Davos 2023: Hedera Exec Spent Years On Capitol Hill, Now She's Shaping Blockchain Policy

Zinger Key Points
  • Hedera is an ecosystem and, with its partners, is working to create sustainability.
  • Hedera is more efficient, sustainable, and carbon negative. That's attractive to companies who care about the environment.

The World Economic Forum (WEF), which recently took place in Davos, Switzerland, featured some note-worthy attendees, including Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission; Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine; actor Idris Elba and many others.

Benzinga attended and interviewed Nilmini Rubin, chief of staff and policy head at decentralized ledger innovator Hedera HBAR/USD.

Prior to Hedera, Rubin started out in economics at the Federal Reserve and worked at the Treasury where she focused on international banking and the securities markets. She went on to work at President George W. Bush’s White House and spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill helping write legislation on energy and technology, as well as international development and corruption.

Read on for our interview. Please note that the below text was lightly edited for clarity and concision.

See Also: Psychedelics Take Center Stage At Davos

BZ: When did you pivot to crypto?

Rubin: I spent some time at the Information Technology Industry Council, a big trade association, and joined Meta Platforms Inc META. Later, I wanted to be working on something big and transformative like the internet in the 1990s. That’s when I started going to big crypto and blockchain events, which lead me to Hedera where I am at today.

What made you think that crypto is the next big thing?

In the 1980s, I thought of computers and the internet as glorifying clerical work. However, it all ended up transforming our economy. Blockchain is the next big thing. It is a way to bring back ownership to groups of people, and this touches my interest in economic development.

This is an opportunity to allow people to own their data and have more control, as well as additional transparency. For instance, when I worked on corruption, the best way to stop it was through transparency. I feel like the blockchain space has a lot of answers to today’s big problems.

What does your role at Hedera entail?

I work for the Governing Council. We are responsible for the governance of the Hedera chain. I'm the Chief of Staff and Head of Global Policy helping run the organization and making sure we're efficient. I’m also making sure we are focused on helping shape and improve policies. What makes me excited is that Hedera is an ecosystem and, with our partners, we are working to create sustainability.

What are some of the concerns or challenges you are focused on?

Policymakers aren’t into the details of the technologies. Consequently, it may be really easy for them to inadvertently harm this sector with overregulation. So, there is an opportunity for us to educate and clarify because the policy will guide how we structure organizations in the blockchain space, and it will definitely impact growth.

We want to remove misinterpretation. When we had the Madoff situation during the financial crisis, that didn’t mean the entire financial sector needed to be squashed. We need to make sure the differentiations are made and we remove the real bad actors.

What does education mean to you?

We have to meet people where they are. So part of it is putting out policy notes and explaining what we do in language that people who do not spend entire days on blockchain understand. For instance, we have blogs coming out on such topics including bringing the balance sheet of the Earth to the blockchain, and why that's important for climate.

Releasing materials that people will understand, and then making sure they get them, is our focus. We also engage in outreach to policymakers and one on one meetings to answer their specific questions. Also, we often work with associations so like the Global Business Blockchain Council (GBBC), the Blockchain Association in the US, and EUCI in Europe. We work with associations because when they do education, they're doing it on behalf of the whole sector.

Can you talk about some examples you may share with policymakers?

We’ll talk about verifying data on the blockchain to eliminate greenwashing. This is to make sure offsets are traded in a transparent way, and that we have quality projects improving the climate.

Here in Davos, we have Hedera Global Governing Council members talking about some of their solutions. For instance, Avery Dennison Corporation AVY has a solution to track and trace supply chains. Consumers are interested in where their products are being sourced and how they are made. With Avery Dennison’s tracking application, we can do that.

Additionally, we have financial institutions like Abrdn PLC SLFPY and Standard Bank Group SGBLY who want to tokenize assets, as well as ServiceNow Inc NOW, a big software company, enabling clients to play on the blockchain with the low-code tech they built.

What makes Hedera superior?

Hedera is more efficient, sustainable, and carbon negative. We are attractive to companies who care about the environment and climate change. While fast, we operate at a less cost, and at lower volatility. I think one of the things that were most attractive to me, and the difference with Hedera, is that we are run by a council of established companies. We have firms like Alphabet Inc GOOG GOOGL and Boeing Co BA involved.

Next: Elon Musk Bewildered By Davos

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