WYOMING BEE | Blockchain Education for Everyone: Meet Bill Taylor

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By Mike Wilkins


Bill Taylor is a preeminent and widely published international thought leader on investing in Bitcoin, Digital Assets & Gold.  He has over thirty five years experience in the financial markets, beginning as an original member of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and subsequently as a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.  He was also co-founder, principal and CEO of Cornerstone Ventures, a publicly traded securities/futures and money management firm with offices in Chicago & LaJolla. 

In recent years, Bill along with his partner Cindy are focused on digital media in the wealth management space, including launching Digital Wealth News in 2020 and its predecessor, FintekNews, in 2016 which they later sold in 2018. As part of their work, they’re involved in the creation and development of education materials designed to support the new digital economy, including a 12-part curriculum which they’re about to bring to life with the University of Wyoming Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation. Bill caught up with the DWN editorial team in March to discuss what the program means for Wyoming, and where he sees it going in the future.


DWN: Bill, how does an “old school” trader and money manager get involved with blockchain?

BT: “Working for a financial publication has given me the opportunity to stay close to what’s new and innovative in all aspects of finance, and obviously blockchain and DLT have been right at the forefront of what’s happening. As a long-time trader I’ve always looked for different ways to capitalize on price movements to generate returns – and the moves in bitcoin certainly have given me the chance to dive in. At the same time, an important part of the trader’s mindset is understanding the asset class that they’re trading in – so I started exploring more and more about blockchain since it’s the infrastructure that bitcoin uses.”

DWN: What about blockchain really stands out to you?

BT: “It’s really just how many different real-world use cases there are. It’s so much more than just games and cryptocurrencies.

One thing that really interests me is Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). These are entities that are governed digitally, where token holders get to participate in the decision making process, which is obviously all managed on a blockchain. You can do everything from crowdfunding to exchanging different digital currencies.

You also have a lot of different things going on in traditional finance and banking right now which use blockchain. Did you know that it’s used for almost 10% of home equity loan processing? It can support making it easier to invest in art and real estate, plus it can make the auction process more efficient. One of the big-name banks in Chicago, Burling Bank, just got sold to a digital asset bank called LevelField, so you’re definitely seeing more and more of these partnerships between traditional and next generation financial institutions.

Thinking closer to home for me, since I live in Montana, there’s a lot that it can do to help farmers and ranchers. Using blockchain can help ranchers track their herds of cattle, and help farmers get paid faster when they sell their crops.

It just makes things run smoother and faster.”

DWN: So what’s going on in Wyoming? And how did you get involved?

BT: “It’s a very attractive place to work and to build or expand a business. First of all, the state has no corporate taxes, and very low income taxes. They’re seeing an influx of companies wanting to incorporate there. Some in the press are even calling it ‘Digital Delaware.’

More importantly, Wyoming is the most progressive state in the US right now as far as the digital economy is concerned. They’re very bullish on the future of technologies like blockchain, and are doing everything they can to attract businesses focused on it to Wyoming through incentives and infrastructure improvements. So obviously a big part of attracting those businesses is to have a population that understands blockchain so there’s a talent pool for companies to hire from.

As for me, I have been collaborating for a while with a digital investment bank called Entoro, down in Houston. We’ve worked together on the ideation of blockchain-centric interval funds.  The firm’s principal, James Row, is a University of Wyoming alum, so he started telling me about what’s going on at the state level there in the digital asset sector, and it was incredible. At the same time, I saw a real chance given my background and understanding to get in there and see how I could potentially help.”

DWN: The obvious question then becomes – how did you help?

BT: “I was lucky enough to be introduced to Steve Lupien, who runs the Center for Blockchain & Digital Innovation at University of Wyoming. Steve has been really close to the high schools and junior colleges in the state, and he’s seen the ‘brain drain’ firsthand – talented kids grow up in Wyoming, go off to college, and then end up getting jobs in Silicon Valley or on the East Coast.

So what Steve has realized is that attracting business doesn’t make sense if you don’t have a population who understands what that business is doing and why it matters. He’s given a lot of thought to the fact that without a fundamental understanding of the technology, it’s pretty hard to open up the avenues of opportunity associated with it.

Steve wanted to create a program that provided an educational framework that made sense for where the state is right now.  Digital Wealth News was fortunate to be selected to create a curriculum on blockchain for Wyoming’s high school junior, senior and community college students, and 18 months later, we now have a clearly defined plan as to what a curriculum should look like.”

DWN: What happens from here?

BT: “Well, we’re working with the American Crypto Academy to create the curriculum content. But as that’s happening, we also need to start getting this subject matter out into the field, and the way we do that is through getting the teachers up to speed on all of this as there really is no precedent for it.  So the plan is t roll out pilot programs in three Wyoming school districts this fall – Laramie, Powell and Cody – so we’ve got representation from districts of all sizes.

The beauty of this program is that it’s easy to adapt for organizations of all different shapes and audiences. We can scale it for educational systems in other states, or companies, or charities.

One great thing about the network that Cindy and I have built in our time at DWN is that we’ve got plenty of people we can bring in for guidance on this project, from folks in government and education relations, PR, and industry c-suites. So the decisions we have made about creating, promoting and marketing this program have all bee with the assistance of some very smart people”.

DWN: Any closing thoughts for us, Bill?

BT: “This initiative has been incredibly satisfying for me and the rest of the team involved. It’s really the perfect time to get more and more of the population, and not just those in high school and college, to have an ever better understanding of how much of a game changer blockchain technology is, and Digital Wealth News is so pleased to be working with Wyoming to lead the charge.”


We are proud to announce that Digital Wealth Newsin conjunction with the American Crypto Academyhas partnered with the University of Wyoming Center for Blockchain & Digital Innovation to offer a 12-module course on blockchain for Wyoming’s high school juniors, seniors & community college studentes beginning with the Fall 2023 school year.  The modules will also be available for a nominal licensing fee to other schools throughout the US.

Contact DWN’s publisher Cindy Taylor at cindy (at) dwealth (dot) news if you would like details on sponsoring this initiative or how you can help bring these modules to students in your community.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON THIS DIRECTIVE


Author Mike Wilkins is a capital markets industry veteran, with over 20 years experience in business development, product marketing and strategy roles. Mike has worked for enterprise firms and startups in Chicago, London and New York.