Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Blair's 2022 Finance Summit
Third-Annual Finance Summit in NYC Focuses on Blockchain Technology
Adele Starrs

An event that has been a major success since its launch in 2019, the annual Blair Finance Industry Summit took place for the third time on March 31 in New York City. Board of Trustees Chair Doug Kimmelman P’12 ’13 ’15 ’22 and Head of School Peter G. Curran invited alumni, parents and friends of Blair to take part in an evening discussion led by industry specialists in the financial sector as they explored blockchain technology and its impacts on decentralized finance, cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). What began as an hour-long conversation with the featured panelists quickly turned into an engaging question-and-answer session followed by a cocktail reception where participants networked, mingled and shared their unique perspectives. 

Mr. Kimmelman, founder of Energy Capital Partners started the event with a welcoming address before he and co-moderator Elizabeth Crain P’24 introduced the program’s guests, four meritorious Blair alumni including: Tommy Kimmelman ’15, head of artist relations at Nifty Gateway; Stephen Patane ’09, bitcoin expert on the Fidelity Digital Assets team at Fidelity Investments; Keefer Taylor ’09, Founder of Hover Labs and Tessellated Geometry; and Graham Williams ’09, expert in cryptocurrency at Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange.

Together, the speakers delved into blockchain technology, a revolutionary concept whereby technology is used to create a system to record information and that is nearly impossible to change, hack or cheat. A blockchain, essentially, is a digital ledger of transactions that can be duplicated and distributed across an entire network of computer systems that also participate in the blockchain. 

Mr. Kimmelman stressed that “a secure network is a must for consumers to have trust and faith in how their digitized information and assets are held,” and while traditional currency has lost value significantly due to inflation over the last decade, cryptocurrency has not. During the discussion, panelists pointed out additional advantages enabled by blockchain, such as giving consumers an immediacy currently impossible with traditional fund transfers and reducing the risk of theft. “No one can walk up to you and steal your crypto, the way they can your credit card number,” explained Mr. Williams. “Blockchains are opening up transparency that doesn’t exist now,” he added. “We now have the ability to have a public ledger of transactions that can be viewed by anyone across the globe, at any time, for the purpose of verifying those funds exist….That’s a massive paradigm shift. The future of being able to track money is based in crypto.”

Read more about our Finance Summit moderators and panelists below.


Moderator: Doug Kimmelman P’12 ’13 ’15 ’22, Board Chairman, Blair Academy

Doug Kimmelman established Energy Capital Partners in April 2005 and serves as its senior partner. Prior to founding Energy Capital Partners, Mr. Kimmelman spent 22 years with Goldman Sachs, starting in 1983 in the firm’s Pipeline and Utilities Department within the Investment Banking Division. He was named a general partner of the firm in 1996 and remained exclusively focused on the energy and utility sectors in the Investment Banking Division until 2002, when he transferred to the firm’s J. Aron commodity group to help form a new business for the firm in becoming an intermediary in electricity trading markets. Mr. Kimmelman was instrumental in developing the Constellation Power Source concept as the initial entry point for Goldman Sachs as a principal into electricity markets. Mr. Kimmelman also played a leadership role at Goldman Sachs in building a principal investing business in power generation and related energy assets. Mr. Kimmelman received a BA in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Moderator: Elizabeth Crain P’24, Chief Operating Officer & Founding Partner at Moelis & Company

Elizabeth Crann is the chief operating officer and a founding partner at Moelis & Company, where she leads the firm’s global strategy, infrastructure and business management functions. Ms. Crann has been in the investment banking and private equities industries for almost 35 years as banker, principal and operations executive. 

Prior to joining Moelis & Company, Ms. Crann was a managing director at UBS Investment Bank, where she was the manager of the Investment Bank Client Committee and a member of the Investment Bank Board. In addition, she was both the chief operating officer and chief administrative officer of the UBS Investment Banking Department Americas franchise. Before joining UBS, she worked in the private equity industry, and previously began her career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch.

In 2022, Ms. Crann was named of the “100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance” by Barron’s magazine. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in economics from Arizona State University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She serves on the Board of Directors of Exscientia Ltd., the Graduate Executive Board of the Wharton School and the Board of Trustees of The Windward School.


Tommy Kimmelman ’15, Head of Artist Relations at Nifty Gateway

Tommy Kimmelman is the head of artist relations at Nifty Gateway, a digital art online auction platform for non-fungible token art. Mr. Kimmelman graduated from Stanford University in 2019 with a bachelor’s in communications. Though he initially worked as a business development specialist, a mutual connection led to his introduction to  the founders of Nifty Gateway, Duncan and Griffin Cock Foster, and his current position with the industry-leading start-up. During his tenure at Nifty Gateway, Mr. Kimmelman has worked with some of the most renowned artists in the world including Beeple, Pak, Refik Anadol and other widely followed NFT artists.


Keefer Taylor ’09, Founder of Hover Labs & Tessellated Geometry

Keefer Taylor graduated from the University of Richmond and spent the first six years of his career working as a software engineer at Google, working on various projects in San Francisco, New York and London. In 2017, he became interested in the possibilities of blockchain and began contributing to open-source cryptocurrency projects while investing in digital assets. As his interest grew, he left Google to spend a year as an engineering lead in Ripple’s internal incubator, RippleX. During that time, Mr. Taylor founded Tessellated Geometry, a proof of stake validator firm that helps to secure blockchain networks by participating in consensus. In early 2020, he co-founded Hover Labs, a company focused on creation of decentralized products, infrastructure and services, and launched Kolibri, a decentralized algorithmic stablecoin built on the Tezos Network. Mr. Taylor graduated from the University of Richmond with a bachelor’s in computer science.


Stephen Patane ’09, Professional in Bitcoin for the Fidelity Digital Assets Team at Fidelity Investments

Stephen Patane was a member of the swim and crew teams at Blair. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he studied economics and rowed for another four years. Following graduation, he received his commission in the Navy and was selected for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training. Through this intensive course, he learned to locate, identify, render safe and explosively dispose of foreign and domestic ordnance, including conventional, chemical, biological, nuclear, underwater and terrorist-type devices to enable access across a wide range of military operations.

Following EOD training, Mr. Patane served as platoon commander in Virginia Beach, Virginia, at EOD Mobile Unit Twelve. He led platoons in Bahrain and Somalia, and, together with his team, was responsible for all EOD and counter-improvised explosive device operations in East Africa. Most recently, Mr. Patane joined Fidelity Investments where he works to build and deliver enterprise-grade bitcoin custody and other services for large institutions looking to enter the space. He has designed and implemented crypto adoption strategy between Fidelity Digital Assets and the wider Fidelity ecosystem, delivering strategic initiatives across the institutional and personal investing space.


Graham Williams ’09, Expert in Cryptocurrency at Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange

Graham Williams is currently an API specialist and data wrangler at FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, a Bahamian cryptocurrency exchange that was built by traders, for traders. FTX offers innovative products including industry-first derivatives, options, volatility products, tokenized stocks, and leveraged tokens and develops platforms that are robust enough for professional trading firms and intuitive enough for first-time users. As of July 2021, the exchange averaged $10 billion of daily trading volume and had over one million users. Mr. Williams graduated from Rice University with a bachelor’s in economics. Before his current role, Mr. Williams worked for Asana and Slack as an analytics developer, and Planet Payments as a vice president in Business Development and Partnerships for Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.
 

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