Venture Capital Firm Paradigm to Host Crypto Tech Event for US Policymakers

The Hands On Web3 affair aims to give U.S. policymakers a hands-on demonstration of the crypto technologies they could regulate.

AccessTimeIconNov 3, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 3, 2022 at 6:37 p.m. UTC
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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.

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Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

Crypto-focused investment firm Paradigm will host its first public event in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, to help members of the U.S. Congress and other policymakers better understand the Web3 technologies they’re attempting to regulate.

Hands On Web3 will take place about a week after the U.S. midterm elections, where 435 House seats and 35 Senate seats are up for a vote, potentially changing the landscape of Congress and crypto regulation efforts.

“I frequently liken it to asking someone to design an umbrella when they've never even seen the rain,” Paradigm Chief Legal Officer Katie Biber told CoinDesk in an interview. “What we're trying to do is change that – to experience crypto is to understand crypto.”

To be held in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station, Hands On Web3 will be tailored toward policymakers, academics and the media. The event will include demonstrations from non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea, crypto exchange FTX and crypto music startup Royal, among others. The demos will include ways for participants to get hands-on experience with crypto transactions like setting up a wallet or joining a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).

“There are some ethical restrictions with some offices that can't own crypto,” said Paradigm U.S. Policy Manager John Heinemann, who previously worked for the House Committee on Financial Services. “That's why every booth is bringing their own device so people can play with it without running afoul of any ethics rules.”

The event will also include “pop-up policy discussions” with former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Georgetown University School of Law's Chris Brummer, Uniswap Labs Chief Operating Officer Mary-Catherine Lader and Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.). The special guests will appear at the event’s reception and will each briefly share their views on topics such as decentralized finance or recent developments with DAO regulations, said Biber, whose work history includes serving as general counsel for digital assets firm Anchorage and the 2012 presidential campaign for Mitt Romney.

“Our internal mantra for this event is that it’s all tech, no politics," explained Biber. “This is not an opportunity for lobbying or for cramming legislative ideas down the throats of attendees. It’s purely to allow them to see the technology and the exciting implications that we feel like it has for the world.”

UPDATE (17:23 UTC): Updates quote in final paragraph to correct wording.

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Brandy covers crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.