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Building the Blockchain Ecosystem

Many pundits treat blockchain like internet bacon. Not everything is better with it. What is really practical within the industry? How can we continue to grow a successful and thriving ecosystem in the next 18 months?

Lot of people talk about the “big” things that blockchain could do or have very aspirational discussions. This panel discussion brings to ground level ways to make this very tangible right here in Washington and in next 18 months. From funding and regulatory issues to the tangible technology rollouts… What’s practical today?? This potentially becomes a model to be expanded to other cities and larger conversations.

Money is flowing ($200M+ here alone) but what are the foundational things that need to happen in the market (regulatory, maturity in business models, participation from businesses) to help create that thriving ecosystem?

  • What’s happening from a regulatory standpoint?
  • How is funding done and what are fundamental differences in the blockchain industry that are driving this change?
  • What makes a solid business model for blockchain businesses?
  • Picks and Shovels vs. Industry solutions – Which drives adoption faster?

Join an experience panel with real-world expertise in all things blockchain.


Lawrence Lerner

Lawrence Lerner

Speaker Website: Lawrence Lerner

During his career, Lawrence has worked across industries in multiple roles (executive, lead technologist, board member) to enable digital transformation, scale businesses, and create $100Ms in new revenue. Lawrence’s experience includes re-architecting Dun&Bradstreet’s core product (35% growth), delivering the next generation of coupons across 31,000 retailers, growing an outsourcing business by $100M, defining Motorola’s smartphone strategy, and helping launch a dozen startups he’s generated wealth for businesses, owners and shareholders.

Lawrence serves as Chief Growth Officer for RChain, a scalable blockchain company building networks capable of 40,000 transactions per second. RChain recently raised more than $10 million to build a new blockchain technology. He also serves as a Board Advisor to other blockchain companies.

Ryan Straus

Ryan Strauss

Speaker Website: Ryan Straus

Ryan is part of the Counsel of Technology Transactions Group, an Adjunct Professor at Seattle University School of Law, and co-developed the Digital Commerce and Financial Technology curriculum for Seattle University’s new LLM in Innovation and Technology Law. Ryan is the author of Bloomberg BNA’s Emerging Payments portfolio, part of Bloomberg BNA’s Banking Practice Series, and co-author of the United States chapter of “The Law of Bitcoin.”

Ryan is a frequent speaker on a wide range of consumer finance topics, including issues related to new product development, operational compliance, and Bitcoin and the Blockchain, and has been interviewed by, and written for, many national publications, including Forbes, Time, American Banker, Bloomberg Brief: Financial Regulation, Communications of the ACM, the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists, and The Hill.

John Utley

John Utley

Speaker Website: John Utley

John Utley is a Sales Leader in IBM’s blockchain and SaaS verticals. He’s also the President of the Seattle Chapter of the Government Blockchain Association.

GBA belives blockchain, Bitcoins, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and cryptocurrencies will fundamentally transform how the government interact with its constituents. GBA is committed to helping individuals and organizations understand, implement and benefit from blockchain technologies.

Jagan Nemani

Jagan Nenami

Jagan is an innovator, serial entrepreneur and blockchain-enthusiast who has built innovative products and high growth businesses from the ground up. He is passionate about building products that deliver best-in-class customer experience and using technologies that disrupt the current way of doing things.

He believes blockchain is one such technology that would change the way we do our jobs. As Chicago Booth MBA, strategy consultant, product executive, entrepreneur, speaker and author; he has well rounded experience across different industries and different size companies. Jagan is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Madrona.