A Conversation with Joel Telpner about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), Blockchain, Career Advice and More!
(Listed below is an edited transcript of Joel Telpner's conversation with Dan Carmody)
Dan Carmody: Hi. Welcome to another episode of FinTech Intellects in-depth interviews. My name is Dan Carmody and I'm the Executive Director of TreaSolution and I'm really pleased to be joined today with Joel Telpner, who is a senior partner with Sullivan & Worcester, which is a law firm based out of Boston. But I believe Joel works out of New York. So welcome, Joel. Thanks for joining me today.
Joel Teplner: Thank you. But I thought you were supposed to be talking to fintech intellects. So, I'm not sure I should be actually participating in this, but I'll do my best.
Dan Carmody: Well, I would beg to differ. You are in charge of the fintech and blockchain practice at the firm… so you qualify. So thrilled to have you on the line today and to talk with you. Joel, tell me a little bit about Sullivan & Worcester and specifically what you do for the fintech and blockchain practice.
Joel Teplner: We are a global law firm, a mid-sized law firm that started in Boston. We have offices besides Boston, New York, Washington, London and Tel Aviv. I run the FinTech and practice group for the firm and it is a corporate practice where the focus of the clients that we work with are primarily folks that are doing things in the fintech space. A lot of what I do involves a lot of startups or early stage companies that are looking at blockchain technologies and looking at how they can reinvent or change the world or do things differently using blockchain.
A lot of the activity or focus on blockchain happens to involve financial services and there's a strong correlation between financial technology or fintech and blockchain. The common denominator is looking at new technologies and how we can disrupt the way people do business right now using blockchain and related types of technologies.
Dan Carmody: That's great. Would you say that your clients are primarily financial institutions, startup services, a combination of all of the above?
Joel Teplner: Some of the clients are just early stage companies that are trying to come up with new technology products were blockchain may be playing some type of role. Some of the clients are private equity or venture capital firms that are looking at investing in the space or are looking at using what are called "Digitized Tokens" to actually go out into the market with their own fund interest, but in a new form. Some of the clients are what I would call intermediary service providers.
People are trying to create things like trading platforms or exchanges for the blockchain space. And then we have some government clients. So, it's really diverse because you've got a lot of different players looking at how they can use blockchain for all kinds of different reasons. So that makes it both fun and challenging because every day tends to be different from every other day.
Dan Carmody: You and I started talking a few months back. You submitted a presentation to be a speaker at the upcoming U.S. FinTech Symposium. For everyone that's new to FinTech Intellects, TreaSolution produces the U.S. FinTech Symposium. I'll put a link down below in the description for people who are interested in viewing that website. You and I started talking about speaking at the event and you were going to talk about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) which is a really hot topic. Can you tell us a little bit more about what they are, what are their use cases and things along those lines?
No hype... just intelligent conversations about financial technology.