The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: JOSEPH HARDWICKE '22

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Joseph Hardwicke '22 interned at the Association for Digital Asset Markets during the 2021 winter term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.

This winter, I worked as an intern at The Association for Digital Asset Markets, a membership-based association of digital asset firms working to foster fair and orderly markets where participants can transact with confidence. I worked on all aspects of administration, strategy, and management of the fast-growing organization. Over the course of the term, I completed two major projects: creating a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of a new proposed rule by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network around increasing the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for transactions with “un-hosted” wallets, and drafting a series of policy recommendations for digital asset markets to the NYDFS as part of a strategic workshop to improve digital asset regulation. Working at such a small and flexible organization, I was pushed outside my comfort zone in more ways than one, and one of the most valuable lessons I will take away from this experience is that I don’t need to know everything before I jump into a particular situation. I became much more adaptive, ready and willing to complete any task asked of me to the best of my ability.

The two main projects I completed made meaningful contributions to the future of the organization and to digital asset policy in general. With the cost/benefit analysis, I was able to forestall the hasty implementation of a rule with massive negative consequences that might have reverberated across the entire financial sector by delineating the specific impacts on digital asset service providers. My contributions were included in multiple comment letters sent to FinCEN, who agreed to open up a formal review process of the various costs and benefits associated with the rule. My other project, the policy proposal to the NYDFS, was well received and taken under consideration for future policy direction. To aid in continuous monitoring, data collection, and automatic early warning signals, I proposed a new system of digital regulatory reporting that utilized blockchain technology. In short, regulatory policies would be converted into machine-executable code, which would then be encoded into smart contracts that would be distributed to various regulated firms and executed against standardized firm data. The NYDFS was thoroughly intrigued by the idea, and it represented a huge success for ADAM and myself.

The diversity of work that comes with such a small organization was a huge positive for me. I gained experience in many different professional areas, was given creative leeway to strategize and develop my own solutions to complex problems, and communicated with various stakeholders at all levels. In addition, the unique nature of my work led me to take deep dives into the current knowledge and understanding of cutting-edge financial technology, infrastructure, and public policy. Although stressful at times, it was a fascinating experience to be asked to present policy proposals to organizations whose entire mission and goals revolved around digital asset regulation. I had to learn as much as I could about the methods by which digital asset services providers conduct their business, the nature of the assets themselves, and current regulations in the field.

In conclusion, my internship with the Association for Digital Asset Markets was a unique and rewarding experience. I learned a lot, not only about the emerging financial sector of digital assets, but about the inner workings of public policy and the interaction between private firms, non-profit organizations, and government agencies and developing regulatory frameworks for novel products and services. I’m deeply grateful to the Rockefeller center for allowing me to have this opportunity, and am excited to continue my career at this intersection of finance, technology, and public policy moving forward.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.

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