Throughout time, the approach to compensation has largely remained the same. From factory shift workers in the industrial revolution to the information-age employees of today, companies pay by the hour or annually based on the business requirements for the role, the candidate’s experience, and the competitive labor market rates at the time of hiring.
Over time, companies began to introduce the idea of “total compensation” as they started to offer benefits such as medical and dental coverage, retirement savings, and other programs, as well as bonuses either for individual or company performance. However, if you ask any worker how much they make, you’ll hear their hourly rate or an annual salary, almost none will say they made thousands in a 401k match last year or their employer provided a ‘work from home’ stipend.
While today we often associate financial services with large banks, digital currencies, and payments as well as new apps and services, there are still places in the world where financial services is an analog experience – person-to-person and focused on building a community.
I often get asked why I made the switch from lawyer to investor. Usually, it is from lawyers slightly jealous that I no longer need to account for my time in six-minute increments and sometimes from financiers slightly wary that I am encroaching on their turf. Although there is no single answer to that question, I thought the launch of this column would be a good place to lay out why I did what I did and what I believe every entrepreneur building in the FinTech space should look for in a lawyer.
Sustainability. It has become a loaded topic generally and even more so in the blockchain industry. Unfortunately, the mainstream conversation has led to a lot of misconceptions about blockchain’s environmental impact. Regardless of how familiar one is with the applications of blockchain technology or use cases for cryptocurrency, mentions of blockchain and proof-of-work consensus mechanisms are now synonymous with high energy use—without a parallel focus on the actual value being generated behind the energy use.
The Beautiful Arrival of EU Cryptocurrencies Regulation
Anyone who is directly or indirectly involved or remotely interested in the world of Cryptocurrencies has heard of the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MICAR) by now. In short, MICAR aims to bring regulatory certainty and harmonisation in Europe by regulating Issuers and Crypto Asset Service Providers (CASPs) who wish to offer their services in Europe. This will result in CASPs and Issuers being able to passport their services across Europe, once authorised or registered in a chosen Member State. Notably, MiCAR is a direct regulation and not a directive. The raison d’etre for this is to leave out any room for potential regulatory arbitrage (although this will happen in other forms as I will briefly touch up on a bit later).
It's fair to say that businesses are still uncertain about how cryptocurrencies can benefit their bottom line and/or enhance customer experience. With many consumers still wary of anything blockchain-related, and markets well into our periodic "crypto winter" season, it's understandable that business leaders might wonder what they can expect from digital assets. Well, the good news is we are seeing the move from speculation to utility, and nowhere more is this obvious than with the emergence and meteoric rise of stablecoins.
To say these are rocky times in the crypto sector would be somewhat of an understatement. As the US discourse has become increasingly vitriolic, many fear thatUS innovation across Web3 will be hampered—but what innovation would be missed? There have been too many scams, rug pulls, blind celebrity endorsements, and snake oil salesmen. As Circle’s Jeremy Allaire noted during their Converge conference last year, this is the time to realize a better future for the sector.