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January 27 Blockchain’s Social Impact—The Future is Now

American University Blockchain Hub's third annual forum

About The Forum

American University’s Kogod School of Business Blockchain Hub is proud to co-host their Annual Blockchain Forum, along with the leading industry association for the blockchain technology ecosystem, the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC). 

The 2021 half-day, virtual forum focused on social impact that is aligned with Kogod’s aim to equip and empower its community to use business as a force for meaningful change. Also featured will be the newly released first comprehensive effort to survey blockchain standards, prepared by GBBC, World Economic Forum, and industry leaders. The forum will engage leading blockchain experts from the private sector, various government agencies and regulatory bodies, The World Bank Group, NGOs, and academic institutions in a setting designed to foster learning and the exchange of ideas. 

Why Attend?

Whether you are a blockchain novice or an expert, work in the private sector or the government–if you want to learn about the best practices regarding blockchain applications and explore new opportunities in the field, the Kogod Third Annual Blockchain Forum, co-hosted with GBBC, is designed specifically for you. 

Stay tuned for details about our next annual forum.

  • 9:00 to 9:05 a.m.
    Dean's Opening Remarks – Professor John Delaney, Dean, Kogod School of Business, AU
  • 9:05 to 9:10 a.m.
    GBBC Opening Remarks—Dave Treat, GBBC Board Chair
  • 9:10 to 9:30 a.m.
    Opening Keynote: Tomicah Tillemann (Video recording), Founder and Director, Digital Impact and Governance Initiative, New America—Topic: Blockchain’s Social Impact
  • 9:30 to 9:50 a.m.
    Sandra Ro (Video Recording)
  • 9:50 to 10:00 a.m.
  • 10:00 to 10:25 a.m.
    Keynote: Julien Le Goc, Head of Policy, Diem Assoc—Topic: Diem in 2021
  • 10:25 - 10:50 a.m.

    Regulatory Panel Discussion (Video Recording)
    Moderated by Jackson Mueller, Director, Policy & Government Relations at Securrency, Panelists include Dave Treat, Senior Managing Director at Accenture, Anne Warner, General Counsel of Algorand, Julien Le Goc, Head of Policy at Diem Assoc

  • 10:50 to 11:00 a.m.
  • 11:00 - 11:25 a.m.
    Keynote: Toomas Ilves, former President of Estonia: Updating Digital Infrastructure
  • 11:25 - 11:50 a.m. 

    Sustainabile Supply Chains Panel Discussion: Panelists include Ran Melamed of Orbs and Ilan Melendez of IDB

  • 11:50 - noon 
  • noon - 12:20 p.m.
    Fireside Chat:  Jose Arrieta, former CIO of the Department of Health and Human Services: Moderated by: Jason Brett, contributing writer for Forbes on Blockchain—Topic: Functioning HHS Blockchain Project to Track Covid-19

  • 12:20 - 12:55 p.m.
    GBBC on the Global Standards Mapping Initiative: Representatives of GBBC, WEF, MIT, Karen Ottoni of Hyperledger and Benjamin Nadareski of SDX

  • 12:55 - 1:00 p.m.
    Joint Closing Remarks: Kogod Blockchain Hub and GBBC

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Jose Arrieta 

Jose Arrieta is the former chief information officer and chief data officer of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He brings over 17 years expertise in technology management, innovation, policy, small business, and enterprise solutions to facilitate operational delivery. He has deep experience in all phases of federal operations focused on delivering national programs within the federal government, private industry, and academia. He is a respected leader in applying emerging technologies utilizing modern infrastructure including blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation to federal business processes and mission critical program challenges. Jose has published several articles on the importance of communicating with the industrial base to ensure successful business outcomes. He has also written articles on valuing disruptive technologies from a private sector investor perspective. He is actively engaged in the academic community and currently serves at Johns Hopkins University as an adjunct professor focused on artificial intelligence, blockchain, business management, and supply chain. He is also an advisor to the dean of the Kogod Business School at American University and provides guidance on the creation of a data science lab that is exploring the use of blockchain and artificial intelligence. He has pushed for a broader policy view in the USG of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology and created government-wide communities focused on identifying blockchain use cases and best practices. Jose led the rapid creation of the largest public health surveillance capability that serves all 50 states and six territories in the COVID-19 response effort. He also led an effort to deliver the first enterprise grade supervised machine learning capability to help more accurately distribute lab supplies and predict COVID-19 hot spots across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before leaving HHS, Jose established a shared public-private key infrastructure, leveraging distributed ledger technology to create a demand signal for the COVID-19 response. Jose also founded a company in October of 2020 called Imagineeer.


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Jason Brett 

Jason is a former US regulator with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), compliance examiner for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) with the US Treasury, and has been active in bitcoin and blockchain since 2016. Jason served in in the FDIC’s Capital Markets and Finance Divisions during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009, working on qualitative, quantitative issues covering IndyMac Bank, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Bank of America. Jason supported the FDIC’s board at IndyMac Bank with deposit run analyses, researched and explained synthetic collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and compiled the exposure of net notional derivatives in the financial system. In 2016, Jason became interested in the importance of trust in the financial system and shifted his career to blockchain technology. He worked at the Chamber of Digital Commerce as director of operations for policy and then as policy ambassador for ConsenSys before opening his own non-profit called the Value Technology Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that conducts exclusively educational and charitable activities with regards to digital assets, blockchain, and distributed ledger technologies. Jason also serves as a contributor for Forbes Crypto since 2019 and proudly holds degrees from Cornell University in Government (BA, 1997) and the Kogod School of Business (MBA, 2009). He resides with his wife in Pennsylvania. 

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John Delaney

John T. Delaney is professor of management and dean of the Kogod School of Business at American University. He is a passionate advocate for experiential learning, which reflects the notion that students learn more from doing and practicing than from listening. He believes that hybrid educational models combining web-based approaches and experiential learning options will come to dominate higher education. He emphasizes international educational opportunities and encourages all Kogod constituencies to develop global business competencies. 

Prior to his appointment at AU in 2016, he served as the Henry E. Haller, Jr. Dean of Business at the University of Pittsburgh from 2006 until 2015. During his deanship, the school experienced increased enrollments, better student quality, improved student satisfaction scores, greater diversity, and enhancements on virtually all key metrics. These outcomes stimulated a dramatic improvement in rankings and the generation of significant financial resources, which allowed an expansion of the faculty, renovation of facilities, and provision of new faculty and student support. He also expanded the school’s interactions with alumni, hosting events across the US and in Brazil, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.


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Toomas Henrik Ives 

Toomas Hendrik Ilves became president of Estonia in 2006; he is the third person to hold the post since the Baltic republic regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Ilves was born in 1953 to Estonian parents who had fled the Soviet regime that installed itself in the Baltic nation following World War II. The family immigrated to the United States and settled in New Jersey. Ilves attended Columbia University as an undergrad and received his MA from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1984, he joined the staff of Radio Free Europe as an analyst and researcher. This news service, based in Munich, Germany, broadcast anticommunist programming to the Soviet-controlled countries of Eastern Europe during the cold-war decades that followed World War II. Four years after he joined Radio Free Europe, Ilves was named head of its Estonian desk, a post he held until 1993. From 1993-1996, Ilves served as newly-independent Estonia's ambassador to the United States, Canada, and Mexico, in Washington, DC. He became Estonia's minister for foreign affairs in 1996. In March of 1999, after new parliamentary elections, Ilves returned to his post as foreign minister, serving until 2002. In 2004, Ilves was elected to the European Parliament as one of the first official Estonian delegates sworn in when the country became a member state of the European Union. In March of 2006, he announced his candidacy in upcoming presidential elections. He served as president from 2006-2016. During his presidency, Ilves was appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of information and communications technology in the European Union (EU). He served as chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012 and was chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board at the invitation of the European Commission from 2012 to 2014. In 2013, he chaired the High-Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms convened by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). From 2014 to 2015, Ilves was the co-chair of the advisory panel of the World Bank's World Development Report 2016 "Digital Dividends" and was also the chair of World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security beginning in June 2014. Ilves now cochairs The World Economic Forum working group, The Global Futures Council on Blockchain Technology. In 2017, he joined Stanford University as a Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Julien Le Goc 

Julien Le Goc is the director of policy for the Diem Association (formerly Libra Association), a newly-formed organization that has brought together social impact organizations and a diverse group of leading businesses from around the world to enable universal access to financial services. In this role, Julien helps lead policy efforts and stakeholder engagement for the association.

Julien comes to the Diem Association with two decades of experience in risk management, bank regulation, and finance, most recently at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), a US government corporation providing deposit insurance to depositors in US commercial banks and savings institutions. At the onset of the great recession, Julien joined the FDIC and led risk management and internal review activities supporting key operational areas including finance, security, bank-closing, information technology, privacy, office closures, and other critical mission-focused processes. As the economy recovered, Julien was asked to join the FDIC's chief information officer and chief privacy officer in a leadership role. Julien executed an information technology, cybersecurity, digital transformation, and change management agenda to modernize FDIC operations and uplift mission critical applications. Prior to the FDIC, Julien worked in a big four management consulting firm leading strategic engagements with large enterprises around the world and US federal government clients. He has lived and worked in Europe and the United States.

Julien is a graduate of the Kogod School of Business and holds an MS in finance from the American University in Washington, DC. Julien is a recurring guest lecturer for business and international management courses at the American University.

Douglas Johnson-Poensgen 

Douglas Johnson-Poensgen founded Circulor in 2017. He brings 25 years of international experience as an executive and non-executive director, operating in TMT, financial services, information technology, and management consultancy sectors to his role as chief executive officer.

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Benjamin Nadareski

Benjamin Nadareski leads corporate and business development at SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), which is set to become the world’s first fully regulated institutional digital asset exchange and corporate services division. SDX is partnering with large financial institutions from around the world to bring the next generation of digital market infrastructure to capital markets.

Benjamin is a visiting guest lecturer on financial technology, digital assets/distributed ledger technology, and capital markets at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, with previous engagements at the Yale School of Management, Brown University, and Fordham University, among other institutions. 

Prior to SDX, Benjamin led business development at DrumG Technologies where he headed the enterprise delivery of the Titanium Network, a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-powered data distribution and analytics platform used by over 20 percent of the global OTC market for derivatives consensus pricing. 

Prior to DrumG, Benjamin led Asia-Pacific strategy as chief of staff to the head of Asia at R3, the largest global financial consortium focusing on DLT adoption globally. Benjamin grew R3’s presence across Asia, leading several multi-institution network deployments. Before R3, Benjamin was with Société Générale Corporate and Investment Bank in sales and trading on the rate and FX derivatives desk as well as with Union Bank of Switzerland in a FinTech strategy group. 

Benjamin began his career as a published nuclear physicist where he has been recognized for award-winning nuclear physics research backed by NASA and the Mellon Foundation. 

Outside of work, Benjamin sits as cochair of the Global Standards Mapping Initiative (GSMI) review committee; as a board member on the Blockchain Association of New Jersey, actively advising on digital assets legislation; and as an organizing committee member of the Post Trade Distributed Ledger (PTDL) group. Benjamin has degrees in physics, math, and economics.

Ran Melamed

Ran is the head of business development at Orbs, based in Singapore and leading the company’s global business operations. He has a strong background in finance, business development, and establishing partnerships with both local and global brands for over 15 years in the Israeli high-tech industry. He is the founder and former chief executive officer of, a technology startup. Ran is also experienced in mergers and aquisitions and venture capital and was an investment team member at Viola Growth Capital Fund. 

Ran holds a BS in physics and an MA in economics from Tel Aviv University and is a veteran of an elite section of the Israeli Defense Forces 8200 unit.

Ilan Melendez

Ilan Melendez is the Costa Rica LACChain evangelist leading the COVID-19 vaccine transparency platform's design and development. He is promoting the development of the ecosystem with projects for inclusion and impact in society. 

LACChain is a global alliance integrated by different actors in the blockchain environment and led by the IDB Group Innovation Laboratory (IDB LAB) to develop the blockchain ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Jackson Mueller

Jackson is the director of policy and government relations at Securrency, where he advises the chief strategy officer and the chief legal officer on public policy and regulatory positions. He has previously served as an associate director at the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets and as head of the institute’s financial technology program, where he focused on the potential of technology in promoting capital formation, financial inclusion, and cost-efficient compliance. Jackson has also served as an assistant vice president at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), focusing on capital markets policy. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in public policy from American University. Jackson lives and works in Washington, DC.

Karen Ottoni

Karen is currently the director of ecosystem at Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Karen works with more than 260 members and the broader community to help them leverage Hyperledger frameworks, tools, and resources for their blockchain initiatives. Previously, Karen was a part of the blockchain team at Tata Consultancy Services, where she advised with Fortune 500 companies in their exploration of new and disruptive technologies. Karen earned her MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and holds a degree in international development, business, and economics from American University. Prior to Duke, Karen had a career in international development working in implementation consulting firms and at the US Agency for International Development in the US, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Karen organizes the Women in Blockchain meetup in New York City. She is excited about the potential for emerging technologies, like blockchain, to change the way we do business, exchange value, and improve lives around the world.

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Tomicah Tillemann 

Tomicah Tillemann is the executive director of the Digital Impact and Governance Initiative (DIGI) at New America. He works in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, MIT, and governments around the world to develop a new generation of open-source technology platforms to power the public sector. He also oversees the work of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA) and the Responsible Asset Allocator Initiative (RAAI). The BTA works with organizations to deploy decentralized technology solutions that address governance and social impact challenges worldwide. The RAAI ranks sovereign wealth and pension funds with combined assets of $20 trillion based on their strategies for managing social, governance, and environmental risks. 

Prior to New America, Tillemann served as the senior advisor to two secretaries of state, leading a team of experts that built 20 major initiatives in 55 countries. He joined the US Department of State in 2009 as Hillary Clinton's speechwriter and collaborated with her on over 200 speeches. Previously, he spent four years on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee working with Joe Biden, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. 

Tillemann’s other professional experience includes work with the White House, five US Senate and Congressional campaigns, Reuters New Media, and the World Bank. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the United Nations World Food Program Innovation Advisory Council, the Lantos Foundation Board of Trustees, and the board of the Global Blockchain Business Council. Tillemann is a co-holder of four patents. He received his BA magna cum laude from Yale University and holds a PhD with distinction from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He has lectured at Yale and Princeton, testified repeatedly before Congress, and delivered over 100 keynote addresses.


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David Treat

Dave Treat is senior managing director of Accenture’s blockchain business, technology lead of Global Capital Markets, and Accenture's lead of the New York Fintech Innovation Lab.  

He has over 20 years of experience in financial services split between consulting and industry roles spanning capital markets and banking. Over the past several years, Dave has driven the formation of Accenture’s blockchain business globally. He serves on the board of directors for the Linux Hyperledger Project, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, Global Blockchain Business Council, and the ID2020 Alliance. He is the project director for the Digital Dollar Project, a member of the World Economic Forum C4IR Global Blockchain Council, and is a program advisor for the Chamber of Digital Commerce. David also serves as the program advisor for the World Economic Forum’s Digital Identity Initiative and the Known Traveler Digital Identity Project.  

David is Accenture’s lead for the New York Fintech Innovation Lab, co-run by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City. The FinTech Innovation Lab is a highly-competitive, 12-week program that helps early-to-growth-stage enterprise technology companies refine and test their value proposition with the support of the world’s leading financial service firms.

Dave holds over 26 blockchain patents and pending patents and is a frequent speaker. He has been quoted extensively on blockchain-related topics in the New York Times, Fortune, Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dave was named one of the Sci-Tech 100 2018: The Architects of the Future by Silicon Republic.


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Anne Warner 

Anne is the chief legal officer of Algorand, responsible for all legal matters worldwide. Anne joins Algorand after more than 20 years of a career in progressively responsible in-house counsel positions, including senior counsel roles at Alexion Pharmaceutical and Inverness Medical, and general counsel positions at Pegasystems and Velcro USA. Anne is an international law generalist, with experience in corporate law, employment law, mergers and acquisitions, securities law, and a variety of other areas of expertise and she has practiced in more than 30 countries.  

At the beginning of her career, Anne was a lawyer for the firms of Cooley, Godward, and Hill and Barlow.  During a several year career hiatus to raise young children, Anne was also a selectman of the Town of Belmont, a member of the US Olympic Committee for her sport of rowing, and a board member at her local music school. 

Receiving a BA from Yale University in Russian Studies and a JD from Harvard Law School, Anne was an Olympic medalist in the eight-oared shell and a member of five World Championship rowing teams. She was also the conductor of the Yale and Cambridge Slavic choruses and remains a dedicated amateur pianist and master single sculler.

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Stay tuned for details about the next annual forum.