This session promises to be an exciting discussion with blockchain industry experts in FinTech, policy, and traditional finance. We will cover blockchain basics and why it's an attractive fix to age old legacy processes; what has been successfully disrupted, and what might be next; costs/benefits, risks/opportunities, and regulation; how to avoid the noise, and become informed with best in class learning resources.
Meenakshi Lakshmanan (Panelist)
Co-founder and CTO, Manifest
Meenakshi Lakshmanan is the Co-founder and CTO of a B2B FinTech startup, Manifest, focused on making 401(k) transfers seamless. Before Manifest, she built technology solutions at Goldman Sachs for over 12 years. She has a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Science and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Meenakshi won the 2018 Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge for Manifest. Her goal is to use distributed-ledger technology to standardize 401(k) transfers.
Sarah Milby (Panelist)
Senior Policy Manager, Blockchain Association
Sarah Milby is a Senior Policy Manager at the Blockchain Association. She helps develop and implement policy decisions on behalf of the Association, and she focuses mainly on securities, commodities, and tax issues. Sarah graduated from The University of Chicago magna cum laude, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and earned honors in her major. She has a B.A. in Law, Letters, and Society (theblockchainassociation.org).
Adam Mastrelli (Panelist)
General Partner, Woodstock Fund US.
Adam is a well-established professional in the technology and finance industries with extensive business development, sales, strategic partnerships, and leadership experience. As General Partner at Woodstock Fund US Adam is focused on Public DLT, DeFi, Web 3.0, and Gaming/Metaverse protocols and applications. He is passionate about his family, peer-to-peer transactions, and any body of water that needs a swimmer.
Prior to joining Woodstock, Adam spent more than 10 years with IBM, launching digital asset initiatives and cultivating relationships across public-private institutions, state and local governments, and emerging markets. He was part of the founding team at IBM Digital Assets & Banking Solutions with a focus on institutional custody, secure key management, and confidential computing; consulted with Promontory Financial Group on the Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI) regulatory framework for the Wyoming Division of Banking; and built out BM Blockchain Ventures & the IBM Blockchain Accelerator in conjunction with Columbia
University. During two years in Austin, he ran regional sales of IBM's Al Watson's Behavioral Analytics software, working with customers across supply chain and
financial sectors. Adam was also often sought out for his ability to foster cross-cultural business relationships, for example, running integration lead on Walmart International in South Atrica, to support Walmart's USD 2.4B acquisition of Massmart.
Beyond his IBM tenure, Adam has consulted on NFTs, stablecoins, and staking protocols for companies including Ichi, Geer, and P2P. Currently, in addition to his role at Woodstock Fund, he is also a Limited Partner in various Multicon Capital funds.
Adam received his Bachelors from Duke University and an MBA in Emerging Markets Finance from the University of Florida. Prior to his MBA, he crafted an expansive range of experiences that include documentary filmmaking, professional stage and film acting, and NGO management. He is proficient in Italian and Spanish and can make small talk in Mandarin, Gujurati, and Zulu. He thrives on new technologies, global experiences, and the next challenge that lies ahead.
Karl Muth (Panelist)
Karl T. Muth has been involved in the blockchain space since 2015 and served as CEO of a BitMEX-backed startup that built high-end tools for trading desks and OTC desks. He is considered an expert in regulation and regulated industries and advised a Fortune 250 insurer for seven years, representing their interests in a board seat for two years; prior to this, he led negotiations under FDIC supervision for the wind-down and NASDAQ delisting of a bank, the portfolio in question nearly two billion dollars of assets in controversy. He currently teaches New Venture Strategy at Chicago Booth, is an active venture investor including in crypto-centric and crypto-adjacent companies, and is serving as an expert witness in a securities fraud matter that appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Muth is quoted in a dozen SEC Final Rules and rules discussions and has been directly quoted by a Commissioner of the SEC and an Acting Secretary of the SEC. Having studied law in the Netherlands, Muth earned J.D. and M.B.A. degrees in the United States (the latter from Chicago Booth, Class of 2010) and later earned M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees at the London School of Economics. He is currently trying a different city every week for the next seven months on AirBnB while working on his new book.
Flomar Maurrasse (Panelist)
Director, Treasury Sales, Circle Internet Financial, LLC
Michael Ball (Moderator) '05
Michael Ball is focused on alternative investments, having spent 15+ years originating, structuring, and syndicating over $30 billion in domestic and international corporate and asset-level real estate, infrastructure, leveraged and investment grade credits. He previously worked at global financial firms including Mirae, Société Générale, and Scotiabank.
Michael has an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In addition to being a Member at Large of the Chicago Booth Alumni Club of New York he is Vice-Chair of the CFA Society New York's Alternative Investments Leadership Group.