The UK Digital Currency Association (UKDCA) is a non-profit organisation established in November 2013 by over fifty individuals and businesses who are united by a single vision.
The 2015 UKDCA Board Elections will be held at this year’s AGM which will take place on Thursday 12th November 2015 at Barclays Escalator, 81 Palace Gardens Terrace, London, W8 4AT (starting at 18:30hrs) where a recommended 5 board members will be elected from the 11 nominees listed below.
Members that are eligible to vote have been notified of the election process.
For further information please email [email protected].
Diana Biggs is Vice President, Head of Growth and Partnerships, UK & EMEA at global digital currency platform, Uphold, where she helps drive the company’s work in cross-border payments, remittance and financial inclusion. Prior to Uphold, Diana spent 5 years with Oliver Wyman Financial Services, where she advised top-tier financial institutions, governments and investors across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Gulf, covering business transformation, strategy development, commercial due diligence, risk management frameworks and regulatory advisory. Relevant work includes:
Led an independent market analysis for a European government, include a survey of market sentiment and views, to inform potential regulatory changes for high-frequency trading
For a European government initiative, working with a group of high-level executives across Financial Services and government, performed an examination of international market competitiveness for financial markets
Evaluated market dynamics and growth opportunities for a range of investors across financial services globally
Advised corporate and investment banks in North America, the UK and Europe on global regulatory changes
Her other work experience includes serving as Chief Strategy Officer for Soko, a Kenya-based social enterprise leveraging mobile payments and technology to revolutionize models of international trade, and leading partnership development for microfinance platform Kiva.org in West Africa. She was recently named one of the top 25 Fintech Influencers in the UK by CityA.M. Diana holds a B.Sc. from McGill University and a Masters in Business from ESCP-EAP.
The UK is well positioned to serve as the leading global voice for digital currency – a leader in innovation, a leader in regulatory governance, a leader in fostering a positive, productive and fair environment both commercial and for consumers.
My vision and agenda are for the UKDCA to play a more active role in creating this conversation and to promote it in an inclusive and transparent manner. One aspect that attracts many of us to digital currency is that it is not the “old boy’s club” of traditional banking, and the UKDCA can help achieve this. Three areas that would be on my agenda if elected:
Increasing consumer awareness and education via a media relationships campaign, materials on the website, and creation of a newsletter
Working to drive industry participation and innovation by fostering involvement of and dialogue between start-ups, universities, corporates, accelerator programs. The UKDCA can serve as the connection between these parties, as well as to consumers, to government, to regulators and to financial institutions
Lobbying of government and regulators to voice the concerns and views of members, and to encourage dialogue and transparency in the use of the government’s committed funding for digital currency research
It’s been an honour to be a founding member and work with other members of the UKDCA. In getting involved, I have helped organise a number of our initiatives.
Political Briefing: briefing of many politicians and regulators, I’ve coordinated UKDCA members to go into parliament and put our case. We have been extraordinarily successful.
HM Treasury and government. I helped draft the UKDCA Government response, which has been used as the model for government policy. It’s needed some heavy lifting, and I have tried to take good a share of the unglamorous work to allow other (better looking) members to front up for us.
Voluntary open standards; will help build stability and credibility and we’re making good progress here, but it needs to be pushed over the line.
Meanwhile, I’m leading a company that is working to bring more value into digital currencies, so that miners get paid, developers get contracts and good ideas thrive. I’ve worked before in new emerging areas, and it’s important that everyone benefits.
Haven’t we come a long way in just 18 months? The UKDCA has made an huge positive impact, focussing our voluntary contributions so many of our members to great effect. I’d like to see that work continue.
Just last year, banks and lawyers would only speak to us off-premises and politicians thought we were all running guns or drugs. Now we are front page news on the Economist and front of mind with government and finance. This has all been achieved by volunteers in the UKDCA.
But we have to share all this around the members, and talk more about our impact. Our communication has to improve so that all members can take part and contribute. Slack is OK, but meetings need more transparency and more has to be done.
I’m working to bring more funds and investment into digital currencies to help us run bigger and better systems, help us grow the infrastructure, pay miners, developers and all those who contribute every day to innovative uses of digital currencies and the technology. Investment in ourselves as well as by others needs more certainty and stability.
In the year ahead, I commit to building on the good work by UKDCA members to promote the UK as a leader in global digital currency opportunities, a centre of positive change and developing:
Standards; with the help of BSi, and the excellent technical knowledge our members have.
Banking and Finance; pushing UK banks into supporting our members, businesses to adopt our ideas, getting legislators and politicians to bring on positive policy, as we have achieved with HM Treasury. We need to implement the plan for engaging these bodies as soon as possible.
Membership; we need to renew and expand our member base, and bring companies that are benefitting from our voluntary work into the UKDCA. The outreach program that Adam and Gabriella are running is critical. We need to be realistic about our resources, but look to apply good resources when they are offered.
Globally; working and cooperating with dc communities to open markets, share learnings and help build use and uses.
With limited resources, DCA members have invested time, energy and goodwill to bring UK to current position. The year ahead can see more opportunities to bring that success to a wider audience
Cedric Jeanson is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of BitSpread Ltd.
Cedric founded and managed Securitised Derivatives businesses for 15 years at JPMorgan, Barclays and BNP Paribas, offering financial products linked to equity and/or fixed income assets to institutional financial firms, private banks, wealth managers, family offices, hedge funds, HNWIs and retail distributors. Cedric developed a state-of-the-art Market Making IT system and received a Risk Award for the quality of the after-sale service he provided, quoting a tight secondary market simultaneously of thousands of financial products on internet platforms and exchanges, globally and 24 hours a day.
Cedric’s objective is to provide similar financial products linked to Digital FX to our shareholders with a top quality service.
Cedric received an M.Sc in Finance from HEC in 1997, an M.Sc in Computer Science from ISEP in Paris, an M.Sc in Advanced Systems from Brunel University in London, and a B.A. in Economics at the Sorbonne University, Paris.
It’s my vision to position London as the digital currency capital of the world.
My agenda for the UKDCA will be:
To promote the existing UK digital currency businesses on a worldwide basis with venture capitalists, financial firms and investment banks
To bring new funding to new digital currency businesses
To reach trade partnerships with key players (governments, supra-nationals and international companies)
Assist the regulators to optimise rules and regulations around the business
Stephen Kerbel is an international regulatory risk advisor to the digital payments industry His imprint has shaped the e-money sector. His client list includes IDT, Payoneer, Lebara, nTrust. Stephen is also a financial mediator ex IOB and FOS/FCA where his achievements include providing Gibraltar’s government, judiciary and financial industry with a road map towards cross-border third party dispute resolution
Paweł Kuskowski is head of the Regulatory Risk and Compliance practice at Wierzbowski Eversheds. He is a specialist in compliance and anti-money-laundering, with long experience conducting global projects for Polish and international financial institutions and cooperating with supervisory authorities.
During his professional career, he has worked at RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland), where he headed international efforts to combat money laundering, implementing global processes and solutions in this area, and at the Polish branch of the Swiss bank UBS as head of Compliance and Operational Risk. He also worked at a leading Irish law firm, Matheson Ormsby Prentice, where he advised clients on compliance. At AIG Investment in Ireland he was responsible for implementation of MiFID (the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) and MAD/MAR (the Market Abuse Directive and Market Abuse Regulation).
He has advised many financial institutions on implementing procedures to combat money laundering, creating compliance structures, and adapting the organization’s operations to comply with regulatory requirements. From his many years of involvement in cooperation between a range of entities and both national and international regulators, he knows the market well and the directions it is moving.
For the past four years he has served as president of the board of Compliance Association Poland, with members from a hundred firms and institutions, cooperating with the Polish Financial Supervision Authority, the General Inspector of Financial Information, the Polish Chamber of Brokerages, and the Warsaw Stock Exchange. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Compliance Association.
He has extensive experience in crytocurrencies (Bitcoin), particularly Compliance and AML aspects, and cooperates with some of the most innovative firms in this area.
He is the creator of prestigious training and certification programs in Compliance and AML in Poland and internationally.
Paweł Kuskowski is a law graduate of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, and earned a degree in banking and finance at the University of Udine, Italy.
I am a member of Entiq and Level 39. I am also CEO of Coinfirm that is the most advance solution for AML / Sanctions Compliance at the market.
My idea of the DLT will be that in a longer term this will replace the current value transferring systems and solutions. We are on the edge of entire revolution in this space and Compliance is the key. After implementation it will be the most transparent system in the history.
Colin has a wealth of experience in Investment Banking having served as Vice President at Deutsche Bank and UBS. With an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management and BSc (Computer Science) from UNSW, Colin has managed to accumulate 23 years of business experience with enormous success.
As a member of the UKDCA I will be promoting Digital Currencies such as Bitcoin and its underlying technologies to be adopted into the core of every institution within the UK. The premise is for this new and exciting technology to be utilised in every facet of commerce. I envision that by doing so will ensure UK businesses and consumers benefit from the efficiencies gained from these technologies and propel the UK as the dominant centre of finance and technology.
Miguel is seasoned executive with more than 15 years of experience pushing creativity and disruptive thinking into traditional industries including Healthcare, Finance and Engineering.
Most recently, he has been involved in several digital projects involving large scale transactional platforms for first-class investment banks, marketing and business strategy for Fintech companies and product structuring for the wealth management industry. He is part of the core team of DXMarkets, a professional-grade digital currency exchange, and holds several directorships including YSI Partners, a brand strategy consultancy firm.
As an advocate for behavioural economics and user-centred strategies, Miguel’s view is that the success of digital currencies depends on the strengths of existing and future products as much as in the ability of these to be understood and assimilated by users and industry players. From his perspective, the agenda of DCA must be focused on shifting the perception of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, making its use cases more relatable. Easy to adopt technologies, trustworthy platforms and an adequate regulatory framework are key to make blockchain-based technology a true agent of change.
For Miguel, the vision of success for digital currencies and distributed ledger technologies is one of harmonious integration where cooperation, democratisation and inclusiveness of investment banking and capital markets ensure funding and transactional capabilities for the people and institutions who need it most.
Miguel is a self trained developer, university trained designer, certified project manager and MBA candidate.
Adam Rizvi is a technology enthusiast who has been working in IT for over 10 years. Having wrote several books in IT and while researching the latest technology Adam found digital currencies in early 2012. Around the middle of 2012 Adam built his own GPU farm and after designing a custom management system to monitor and control their operation Adam started to research and invest in various digital currency projects.
Since then Adam has started his own web hosting business dedicated to the digital currency market. Adam is the founder of the Crypto Bates Group a parent company controlling a range of digital currency projects and events hoping to break the barriers of cryptocurrencies for the everyday person.
We have a passion for revolution in the UK and I believe that digital currency businesses could thrive here. If we could operate local hubs around the UK we can get the brightest minds working on the latest projects. The Isle of Man is currently creating an amazing environment for digital currency businesses and we can grow on this, helping adapt and build-on this work to push more ideas across the UK.
My goal is to make the UK one of the world’s hubs as a place to open, operate and invest in a digital currency business. I would like to see the promotion of the use of Bitcoin ATMs and Bitcoin zones by working with local businesses and educating them in the benefits of digital currency.
I believe the UKDCA should have a stronger national image, we should aim at hosting events across the UK with an aim at breaking that barrier for the everyday person to get involved in digital currencies and helping them understand how the bitcoin and blockchain technology works and I also believe the UKDCA should continue to help bridge the relationship between digital currency businesses and the banks to help make it easier for businesses to start accepting digital currencies.
I believe we can show that the UKDCA has a good standing in the UK and we aim to keep it that way and push forward with transparency and honesty.
Jerome founded Jita Ltd, the first Bitcoin direct lending platform. He also created the UK branch of Mycelium, another Bitcoin startup. Before Bitcoin, Jerome worked in the consumer electronics and semiconductor industries, on digital TV and smartphones projects. Jerome is from Belgium and obtained his PhD in Computer Science from EPFL, Switzerland.
Jerome brings startup experience, technical expertise, project management skills and inside knowledge of Bitcoin startups to the UKDCA.
Jerome wants to help UKDCA grow as the entity representing all Bitcoin startups and their customers’ best interests in the UK and in Europe, to achieve the full potential of digital currencies and distributed ledgers. This encompasses more competitive and better financial services, improved financial inclusion of the underbanked, more transparency and accountability for businesses and governments, and innovative supply chain and inventory tracking solutions.
Tom is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Elliptic, a blockchain security and identity company. Elliptic’s latest product, Elliptic AML, allows companies to safely engage with open blockchains such as Bitcoin.
As a founding board member of the UKDCA he has engaged with policymakers and regulators to encourage appropriate and proportionate regulation of digital currencies. This has resulted in HMRC issuing a briefing on the taxation of digital currencies, and a Treasury review of the sector.Tom has a PhD in Physics from the University of Oxford, and worked in consulting and finance prior to establishing Elliptic.
I’m proud of the progress that the UKDCA has made over the past couple of years. From the removal of VAT on cryptocurrency transactions, to the Treasury’s call for information on regulation of the sector, the UKDCA has played a key role in driving change. Thanks to the constructive input of our members, our organisation now has a very positive image in the eyes of regulators and policymakers, which will be invaluable as we come up against further challenges.
But there are areas where we need to improve:
Communication with our members. Too often our members simply don’t know what the committee are doing – we need to let update our members on progress more frequently and bring them into discussions more effectively.
Banking. Despite the progress made with the government, banks still remain a barrier to mainstream adoption of digital currencies in the UK. Progress is being made – we have had meetings with various senior bank compliance officers, which resulted in the UKDCA obtaining a bank account – a small but significant move forwards.
Continuous pressure on policymakers and regulators. The measures announced in the last budget – digital currency AML legislation and funding for research were great news, but little has been heard about them since. We need to make sure that we continue to apply pressure and ensure that promises are fulfilled.
We need to be realistic as an organisation and be ruthless about deploying our resources most efficiently. We simply don’t have the funds or membership base to pursue large-scale public promotion of digital currencies. Where we have excelled is in removing specific barriers that our community have run up against – be it taxation, regulation or banking. I would like us to focus the UKDCA even more on these areas and ensure that we continue to punch above our weight as an organisation, and continue to build an environment in the UK that is one of the best in the world for digital currency users and businesses.
Adam is a qualified lawyer and director of Diacle Ltd which provides licensing and compliance support to Financial Technology services firms (crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and digital currency). He also acts as a consultant for Neopay; leading the market in delivering compliance solutions to e-money institutions, payment institutions and related industries.
Over the past year, as an elected Board Member, I feel I have actively contributed towards the UKDCA. Some of the areas I have worked on:
initiating/ working on the Standards project with Paul Ferris and BSI and starting the process of seeking funding;
(with Gabrielle Patrick/ Helen Disney) working with Imperial College on an Outreach programme;
various discussions with HM Treasury to persuade a ‘light touch’ approach to regulation;
meetings with other stakeholders, politicians, the Bank of England to promote a digital currency agenda;
liaising with David Henqvist on the observations to the CJEU for the VAT ruling;
attending meetings such as the Commonwealth workshop on digital currency to promote a light-touch approach to regulation;
building relationships with our counterparts in other countries, such as CoinCenter or the HK Bitcoin Association;
developing a formal relationship with Innovate Finance and coordinating that approach.
Regarding the Standards work with British Standards Institution (BSI), we have already established a funding commitment from a large bitcoin business to sponsor the process. We need to continue our efforts in this line and be ready to work with BSI to deliver the Standard. This is a unique situation for the UK to be in and many countries are looking at us to see what we can do to promote consumer protection through self-regulation. If I am elected as board member I will seek for us to continue down this path and prove that we can deliver something unique for this global ecosystem.
If I am elected as board member I will pursue opportunities for us to get involved with or form part of an international association so that we can relay our experience in the UK to other industry groups.
Regarding communication, I feel we need to simplify how we communicate with members. This may lead to some consolidation of the number of active Slack channels and encouraging more of a direct engagement with members on all matters.
In terms of increasing membership, our Outreach efforts should attract new students to join the UKDCA and participate in its future. We have suggested to Imperial College that all students participating in the Imperial/UKDCA University Outreach programme will join (by default) as Supporter members of the UKDCA. As such, they will not be entitled to vote but the intention is that they would still be actively involved in the association.
In terms of Innovate Finance, I hope that we will continue to build a strong partnership with them moving forwards, especially in areas such as policy work. We should in fact be working with them every step of the way. (Dan Morgan from IF is very open to working with the UKDCA and has been a vocal supporter of us at Standards meetings.) We have been hugely successful as an organisation, achieving all of our policy goals from a light-touch regulatory regime to a favourable tax position for digital currency. We should be proud of what we have achieved. I look forward to the next step of executing what we (as an industry) have agreed to do for HM Treasury in terms developing an industry standard to promote consumer protection. Separately, I look forward to engaging more with universities so that we can be a ‘bridge’ for students to access real world opportunities and provide value to our members in terms of talent discovery.
The future is bright for digital currency in the UK and I look forward to serving this association another term (if elected) to continue our great work.