I’m thrilled to join the Interledger community as an Interledger Research Fellow this month to bridge the gap between your work and the evolving, global tech policy landscape.
I will be working to support the community in having a direct and positive impact in how the Interledger Protocol (ILP) is received by policymakers and lawmakers, and I want your work and contributions to align harmoniously with the shifting sands of international Internet governance. And they will be shifting this year. With NetMundial+10 in Brazil bringing together democratic nations to try to find a new consensus on how to address the “global challenges for the governance of the digital world,” the twentieth anniversary of the World Summit on the Information Society approaching (and the UN’s desire to stay relevant in cyberspace with the proposed Global Digital Compact), the Internet Governance Forum in Saudi Arabia, and China’s World Internet Conference scheduled for the fourth quarter, a lot of geopolitical shifts are a foot. It is imperative that those of us who believe in – and care about – ILP are sensitive to these changes. ILP, afterall, is a tool for economic inclusion, and I think that’s a pretty powerful lever for us to embrace in conversations around the equitable distribution of digital resources.
As part of my fellowship project, I intend to (1) share each month some insights and recommendations on how we can collectively leverage global policy development processes so that they are influenced by your unique contributions, (2) help build out a network of allies who you might wish to partner with, and (3) convene dialogues with external audiences to actively and pragmatically address difficult problems. I like to remind people that policy isn’t just for politicians because as an informed advocate, you are a changemaker. You can help solve issues for large populations at once by shifting resources to where they’re needed. But I understand that policy is also intimidating. My project as an Interledger Ambassador will try to open up some opportunities for you to be able to work directly with stakeholders from government, industry, and civil society to develop evidence-informed policy. I think this is a good year for us to engage as a community, because given all of the formal global dialogues that are opening up, there’s an undeniable urgency on the part of nation-states to tackle issues we care about. We can either be a part of the conversations and therefore the solutions, or we can be on the sidelines and maybe not heard. I think the Interledger community has such strong, inspiring values – we want a digital future that is fair, inclusive, and democratic – that it is important we make our voice heard.
A little about me: before beginning my fellowship, I was a Landecker Democracy Fellow where, with the support of the Alfred Landecker Foundation and Humanity in Action, I monitored the development of the UN Secretary-General’s proposed Global Digital Compact ahead of this year’s Summit of the Future. I was previously a rapporteur with the Forum on Information and Democracy, a research consultant to the National Democratic Institute as well as the National Endowment for Democracy, and a Mozilla technology policy fellow. I have represented European civil society organizations on the Council of the Generic Names Supporting Organization, the body which develops binding policy for top-level domain names like .COM and .ORG, and I have previously briefed the European Commission’s High Level Group on Internet Governance as an invited expert. I am currently a fellow with the Internet Law and Policy Foundry, I am a member of the Coalition for Independent Tech Research, and I serve on the Steering Committee of the joint Ford Foundation-Mozilla Foundation Public Interest Technology Network, where I work to build meaningful and actionable comradery, community, and strategic partnerships between public interest technologists around the world. Before making the pivot to tech policy, I was a producer with CNN.
I’ve long been a friend of the Interledger community, and I am inspired by the work that so many of you are doing to build out a global, interoperable payments network that works for more people. I hope we can work together this year. Whether it's advice on how to create policy goals, help identifying decision-making audiences, or suggestions on how to navigate trade-offs, please reach out to me on Slack or via email if we can collaborate in any way!