Welcome to the World Crypto Con Spotlight series. Today’s guest: Joseph Ciccolo.
World Crypto Con
World Crypto Con (WCC) is a platform for industry leaders to share their knowledge of the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, as well as introduce their projects to the world. WCC welcomes both experts and novices to attend; there’s something for everyone.
Our World Crypto Con Spotlight series will be focusing on moments from the conference, speaking to headliners about their experience with WCC.
Today, Joseph tells us a little bit about how he found his way into crypto and gives us a sneak peek at his AML panel discussion.
World Crypto Con Spotlight: Joseph Ciccolo
Q: Just to give our readers some background, can you tell us a little about yourself, such as your schooling and professional background?
A: I went to college at Northeastern University where I remain an active alum, consulting and funding research into cryptocurrency. After graduation, I built a career in traditional bank compliance where I spent ten years in AML leadership positions at some of the top financial institutions in the US prior to launching BitAML.
Q: What year did you get into the cryptocurrency/blockchain space and what drew you to it?
A: I heard about cryptocurrency for the first time at a banking conference in 2014. The other attendees had a markedly negative view of this new tech, but it piqued my interest. At the time, I remember thinking that this innovation was long overdue in banking. I started doing some independent research into crypto, and by late 2014 and early 2015, I was attending meetups and giving some off-the-cuff compliance advice to the attendees there and online. I was having a lot of fun and decided to turn it into a full-time business. I left traditional banking and went all-in on crypto. The rest is history.
Q: You’re the founder of BitAML. What made you start a company on your own rather than just working as an exec position within the space?
A: While I was making the rounds at meetups, it struck me that the people there were some of the best and brightest I’d ever met; incredibly smart, innovative, and passionate. However, they seemed to be a little stuck when it came to compliance and money transmission laws and such. It became very clear that they weren’t just under-served, they were un-served. Once I put that together, I knew I could help these innovators and that I wanted to be along for the ride.
Q: You’re holding a panel at World Crypto Con surrounding AML and compliance. What do you want crypto enthusiasts to get out of this discussion?
A: The cryptocurrency space has matured and is ready for the next level of AML and compliance. Regulators have taken notice and examined the industry, and while there were some bright spots, it’s clear that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to our compliance. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts can look forward to learning about some of the recent developments and expectations in crypto AML and compliance, some regulatory trends to keep an eye on, and what businesses and entrepreneurs can expect in the next several months and throughout 2019.
Q: Since AML is the biggest issue for most government bodies when it comes to cryptocurrency around the world, do you see the framework of AML shifting in the crypto space with trying to comply with these new government regulations?
A: When it comes to AML, cryptocurrency is a bit of a round peg in a square hole. Governments have adapted and will continue to adapt existing regulatory frameworks in light of new technology, and this is especially true in the US. Internationally, it appears that the EU and other jurisdictions are taking proactive steps to create AML guidelines more specific to cryptocurrency.
Q: Data protection and cybersecurity are also huge points of interest for large companies looking at blockchain technology. Do you see anything new emerging in cybersecurity?
A: Absolutely. Expectations are rising. Regulators are beginning to demand stronger cybersecurity controls, documentation, data protection, and recovery. This is a regulatory compliance vertical on the rise in crypto, and we expect to see it ramp up even more in 2019.
Q: What or who are you most excited to see at World Crypto Con?
A: I’m eager to learn about the practical applications proposed for serving the unbanked and underbanked. On a personal note, as a dad, I’m interested in learning more about how blockchain can disrupt and innovate education and systems of learning.
Thanks again to World Crypto Con for the opportunity and to Joseph Ciccolo for taking the time to speak with us.
Joseph Ciccolo will be a panelist in ‘Regulation in a Decentralized World’ on November 2nd.
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