Linda Jeng is the chief regulatory officer and general counsel at the Crypto Council for Innovation (CCI). Jeng is also a visiting scholar on financial technology at Georgetown University Law Center and senior lecturing fellow at Duke Law School.
Jeng talked to us about why crypto matters and how the space would be better heard “if it were less bombastic” and tried to understand the challenges policymakers face “in a world of few resources and support.” In turn, she talked about how, in her role at the Crypto Council, her goal is to build bridges between the crypto industry and policymakers.
Jeng also addressed the need for the industry to proactively recruit, groom and promote more female engineers and executives.
How did you come to the crypto industry?
LJ: I felt it was by happenstance. But, if you zoom it out, it makes a lot of sense. I was one of the first former regulators to work for a blockchain startup. My first startup realized that it needed someone who understood banking and securities regulation and DC policies.
Can you describe what you are doing at the Crypto Council?
LJ: I am the general counsel and chief regulatory officer at CCI. My job is to help drive policy strategy for a stronger and vibrant blockchain economy and to build bridges between the crypto industry and policymakers.
Can you talk about how your previous experience is shaping what you’re currently doing?
LJ: I was a traditional regulator for most of my career before I got into financial technology. My perspective is still one of public service and what I can do to help improve the economy and financial system for the underserved and our nation.
What excites you the most in the space?
LJ: The open and equitable access to financial services along with high transparency.
What do you think should change in the space?
LJ: I think the crypto industry would be better heard if it were less bombastic and tried to understand the challenges policymakers face in a world of few resources and support.
Can you talk about how the industry is male-dominated and what could be done to change this?
LJ: We need more female engineers and more female founders. It’s a sad state when female founders of blockchain companies make up a single-digit percentage of the industry. I’ve worked in environments dominated by men, which inevitably skews the perspective and culture of the organization. I was at a company that had around 10% female engineers. I witnessed how hard it was for them to be heard and taken seriously even though they were fantastic.
Did you have any mentor and who are the women you admire in the space?
LJ: I wouldn’t say I’ve had the same mentors throughout the arc of my career. But I’ve been fortunate enough to have many people be generous in giving me advice at various points of my career. In the end, you still have to figure it out yourself, and being interested in what I’m doing has always been my North Star.
What could be done for the industry to be more inclusive? Which companies are making targeted efforts?
LJ: The industry should proactively recruit, groom and promote more female engineers and executives. At CCI, we are very conscious when we make hiring decisions.
Why do you think crypto matters?
LJ: Blockchain technologies will be the engine of the global digital economy. It is here to stay, so we should consider how we want to leverage them and for what objectives.
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