By David Drake
In late 2014 we observed a truly unique phenomenon – the rise of bitcoins. It seems as if overnight the Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC) skyrocketed its influence in the world of monetary assets. Matthew Taylor Mellon II was chosen to be the executive chairman of the committee and is expected to shape the future of the organization.
Looking at Matthew’s background, it is quite obvious why he was voted for the position with such confidence. A legacy of commerce and banking is embedded in both his and the Drexel family; their history of banking can be traced to 1869. Matthew Mellon II was chairman of the finance committee of the New York Republican party. Proclaimed by Ed Cox, a state chairman in 2011, he established even more influence and credibility after taking a major share in a series of startup businesses.
Matthew’s work with Jimmy Choo, and especially the design of lines such as Hanley Mellon, Marquis Jets and Arrival Aviation, are yet more reasons for his fame and renown. Driven by a mix of both entrepreneurial opportunism and a passion for style, Matthew serves as an example that business and finance can be just as creative. One of his more lucrative investments was for the Degrees of Freedom clothing line with his romantic partner at the time, actress Noelle Reno.
The future of Bitcoins
With established credibility in the circles of finance, it was a positive sign for many investors when Matthew publicly expressed his enthusiasm during the rise of Bitcoin. As a co-founder of Coin.co, one of the more famous bitcoin payment platforms, he definitely had his hands shaping the future of the phenomenon.
Acting as Chairman on a voluntary basis, he has publicly shown his continuing support for the industry, especially being one of the first to get involved in it. In the words of CDC President, Perianne Boring, in front of CoinDesk, “The digital asset industry has serious challenges to grow and overcome, from Washington to Wall Street. Matthew Mellon has the experience, knowledge and network that bridges these worlds due to his years of work in the financial industry and as a leading voice in shaping public policy on digital assets.”
Furthermore, “The Hill” has expressed confidence in Mellon’s ability to lead the organization and in setting the public policies for currency-related matters in Washington.
Making Matthew a new chairman was a sound strategic move. His success in both banking and fashion, two industries that are poles apart, is evidence enough about his ability to be flexible and innovative. However, it can be argued that his background in finance is much more important in this case. To a large extent the main issue with bitcoins is related to the banking resource shortages that are met by bitcoin startups in the US. The reluctance of banks to finance the sector, especially with such levels of volatility, has only been worsened by unstable politics regarding regulatory matters. This lack of funding opportunities is precisely where Mellon’s experience can prove useful.
Matt’s work with Waters
Matthew is not the only financial guru and millionaire thus far who has shown interest in the rise of bitcoins. He was, in fact, introduced to the industry by the Winklevoss twins who connected him to Alex Waters, a former Bitcoin developer. As a chief technology officer of BitInstant he had both the financial and technological expertise to make predictions about the virtual currency. It was with Waters at his side that Mellon started his campaign to transform the Bitcoin World into something more legitimate.
Their combined vision is embodied in a tracking system for owners of the currency, that is supposed to find and neutralize foul players. The result would be a dataset consisting of the identities of account owners, which would serve as a network for law enforcement personnel to find out who are misusing the abilities of the Bitcoin. In addition to that it would also serve as a warning for organizations that are planning to take on customers who use the currency.
Are all these efforts in the name of financial success? Not according to Matthew. He points out that today there is a large degree of distrust and conspicuous behavior among organizations in the financial industry and the government. In his opinion a stable virtual currency can be a mutually beneficial solution. In his own words to Fortune magazine, “The banks are going to be scratching their heads.”
Read more of David Drake’s writing on Bitcoins:
David Drake is the Chairman of LDJ Capital, a private equity advisory; Victoria Partners, a 110 family office network; Drake Hospitality Group; and The Soho Loft Media Group with Victoria Global Communications, Times Impact Publications, and The Soho Loft Conferences. Reach him directly at David@LDJCapital.com.