The hot new place to set up shop after you have left government service is, it seems, blockchain.
First, it was the former director of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, who began his post-Trump administration employment at Spring Labs last October. (Spring Labs is among the most boring of the new crop of boring blockchain companies and you may remember that Cohn’s fellow advisers to the company include the former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., a senior McKinsey executive and a plethora of other extreme establishment types.)
Now, it’s former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke who is making a go of it in blockchain.
The cybersecurity and blockchain company Artillery One announced on Jan. 14 that Zinke had joined the firm as a managing director.
I spoke with Zinke and Artillery One’s founder, Daniel Cannon, earlier this week and got this fascinating scoop: The company has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the government of Kosovo to evaluate privatizing the country’s state-owned telecom company. (An adviser to Kosovo’s prime minister confirmed that the NDA had been signed.)
If Artillery One is chosen to move forward with the transaction, Cannon told me: “It’s not going to be a normal phone company. It’s going to be the bank of the future.”
He envisions a future when the country’s economy runs on dollars, or some future digital dollar or even digital renminbi. (He believes that transitioning off the euro will be necessary because he thinks that the European Union will collapse in 36 months.)
And Kosovo isn’t the only iron in the fire for Artillery One. They’re also, Cannon and Zinke say, talking to the government of Bermuda about a cybersecurity contract, establishing a cybersecurity academy in the country, acquiring its electricity company Belco (which did not respond to a request for comment), acquiring Caribbean cell phone carrier Digicel (which declined to comment), and building a liquified natural gas terminal on the island. “Bermuda is also well-positioned to be a fintech hub,” Zinke told me.
It’s all a lot, and it’s certainly not boring.
“Crypto Broker Led By Uber and E*Trade Alums Is Going Public,” Coindesk reports.
“Goldman Sachs Invests in
-backed Fintech App Bud,” Reuters writes.
“Bitcoin’s basically a re-enactment society for early modern economics,” Riina Stewart said, and this is by far my favorite crypto quote.
width: 100% !important;
Write to Ben Walsh at [email protected]