Speaker bios

Rob Knight (Co-founder, Mattereum)

Mattereum provides the necessary legal-technical interface between the automated transfer of digital assets on the blockchain and the enforcement of rights in goods and services in the material world.  

Rob Knight, an experienced entrepreneur, software engineer and architect and Chief Technology Officer, is responsible for the overall management of Mattereum, notably implementation and co-ordination of the technology. He has exceptional experience as lead manager of corporate technology projects at the Royal Mail, Post Office and ITV and designed software for management licensing for BBC Worldwide.

Educated as a software engineer at Liverpool John Moores University, Rob began his career as a web developer working primarily with Drupal and creating sites that ranged from online magazines to e-commerce stores and public sector information portals, all providing good grounding in the online needs of the corporate sector.

He was Lead Technical Architect at PRWD, the conversion rate optimisation agency, and provided consultancy services to a wide range of manufacturing businesses through the Maunfacturing Institute and to Capgemini and ITV (as part of their web re-development and pay-per-view ITV player programme).

In 2011, he became Lead Developer for CMC Markets maintaining a gobal network of websites for spread betting and CFD trading platforms before joining Vinay Gupta in the creation of Hexayurt Capital, lead sponsor of Mattereum. He is also Chief Technical Officer at Fluxus, a specialised consultancy for enterprise Drupal projects.

Over his career, he has led teams building large-scale logistics, financial regulatory compliance and intellectual property management systems. He is also an adviser to the Swiss-based non-profit Sweetbridge which sponsors the development of blockchain-based protocols and applications to transform global supply chains and is a frequent speaker and author on software development, management and blockchain technology.


Professor Michael Mainelli (Co-founder, Z/Yen)

Z/Yen is the City of London's leading commercial think-tank and venture firm founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. It helps organisations make better choices.

Professor Michael Mainelli FCCA FCSI FBCS is a qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin, Michael gained his PhD at London School of Economics where he was also a Visiting Professor.  His PhD was on the application of risk/reward methodologies involving chaotic systems. Michael’s career summary is a decade of technology research, followed by a decade in finance, then two decades at Z/Yen.

Michael’s early scientific research in aerospace (rocket science) and computer graphics led to him starting Swiss companies in seismology, cartography and energy information. Michael spent seven years as a senior partner and board member of the leading accountancy firm, BDO Binder Hamlyn, directing global consulting projects. Michael served as a Director of Europe’s largest R&D organisation (DERA) leading to two privatisations. Career highlights include:

  • creating Z/Yen’s Long Finance, Global Financial Centres Index, London Accord, Global Intellectual Property Index, Farsight Award and other initiatives;

  • developing a £100 million business within the UK Ministry of Defence operating as a senior civil servant (military 2-star equivalent) commercialising defence technology;

  • growing an accountancy consultancy, BDO Consulting, profitably to 100 people with global privatisation, finance, technology, government, services and NGO clients;

  • conceiving and producing the first complete digital map of the world in 1983, Mundocart, the as well as the $20 million Geodat consortium cartography project (a 1980’s Google Earth).

At Z/Yen, Michael’s speciality is enhancing the performance of profit-making, charitable and government organisations and investments in conditions of high uncertainty. Michael has worked in the public sector on privatisations and strategy; in the private sector in a variety of industries (banking, insurance, manufacturing, media, retail, utilities, television, distribution) on problems ranging from strategy through information systems, quality, human resources, environmental systems and R&D; and in the voluntary sector on a number of assignments to improve performance. For example, Michael has led our studies of global investment banks’ operations & IT strategy, worked as Chief Technology Officer for a cancer detection technology firm, built a global website to aid young people’s understanding of financial markets through an innovative game and helped the UK Cabinet Office Strategy Unit develop sustainable UK fishing policies.

Amongst Michael’s many awards his biggest honour was the Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Commerce chair (2005-2009) at Gresham College, founding home of the Royal Society where he remains Emeritus Professor and Trustee. He has published over 50 journal articles, 180 commercial articles and four books.


Rutger van Zuidam (Founder, Dutchchain)

Dutchchain design and build blockchain based software solutions, kickstart the ecosystem with the largest blockchain hackathon in Europe, and share knowledge through their magazine and conferences.

Rutger van Zuidam (1983, Groningen, The Netherlands) is an entrepreneur and owner of DutchChain, one of the leading blockchain businesses in the Netherlands on a mission: improving society through blockchain based solutions. Its activities include developing software (as a service) solutions, organizing ecosystem events like the Dutch Blockchain Conference (one of the leading events in Europe) and a large scale open innovation programme: The Dutch Blockchain Hackathon (the largest in Europe).

Prior to founding DutchChain, Rutger has been active in the area of Blockchain and Bitcoin technology since 2010 and created online magazine IntoBitcoin.com early 2013.  Shortly after this he introduced the first Bitcoin enabled Point of Sales system for bars/restaurants at the Bitcoin Café Groningen as well as the first hands free payment solution called EAZE, combining Bitcoin and Google Glass. In October 2014, Rutger co- produced and published the world famous 6 minute animation explaining the true value of the Blockchain.

Before, as a Business & Information Technology Management student at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Groningen), he was co-founder of online ticketing company Paylogic.com and commercial director until 2008. In 2011 he was back at Hanze University to renew the complete internet, intranet and community system for over 3000 FTE and 26.000 students, using MS SharePoint 2013.


Jason Law (Co-founder/CTO, Evernym)

Evernym has developed the world’s first publicly available distributed ledger - Sovrin - to enable digital identity that is permanent, portable, private and completely secure; in other words: self-sovereign.

Jason Law, co-founder and CTO of Evernym, has consistently found himself immersed in world-changing technologies long before most people even know they exist. He began developing software for hire while still a teenager, on a personal computer that was quite impersonal. He operated extensively on the internet in the days when everybody else sought to master faxing. He ran the software that powers the cryptocurrency bitcoin while that technology was still considered a wild experiment.

In each instance, Jason watched as his early involvement in a space understood by few went on to be part of something much larger.

Jason’s mastery of software development, the internet and cryptotechnologies combine to help him lead Evernym’s progress toward deploying the world’s first solution for endowing every human with true, self-sovereign digital identity.

In between his early ventures on the cutting edge of computer science, Jason earned an MBA from Brigham Young University, served as CTO at financial app developer Finicity and spent several years with data storage firm PowerQuest/Symantec.

Along the way, Jason acquired expert status in the world of relational databases and is fluent in a long list of programming languages — many of which even seasoned geeks have never heard of. He also built Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential transition website, which, unfortunately for Jason and Mitt, the voters did not see fit to allow go live.

As CTO at Evernym, Jason’s aim is to oversee the creation of the self-sovereign identity layer that has long been missing from the internet, and to do it in a way that will empower all people to operate and transact securely in their daily lives.

As proof that he really knows what he’s talking about here, Jason published the following academic works, which are even more interesting than their titles let on.


Elizabeth Renieris (Global Policy Counsel, Evernym)

Evernym has developed the world’s first publicly available distributed ledger - Sovrin - to enable digital identity that is permanent, portable, private and completely secure; in other words: self-sovereign.

Elizabeth M. Renieris (CIPP/US, CIPP/E) is an entrepreneurial attorney, thought-leader and strategic consultant who is passionate about emerging technologies and their impact on privacy, identity, society, and collective consciousness. She is particularly interested in the unique challenges posed by blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

In her role as Global Policy Counsel, Elizabeth advises Evernym on both foreign and domestic legal and policy challenges, particularly as they relate to self-sovereign identity (SSI), trust frameworks, and data protection and privacy matters. Elizabeth is particularly focused on reaching a “new deal on data” that is user-centric, user-controlled, and privacy-enhancing.

In prior roles, Elizabeth has counseled global technology companies and startups alike on all aspects of data protection and privacy laws, technology transactions, and global regulatory compliance strategies as an attorney with major multinational law firms such as Perkins Coie and White & Case, as well as in various in-house and public-sector roles.

In addition to her legal and consulting work, Elizabeth is actively involved in a number of academic initiatives through the MIT Media Lab, the Stanford CodeX Project, and various Legal Hackers chapters. As a polyglot who has lived and worked in five countries on three continents, Elizabeth has a global perspective on law and policy.


Matt Peterman (Co-founder/CEO, InsurePal)

InsurePal is a next generation of peer-to-peer insurance based on social proof endorsements, fully harnessing the power of blockchain innovation. If your friends trust you, we trust you.

Matt’s been working in insurance business and venture capital for over 15 years, investing and helping private equity companies grow. Currently, he is an executive and business developer for insurance detection company Salviol Ltd. Over the last 5 years his focus has been on insurtech or, to be more specific, fraud detection and underwriting for biggest insurance companies such as Allianz, Groupama, Fosun.

InsurePal’s other co-founder, Tom Volk, is also a co-founder of ADACTA, a leading European vendor for insurance core software, generating $25million revenue and employing 450 people in Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Moscow, Brno and London. Together they are working on an effective and agile solution for the insurance industry which is based on social proof insurance using blockchain technology.


Vishal Gupta (Co-founder/CEO, Diro-Labs)

Diro Labs provide solutions for decentralized Identity and Access powered by crowdsourcing of contact directories for Networks, Web, Apps, IoT, Smart Contracts, AR/VR, and other domains.

Vishal is a serial entrepreneur and self-taught coder. Although he does not have an Engineering background, he had been winning coding competitions (state, national & international) in middle & high school (1991-96).  He continued coding & completed several certificate courses like Microsoft Solution Developer till around 2000 when he went to pursue Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Bentley College, Boston.

He dropped out of his MBA in 2000 to start an offshore IT enabled business process outsourcing venture.  That venture forward integrated into mobile network (MVNO) in Australia and grew to a $50 million top-line with 600 people working in India.  Changes in Australian Consumer Law 2011 forced an exit and the business was sold to M2 Communications. After that Vishal started a remote tech-support for small & medium size enterprises globally.  This business currently employs more than 100+ people, however recently Vishal has sold his shares to the operating partner to focus on his Fintech venture Diro-Labs. This is a shared directory platform that revolutionises the Identity & Access through decentralised consensus on Blockchain.


Darren Tseng (Vice President of Product, Adjoint)

Adjoint develop smart contracts and distributed ledger technology for the financial industry to enable the creation, verification and execution of financial smart contracts in a secure, private and scalable way.

Darren is responsible for overseeing client projects and product development at Adjoint. He combines his technical experience with a strong background in UI/UX design. He has worked for multiple financial institutions and financial technology firms throughout the past decade such as State Street, Currensee, and Elsen. 





Amy Bell (Director, Teal Compliance)

Teal Compliance is a full services compliance consultancy delivering a range of bespoke services to Law Firms of all sizes covering AML, GDPR and Data, Code of Conduct and the Solicitors Accounts Rules.

Amy is a solicitor and Compliance Consultant with a passion for helping firms adapt to the changing legal landscape. She provides support for everyone in the firm to understand compliance and how to apply risk management principles to improve client service and deliver efficiency. She is the chair of the Law Society's Money Laundering Task Force and the author of the Law Society's Elearning and Toolkit on the Bribery Act.



Lloyd Davis (Facilitator)

Lloyd Davis is a social artist and master community builder. He has been blogging and podcasting since 2004. With a diverse background that includes theatre, information management and public service regulation he has acquired a unique, in-depth and practical understanding of the social web and building rich relationships online and off-. Having founded London’s highly influential Tuttle Club which regularly attracts the UK’s brightest social media thinkers and doers, Lloyd writes, speaks and consults about these uses of social technology. Recent work includes Social Artist in Residence at the University of London’s Centre for Creative Collaboration; We Will Gather – a web service for organising good things in local communities; and #hackthebarbican – a month-long cultural intervention at London’s Barbican Centre.



Rouven Heck (Co-founder, uPort)

uPort returns ownership of identity to the individual. uPort's open identity system allows users to register their own identity on Ethereum, send and request credentials, sign transactions, and securely manage keys & data. Rouven Heck is Co-Founder and the Project Lead for the Digital Identity Platform (uPort) at ConsenSys and founding member of the Decentralized Identity Foundation. Rouven has a computer science background and over 15 years experience in banking IT, having worked for Deutsche Bank in various IT project, architecture and strategy roles in Germany, Hong Kong and New York before joining ConsenSys early 2016..





Andy Tobin (Managing Director Europe, Evernym)

Evernym has developed the world’s first publicly available distributed ledger - Sovrin - to enable digital identity that is permanent, portable, private and completely secure; in other words: self-sovereign.

Andy Tobin is Evernym’s managing director in Europe. He has 30 years of experience delivering innovative technology solutions to complex business problems. His career has spanned the three rapidly converging sectors of identity, mobile and payments. He has written code to control cash machines, built the world’s first mCommerce server, run a £1.2bn mobile messaging network and been CTO for Europe’s first fully mobile bank. He is a passionate technology strategist who dropped everything to join Evernym. He believes that the identity ecosystem and the personal information economy is poised for massive change, triggered by the capabilities being delivered right now by Evernym. The result will be a new and rapid growth in “IDTech” innovation which will dwarf what’s happening in Fintech, and a shift to a more open, post-silo world.