Tech Talk: Digital Assets and Cryptocurrency: A Breakout Year

02/10/2022 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm CST Virtual
  • Corporate
  • Early Stage
  • Growth Stage
Event Start Date:
September 25, 2023
Event End Date:
September 25, 2023
Event Venue:

2021 was a record year for investments in digital assets and cryptocurrencies. Investment in firms that support digital assets rose to a record $21B, far above the $3.7B invested in 2020. 

At the same time, the cryptocurrencies with the largest market share—bitcoin and ethereum—both saw record prices, even if they ended the year at much lower levels. Digital asset tokens representing new projects in what’s becoming known as Web 3 also took off for investors.

Behind the headlines, however, traditional financial institutions and investment funds ramped up their activity in bringing digital assets into mainstream finance, and many financial organizations in the United States weighed in on regulations.

We’ll explore what 2022 may have in store for digital assets, including:

  • How likely is it that the record pace of investment in digital asset companies will continue
  • What kinds of institutional projects can we expect to see?
  • What can we expect from federal and state regulators this year?


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Moderator- Collin Canright is principal of Canright Communications Company, a Chicago-based technical communications firm that specializes in financial services and technology. The firm helps clients market and sell their ideas, innovations, products, and solutions through clear communications. Canright thrives to produce technical documentation and marketing writing that aligns business and technology.

Collin edits and publishes the respected financial technology blog FinTech Rising. With a focus on banking and the emerging digital asset economy, FTR is delivered as a weekly email. He also coordinates the Chicago Payments Forum, a networking group.

Canright is a former editor of Cashflow magazine as well as a contributing writer to American Banker‘s PayThink column and Independent Banker magazine and tech-writing team lead for software developers and trading firm

Panelist- Arijit Das is Senior Vice President in charge of Digital Asset Innovation Technology at Northern Trust, Chicago. He focuses on transforming finance by digitizing assets. A hands-on manager, Arijit is co-inventor of three blockchain-related patents.

His previous experience at Northern Trust includes driving digital transformation by leveraging innovative emerging technologies like Robotics, Machine Learning, Distributed Ledgers, and Tokenization. He has also worked in development and infrastructure roles at US Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and BMO Harris Bank. He has wide-ranging international experience through positions in Belgium, France, Canada, and India including offshore delivery experience.

Panelist- Renata K. Szkoda is the Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Blue Fire Capital Europe, the trading arm of Galaxy Digital, that specializes in deploying low latency trading strategies in capital markets with current focus on trading in digital assets and related derivative contracts globally. She leads the Finance Team and is responsible for financial and regulatory reporting, as well as trading operations. She also manages relationships with banks, exchanges, counter-parties, auditors and regulators for the entity.  She plays a key role in negotiating financial contracts and implementing appropriate operating legal structures in the most efficient geographical locations for the trading team.

Renata Szkoda is a Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of Global Digital Asset & Cryptocurrency Association. She is actively engaged in Public Policy & Regulation Committee of Global DCA where she authors and co-authors public policy with regards to accounting standards as well as the regulatory framework for the digital assets industry. Renata is also part of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) industry task force implementing standards for digital assets and was part of the task force revising the AICPA Practice Aid for FCMs, introducing brokers and commodity pools.

Panelist – Lilya Tessler is a partner and head of Sidley’s FinTech and Blockchain group, which is recognized as a Band 1 practice in the 2022 Chambers Fintech guide. She focuses her practice on representing digital asset trading platforms, blockchain technology companies, U.S. and non-U.S. broker-dealers, financial services firms and cryptocurrency funds. Lilya is ranked in Band 1 in the 2022 Chambers Fintech guide in the USA Legal: Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies category.

Lilya advises technology companies on blockchain token offerings, including so-called ICOs. She also counsels financial institutions and digital asset exchanges with day-to-day securities issues, private placement agent requirements, custody rule requirements, cross-border regulatory issues, money services business registration requirements, as well as FINRA and SEC regulatory inquiries. She advises several U.S. and non-U.S. FinTech companies, including robo-advisors and high-frequency trading firms in evaluating the broker-dealer and investment advisor registration requirements.

Lilya works with transactional lawyers on structuring deals involving financial services and technology companies, digital asset exchanges and blockchain token offerings. She regularly assists both financial services firms and their vendors in negotiating U.S. and cross-border technology agreements for all types of services and considering the U.S. securities laws and broker-dealer regulatory issues associated with such technologies.

Lilya is a frequent speaker and writer on various topics in FinTech, with a particular focus on distributed ledger technology, blockchain tokens and digital asset trading platforms.