The blockchain community needs to educate regulators on crypto and blockchain policy best practices if good legislation is to be drafted.
We have formed a non-profit entity that will hold events and share resources about how to properly understand crypto and blockchain.
This is the total amount allocated to IRI: Educating Crypto Regulators
As blockchain networks gain utility they are coming under more scrutiny than ever by lawmakers and regulators. Members of the blockchain community will need to expand existing organizations and start new organizations to organize community members and educate government agents and legislators.
We have recently formed a non-profit entity named "The Immutable Research Institute" (IRI) to organize such activities within the United States. As an officially registered organization we will be able to work with lawmakers, businesses, and other institutions to plan and organize our endeavors. We have retained Gordon Law Group, LTD in Chicago, IL as legal counsel that is currently working to obtain 501(c)3 status so that we will be able to accept tax-deductible donations from persons who wish to see their money used to promote wider blockchain adoption.
The mission of our organization will be to educate the public about blockchain technology and advocate for good regulatory frameworks that support the industry. We will be proceeding on this mission with or without Catalyst funds but getting funds from the Treasury will give us a longer runway for success and allow us to produce more documentation that will be useful for the wider community.
IRI will be based out of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, which is the home of the University of Illinois as well as the headquarters of companies like Runtime Verification and Wolfram Blockchain Labs. Our directors are members of the Champaign Blockchain Meetup group sponsored by the University of Illinois Research Park with ties to the public policy world and traditional finance. Illinois is a hub of technology and finance in the Midwest United States and has a progressive outlook on blockchain with the Illinois Blockchain Technology Act officially recognizing Smart Contracts as legally binding and immutable blockchains as legally acceptable ledgers.
We foresee three main challenges to the organization.
Currently, we have been established as a non-profit organization with the State of Illinois and filed a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation application with the IRS with the help of our legal representatives. This step should allow us to begin activities in good faith, with the expectation that our application will be approved. We have already commissioned the legal memo that will inform this filing and been in talks of the best way to proceed under the law.
Within 3 months we will be ready answer any questions that the IRS may have in regards to the granting of our non-profit status. We will have started engaging in educational activities and building our organization to facilitate more programs. We will also have built bridges with other like-minded organization to promote our educational mission and engage the Cardano Community.
Within 6 months we will be part of a robust network of blockchain advocates that are making a positive impact on the ecosystem. We will be operating quality education programs that helps people understand and appreciate blockchain technologies. We will also provide resources for other blockchain education and advocacy groups to form and help them get involved with our network.
Within 12 months we will be holding our own education and networking events to advance the crypto and blockchain industries. We will provide a forum where those who study and work in blockchain can interact with lawmakers to help them understand the first principles of this technology and the ways that it can enhance human cooperation.
Up until now, we have been operating as an informal Meetup group. With an official organization backing our efforts we plan to build a network of like-minded individuals who can coordinate education and advocacy. We will be a resource to anyone who wishes to learn more about favorable blockchain policies and put them into action. We will also seek partnership with the University, corporations, and other blockchain groups that have interest in our mission.
$12,000 - Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform subscription (1 year)
Utilizing a CRM will be essential to organize education and fundraising campaigns.
$10,000 - Legal expenses for non-profit compliance
We must stay in compliance to be considered reputable by policy makers.
$3,000 - Seed funds for event planning (Reservation deposits, volunteer gifts, etc)
Down payments will be needed for events that can net us operating expenses.
We believe this budget is enough for a "catalyst" to start the organization. As our operations grow we will be able to raise additional funds from donors, grant organizations, and event fees.
Adam Rusch holds a PhD from the University of Illinois in Education Policy where he works as a Lecturer in Information Sciences and eLearning Specialist. He is the organizer of the Champaign Blockchain meetup group with a passion for cryptocurrency education and public policy. He is also a Core Contributor to ADAO and wrote the ADAO Constitution.
Matthew Plomin has been working in finance in New York for over a dozen years. His work has been primarily on fund management, credit risk management, and portfolio management for fixed income mutual funds. He is currently working on mutual fund tokenization and ESG integration issues within structured finance and has started the Project Bookworm CNFT project with his wife, Jillian, an author.
Kris Knigga is a technologist with a decade of experience in the Fintech industry. He currently holds a position engineering infrastructure solutions for an electronic futures and options trading platform. Some have called him a shadowy super coder.
The Cardano Community will be able to audit us by observing whether we are meeting the goals outlined in our detailed plan and timeline. We will publish regular updates about our organization on our website and social media accounts.
We believe that "success" of this project can be seen through two of the Key Metrics of this project category.
We were incredibly impressed by the number of connections we made with members of the Cardano Community from our Catalyst F7 proposal, even though it wasn't funded. We had several others in the legal profession and regulatory space personally connect with us and received more followers to our Meetup group and YouTube channel. As we expand to a general audience we hope to maintain these connections and build on them to bring in cross-chain blockchain users and pre-coiners.
As members of the Cardano community we have already been connecting with groups like ADA Cafe, ADAO, The Alexandria Project, and other CNFT creators. We have also used our Research Park connections to build bridges with industry groups like Runtime Verification, Wolfram Blockchain, and the Disruption Lab at Gies College of Business, who are supportive of our educational efforts. We look forward to expanding these connections and drawing in more companies and policy groups.
We submitted a proposal in F7: Lobbying for Favorable Legislation asking for legal costs to be covered: https://cardano.ideascale.com/c/idea/384085
Our F7 proposal was not funded so we self-funded the startup legal costs. We were grateful for some very good feedback from that proposal and several people encouraged us to resubmit, so this submission has been revised and updated to include funds needed for our operations going forward.
We believe that blockchain technologies are inherently aligned with Sustainable Development Goals by virtue of the decentralization philosophy that empowers every individual to make a difference in their own community and the wider world. Some of the SDGs that IRI would match with in particular:
Founding members include Adam Rusch, a PhD in Education Policy and Lecturer in Information Sciences; Matthew Plomin, an Asset Manager for Deutsche Bank and CNFT Creator; and Kristoffer Knigga, a SysAdmin for High-frequency Trading Firms.