Chicago Innovators Pioneer Blockchain


City at the Forefront 

The financial sector, one of the most established systems of society, is being disrupted through innovation and technology. In Chicago, because of our strength in IT infrastructure and a strong talent pool in data science and finance, innovators are pioneering new technology in blockchain and cryptocurrency that will reshape markets, information systems, and communication.

Chicago is at the forefront of this new frontier, with a number of organizations and startups leading the blockchain space. Founded in May 2017 and housed in tech incubator 1871, the Chicago Blockchain Project is a 2,600-member organization that monetizes synergies in the blockchain community through events, education, sponsors, and partnership, using its profits to then reinvest in the Chicago blockchain ecosystem to incentivize collaboration and growth.


“Blockchain is not just impacting the financial sector. It is a form of digitization that will have implications at a global, trans-institutional scale. Just as the internet has made its way into be each and every industry sector and vertical, so to will this technology.”

-Jimmy Odom, Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship for ChicagoNEXT


According to Jimmy Odom, Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship for ChicagoNEXT, “Blockchain is not just impacting the financial sector. It is a form of digitization that will have implications at a global, trans-institutional scale. Just as the internet has made its way into be each and every industry sector and vertical, so to will this technology. By collaborating together and using innovation to drive equitable growth, we can forge a path to becoming a global city where everyone can prosper.”

This was on full display at our Chicago Venture Summit, which featured a panel discussion on “Why VCs Should Put Their Money on Crypto” between Brad Koeppen, Head of Crypto Trading and President of Business Development at CMT Digital; Jennifer O’Rourke, Co-Founder and President of Attest; Paul Bauerschmidt, Product Lead for Coinbase Markets and Co-Head of the Chicago Office of Coinbase; and Saurabh Sharma, Partner at Jump Capital. And just two weeks ago, Chicago-based crypto trading platform FRST raised $3.4 million in seed capital from Vestigo Ventures and CMT Digital.

“The Chicago tech and financial community are keeping tabs on the leadership role the city has now established in fintech and the impact it can make on the economy and the way we all do business and live,” added Mr. Odom.

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