world economy and financial markets, while increasing computer and network security. Trillions of dollars are moving around the world each day. It’s in the interests for our civilization to make this faster, less expensive, more secure, and more personalized and customized, while adhering to laws including Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering.

13.If a large donor gave, say, $100 million to DATA, would that be a smart move? What would DATA do with the money to put it to the highest and best use?
We are putting donation rules in place where we maintain a fair and balanced trade association. No one single individual or company or even government will have a majority vote within DATA and we will monitor and manage all donations and interactions accordingly so that our credibility and legitimacy is maintained and increased over time.

We would use all donations for the best interest of the crypto/blockchain/data industry in pursuit of favorable legislation, data as a human right, property rights for digital assets, and standard definitions so that we are all talking about the same thing when we talk with each other.

14.There has been a lot of attention on Brittany Kaiser. Has that impacted DATA? If so, how?
We are proud of Brittany Kaiser and the message she has been spreading after Cambridge Analytica. Her #ownyourdata campaign has all inspired us to consider data and self-sovereign control of data to be a basic human right.

15.Is DATA going to seek United Nations NGO status? What will you do if you get it?
This is on the agenda for the next steering committee meeting. More to come!

16.How will DATA make crypto more legit?
Legislation, education, and the preservation of decentralization. To maintain decentralization we must rally around a few basic tenants. DATA will work with the community to define and defend these basic truths.

Alanna Gombert – Global chief revenue officer, MetaX
As MetaX Global CRO, industry veteran Alanna Gombert oversees MetaX product creation, strategy, and go to market including the adChain and adToken dApps. Prior to MetaX, Alanna served as SVP, Technology & Ad Operations, IAB, and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. There she ran global advertising standards and was integral in the development of the industry response to ad blocking with LEAN, OpenRTB 3.0, and played a significant role in the creation of ads.txt, which provides power to publishers to publicly declare legitimate inventory sellers. She also broadened the Tech Lab’s global reach with rapid growth in Japan, China, and Europe.

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Alex Lightman is an MIT graduate (’83), attended graduate school at Harvard, and is the winner/recipient of four global technology awards, including the Economist magazine Reader’s Award for the “innovation that will most radically change the world” for this decade 2010-2020. He is a co-founder of Token Communities Plc., a Gibraltar corporation that invests in tokens; the CEO of a publicly traded energy company; and advisor to seven ICO/token sales, including Propy, Science, and Academy for Blockchain Technology mentioned in this article. He is the author of the first book on 4G wireless, Brave New Unwired World and the co-author, with Brett King, of the bestseller, Augmented: Life In The Smart Lane, which was no. 1 in seven different categories in 2016.