From forging Dodd Frank legislation in Congress to serving as Senior Counsel at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Michelle Bond has played the role of the quintessential D.C. power broker in crypto as of late. From top leadership roles as the Global Policy Lead at Bloomberg, Blockchain.com, and Ripple, a seasoned group of the top caliber Wall Street players that make up the Association of Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) should feel fortunate to have Bond as their new CEO.
Serving in both the public and private sectors, Bond brings with her a wealth of strategic, regulatory, and legal experience. Bond has engaged directly with global regulators, legislators, and industry associations, in addition to overseeing teams of attorneys and regulatory affairs professionals.
“We look forward to Michelle leveraging her expertise to guide us through a rapidly changing landscape, grow our membership, and launch exciting new strategic initiatives that help our members stay ahead of breaking developments in digital asset regulation,” said Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital. “Michelle’s appointment serves as further evidence that ADAM will be the group that finally tames crypto for Wall Street,” noted John Sarson of Sarson Funds.
ADAM is a private, membership-based association of firms operating in the digital asset marketplace. According to its website, ADAM describes itself as working with leading financial firms, entrepreneurs, and regulators to develop industry best practices to facilitate safe, secure, and efficient digital asset markets. ADAM members include market participants such as trading platforms, custodians, investors, asset managers, traders, liquidity providers, and brokers that operate in the digital asset ecosystem.
It was great to catch up with Bond and get an early glimpse of the charismatic leader and her plans for helping to bring some regulation clarity in D.C. so Wall Street can maintain its role as the epicenter of trading and market activity in the world with cryptocurrency.
Jason Brett: Hello, and congratulations on the new role! So, why ADAM?
Michelle Bond: ADAM has an outstanding membership roster. These firms are some of the most well respected in the industry, and I’m thrilled to be working with such dynamic players.
ADAM’s members have taken a step beyond what is currently necessary in the regulatory environment today by creating and agreeing to abide by the principles outlined in ADAM’s Code of Conduct, aiming towards the highest standards of integrity, efficiency, and compliance. We are partnering with policymakers and other like-minded firms to foster fair and orderly digital asset markets.
The financial services community is rapidly realizing that crypto/digital assets are not only here to stay, but that the underlying technology will transform business as we know it.
This is the infrastructure of the future.
Brett: Who are the members of ADAM?
Bond: ADAM has a diverse representation of significant players in the digital asset space. ADAM’s member firms include Anchorage, BitGo, BitOoda, BlockFi, BTIG, CMT Digital, Cumberland (DRW), Galaxy Digital, Genesis Global Trading, GSR, Hudson River Trading (HRT), Parataxis Capital, Paxos, Sarson Funds, Symbiont, and XBTO Group.
Brett: How has your career prepared you for this?
Bond: I’ve spent my entire career working on financial services issues, in both the public and private sectors. I started my career at FINRA before practicing law at large law firms. While serving as counsel at the Senate Banking Committee, I wrote legislation and oversaw the federal financial regulators; at the SEC, I wrote regulations and worked on regulatory cooperation among agencies; and then I worked in the private sector where I advanced sound public policy and implemented regulatory changes.
I’ve worked on every step of the financial services regulatory trajectory, which is highly relevant to what fintech companies will experience, in terms of preparing for future regulatory measures. I’m proud of the ADAM Code of Conduct, which serves as a great framework for discussions with policymakers.
Brett: What is the number one hurdle to institutional adoption?
Bond: The lack of a roadmap for how to operate or create a transparent, orderly, and efficient digital marketplace is one factor — this is why ADAM’s founding members gathered together to form our organization and a principles-based Code of Conduct, which harkens back to the rules abided by those in traditional financial markets. They believed this would help with the adoption of digital assets and growth — and they were right! By giving institutional-grade participants comfort as they navigate this territory, it helps the industry as a whole. There are serious players in this industry, interested in playing by “rules of the road,” and making this industry even more sophisticated.
Brett: What is it about the ‘code of conduct’ that you believe differentiates ADAM?
Bond: ADAM requires its members to agree to comply with our Code of Conduct, a framework of best practices that establishes the highest standards of integrity within the industry. ADAM’s Code was not created to replace or circumvent regulation; the Code exists to enable industry to pave the way toward fair and orderly digital asset markets by complementing existing laws and regulation, and promoting ethical conduct by all digital asset market participants. ADAM stands apart from others in various ways, with the Code as a starting point. ADAM serves as an information exchange for industry participants, regulators, lawmakers, and others interested in working with us on responsible solutions that cultivate an ethical marketplace for digital assets.
Brett: Will you be based in D.C.?
Brett: It sounds like you left Ripple to do this full-time – what was it that resulted in the jump?
Bond: The opportunity to move from being an executive to being the chief executive is incredibly exciting for me! And as the leader of a trade association, ADAM will have the opportunity to help the entire industry evolve as opposed to the mission of a single company. Hearing from our diverse membership provides us with a comprehensive understanding of various considerations that digital asset firms have, therefore providing insight to policymakers and champions of the industry as a whole.
Brett: Chris Larsen from Ripple has been mentioning how it is considering leaving the U.S. Do you believe that if regulations and rules do not move in the right direction, the U.S. risks seeing institutional crypto’s home base overseas?
Bond: The digital asset space is relatively new, and there are real opportunities to shape future policies –as the leader of ADAM, I am focused on advancing our membership’s collective interests. We are confident that we can address and enhance the regulatory future of digital assets—which is why they brought me onboard.
Brett: Do you have any immediate action plan on the regulatory and policy front or any burning issues you want to see addressed?
Bond: With Election Day fast approaching, we will be ready to communicate with our members the implications of results, as they become available, at the state and federal levels. The results will likely have implications for digital assets; it will be critical that we quickly explain the consequences to our members and identify any next steps for our association in light of these developments. In the longer term, I will be focused on supporting current members and growing our membership base, while concurrently launching new strategic initiatives that will position our members to serve as trusted partners with policymakers in adopting best practices.
Brett: Thank you for your time.