Chrissy Hill - General Counsel, Parity Technologies Web3; COO & GC at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change; Director, Compliance at Barclays Capital

Ep 109: From a £1.75 billion purchase of Lehman Brothers to Tony Blair & Web3 | Chrissy Hill (General Counsel, Parity Technologies)

Powered by RedCircle

Welcome to Episode 109!

STIMY Episode 109 features Chrissy Hill.

Chrissy Hill is the General Counsel for Parity Technologies, which is a web3 company that builds core blockchain infrastructure.

Before, she was the COO & General Counsel at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and Director, Compliance at Barclays Capital. 

If you want to know what it’s like to be a top notch lawyer in the international & web3 space, this episode is for you!


Want to be the first to get the behind-the-scenes at STIMY & also the hacks that inspiring people use to create success on their terms? 

Don’t miss the next post by signing up for STIMY’s weekly newsletter below!

Get the latest podcast episodes!

With exclusive alerts on upcoming guests, a chance to pose YOUR questions to them & more

    So This Is My Why podcast

    Powered By ConvertKit

    Who is Chrissy Hill?

    Chrissy Hill grew up in South Carolina to her family of lawyers. So it’s little surprise that she ended up being a lawyer herself!

    She ended up moving from the US to London, where she now resides. And has had a really interesting & varied career:

    • 2:33 Being the baby of the family
    • 5:23 A legacy of lawyers
    • 7:26 Working at Linklaters’ London office
    • 8:49 Becoming the Director of Compliance at Barclays Capital
    • 13:38 Purchasing Lehman Brothers (US) for £1.75 billion
    • 15:24 Working for Tony Blair at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
    • 18:22 Working at a mission-driven organisation
    After seven and a bit years in investment banking, yeah, I'd covered most of the products that I wanted to cover by that point. And I thought it's time for a new challenge. And the job with Mr. Blair came up in an unexpected way
    Chrissy Hill - General Counsel, Parity Technologies Web3; COO & GC at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change; Director, Compliance at Barclays Capital
    Chrissy Hill
    General Counsel, Parity Technologies

    Entering the Web3 space

    Chrissy shares how she entered the web3 space &. what it’s like being a web3 lawyer:

    • 21:21 Entering the web3 space
    • 23:16 The concept of privacy
    • 27:02 Working at Parity Technologies
    • 31:34 What does a web3 lawyer do?
    • 34:59 Regulations coming in
    Chrissy Hill - General Counsel, Parity Technologies Web3; COO & GC at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change; Director, Compliance at Barclays Capital

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:

    • Eric Toda: Global Head of Social Marketing & Head of Meta Prosper, Meta
    • Gerald Sebastian: One of Asia’s top YouTubers & co-founder of Kok Bisa (which has 4.3 million subscribers)
    • Michelle Toh: CNN Reporter
    • Richard Lui: MSNBC & NBC News TV Anchor, and Peabody & Emmy award winner
    • Adrian Tan: King of Singapore & President of Singapore’s Law Society

    If you enjoyed this episode, you can: 

    Leave a Review

    If you enjoy listening to the podcast, we’d love for you to leave a review on iTunes / Apple Podcasts. The link works even if you aren’t on an iPhone. 😉


    If you’d like to support STIMY as a patron, you can visit STIMY’s Patreon page here

    External Links

    Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:

    • Chrissy Hill: Twitter
    • Subscribe to the STIMY Podcast for alerts on future episodes at Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher & RadioPublic  
    • Leave a review on what you thought of this episode HERE or the comment section of this post below
    • Want to be a part of our exclusive private Facebook group & chat with our previous STIMY episode guests? CLICK HERE.

    STIMY 109: Chrissy Hills [General Counsel, Parity Technologies]

    Ling Yah: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode 109 of the So This Is My Way podcast. I'm your host and producer Ling Yah. And before we start, a special thanks to Descript. Now, if you've been following the podcast, you would know that I've been talking about Descript quite a lot, and frankly, it's because I can possibly live without it.

    When I first started editing this podcast, it took me around 20 hours a week just to get one episode out. Now it takes me so much less five hours tops.

    Now, what's so special about Descript? It takes your audio or video files and transcribes it, and you can then work off the transcription.

    So if you edit or move around a particular word, the corresponding audio and video will also be edited or moved around. It is truly a lifesaver, which is why I keep recommending it. So do check it out. The link is in the show below.

    now onto today's guest, Chrissy Hill

    she was the Director of Compliance at Barclays during a 2008 financial crisis and led efforts to acquire Layman Brothers in the US for 1.75 billion pounds. She then ended up working for Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the UK for eight years before entering the world of Web three, where she now works as the General Council for Parity Technologies.

    If you haven't heard of parity, one of its co-founders is Gavin Wood who co-founded Ethereum, helped to create the Solidity language and coin the term web three. If you want to learn more about what it takes to operate in the highest legal sphere, then this is the episode for you.

    So are you ready?

    Let's go.

    Chrissy Hill: So the question of what I like as a child, I think can be summed up with a few phrases. One is the baby of the family. Two is a kid who always wanted to strike out. And three is someone who has always really valued family and belonging and just having fun as well.

    My birth order definitely impacted my view of the world and my view of my place in the world. Cause my siblings were 18, 16, and 14 when I was born. So some people say my name maybe should have been whoops back in 1977 in the. It was not necessarily the usual thing for couples who had teenagers and who were in their forties to then have a late in life baby.

    But I came along and in many ways I had five parents because by the time my parents got to me, they were like, Oh, she'll be fine. Fine. Let her stick a fork in the light socket. She'll get a little shock. It'll be fine. I mean, not that bad. Obviously my parents were excellent parents, but you know, my siblings took a very, very big role in my upbringing and always really supported me.

    And always felt like I could never fail. Because they were always there to catch me and support me, and really gave me a lot of confidence. And we always had a family of laughter and you know always joking with each other and putting each other in our places when we needed to be.

    So it was a great balance of that.

    Ling Yah: So basically they were saying by the time you're 17, you have to look after yourself. You're out of the house.

    Chrissy Hill: Yeah, cuz you know, you go to university, you would move out of the house and you would go live in the dorm.

    Still family might help financially because obviously education is very expensive in the States, but we were always encouraged from a very young age to exercise our independence and be self-reliant.

    And because a lot of South Carolina is rural, you are encouraged to strike out into the wilderness , There are challenges there, but you are equipped through the skills that you learn to handle any situation that comes your way.

    And it manifests itself in a lot of different ways. That can be traveling different places and going on adventures to go to a part of the world that may not be easily accessible.

    I really appreciate that approach that my parents were very keen to make sure was instill in me and my siblings.

    Ling Yah: I actually have to ask this question that since you were very independent, you were exploring the forest, how do you go from that to becoming a lawyer? Which sounds like a completely different thing.

    Chrissy Hill: Do you know what, Ling Yah, it's really funny because my dad was a lawyer. And his dad was a magistrate and his dad before him was a magistrate.

    Ling Yah: No.

    Chrissy Hill: My brother is a lawyer. My sister-in-law is a lawyer and I have cousins who are.

    Ling Yah: Oh my goodness. It is in the blood, literally.

    Was it almost like you had no choice.

    You have to just continue the family tradition?

    Chrissy Hill: I was never forced into it, but growing up, we all worked in my dad's law firm. I was answering phones from the time I was like eight. Looking back I didn't get paid, so it was a child labor, but , I certainly was expected to help.

    My mother was the office manager. One of my brothers served papers. My sister was a paralegal, so we all took part in this family business, but I never felt that I was forced to choose it.

    I actually had two options for uni. I could have gone to uni on a music scholarship and just focused on piano and viola which is something that I was very passionate about at the time, or I could go and be in the honors college of the university of South Carolina and focus on political science.

    I chose to focus on political science, but not because my family was like, you must come back and be part of the family practice or anything like that. It's because that's what I wanted to do.

    But I was very, very clear that I was not coming back to the family practice. That I would be going into international law. Now at 18, I didn't really know what that meant.

    Ling Yah: And I have to say, I'm also surprised by the story you just told, because I didn't realize how similar we are.

    I was also teetering the line between going to music conservatorire. My main instrument was the violin and the secondary was piano or going to law school. So I didn't know, there was such a coincidence.

    So you went to law school. How did you end up in Linklaters, London, which is far from South carolina?

    Chrissy Hill: Yeah, I went to the university of South Carolina knowing that I would want to go to a law school that had more of an international focus. The university of South Carolina law school is wonderful, but Georgetown was more in line with my career goals. And it was three Georgetown that I went on an international internship program actually, and worked for the red cross in Geneva one summer, I studied in Florence one summer.

    And I had demonstrated real interest in working abroad. So as a result, Linklaters would hire law students from Georgetown. And because of my demonstrated interest in that area, Linklaters gave me an offer and they said, you can choose to work in either London, Hong Kong or New York.

    And so New York was too close to home. Hong Kong was too far away from home and London was just right. So in 2002, at 25, I picked up and struck out on my own living by myself for the first time. First proper job and started practicing law and working in the equity and debt market space in London.

    Ling Yah: I noticed that you spent around four years there, which is kind of the average amount of time that lawyer spend in a law from before deciding to go inhouse or not.

    And I noticed you decided to go inhouse. You were at Barclay's director of compliance. How did that opportunity come about?

    Chrissy Hill: So, yeah, four years was long enough. I worked with some fabulous people and it was the most amazing foundation and so necessary for what I did next. But I knew I didn't wanna be on the partner track for a variety of reasons.

    Ling Yah: What were those reasons?

    Chrissy Hill: I'll be really honest. As a fourth year lawyer, so this was 2006, you were making the same amount as a first year lawyer, because for your first three years, as an expat lawyer, you got a cost of living adjustment, but after four years living in London, you lost that cost of living adjustment.

    But you're a fourth year associate and you're expected to step up to the plate and run all these deals because you're a mid-level and that's what you should be demonstrating. So you're working harder than you've ever worked for. And I had about four deals in a row.

    I think it was a high yield debt deal, an M&A transaction, and two IPOs. And they had been backed back for like a good six weeks. I've been sleeping under my desk at work, sleeping at the printers. It was just full on. Taking toilet paper from the bathroom at work, because I didn't have time to go to the grocery store when I did get to go home.

    I mean, it was intense, right. And I was finally done closed all the deals. They were all successful. And I was packing up to walk out the door and go on a long weekend. And I got a call from one of our managing associates saying, oh, we've got a US tender offer memo that needs to be turned around by tomorrow morning.

    And at that point I was like, I don't wanna do this anymore. I don't wanna do it. I'm done. There was just no incentive at that point that was enough to keep me there, whether it was the work, the contacts, the financial aspect, the career prospects, none of it appealed to me. So I started to look elsewhere and in 2006 compliance was not a big profession as it is today.

    It wasn't nearly as well developed. It was becoming more so in the States because of Sarbanes, Oxley, and and so you were starting to see in the states lawyers from private practice who moved in house into compliance. In Europe that wasn't really happening yet, but I got this really cool job offer to be an advisory compliance at Barclay's capital.

    And I really like the people. And I was like, actually, this is what I like. Cuz I like the idea of coming out of the ivory tower as I saw it of being in a law firm where you issue opinions, but then it's up to someone else to decide how those opinions are actually implemented in practice within these institutions.

    And so I love that idea of taking these legal concepts and making them work in reality on the ground.

    Ling Yah: Do you remember some of those initial challenges you face? Because it's one thing to be in a law firm and one to be in house. There's a huge adjustment. What were some of those challenges, especially in an area that was as new as compliance at a time?

    Chrissy Hill: Yeah, it was one, trying to explain to people why I was there in the first place. Who is this person telling me what to do? And by the way, where is she from and why does she talk like that?

    So there was that challenge, because again, compliance was not as a routine and defined part of everyday work as it is now, of course post-financial crisis.

    It's very different in terms of the regulatory space. And I think another challenge was switching my mindset to be practical and pragmatic and to issue spot in a way that you have to in house that you don't necessarily in a law firm.

    I'll give you an example.

    One of the first things I worked on was this company that money had been loaned to, and it couldn't repay the loan. What it had used as collateral for the loan were buildings that housed orphans and widows and war veterans.

    So we were talking about how we got our money back and I was like, guys, you can't foreclose on widows, orphans and war veterans. I mean, I know that sounds obvious, but you know, from a strict legal perspective, that's what we could do and, and should have done.

    And we were well within our rights to do it, but that wasn't the right thing to do.

    Ling Yah: I have to ask now, what was the solution?

    Chrissy Hill: It was extending terms I believe at that time and working with the counterparty so that they could repay on a different schedule.

    Ling Yah: Another interesting thing you mentioned earlier, you said you joined pre-financial crisis. I noticed that period of time when you were at Barclays, right smack in between that the financial crisis happened.

    And I imagine you must have really gone through a lot being in Barclays.

    Chrissy Hill: It was definitely a very interesting and a scary time. It's a bit hard to get that perspective that only time and distance will provide. You don't know day to day, what's going to be happening next in the markets.

    With different banks, in the US Barclays acquired Lehman ...

    Ling Yah: for 1.7 5 billion. That's a huge deal.

    Chrissy Hill: And the decline of Lehman from industry and historical perspective can never be minimized or disregarded because it was a massive deal and it happened like that.

    I had the opportunity to help build out the equity practice in Europe for Barclays capital, which was definitely eye opening.

    Ling Yah: What were some of the main challenges in seeing this deal through that you're able to share since you were someone who was actually behind the scenes, as opposed to me just reading the papers and thinking, wow, they saved 10,000 wall street jobs, but actually what does that mean?

    Chrissy Hill: Yeah, at the time it was something that we all felt a responsibility to really get right.

    There was always this feeling that there was something greater happening.

    Some of the challenges would be because it's so personal. A lot of people were not happy about the changes that were happening on. These were people's careers and they had devoted so much of themselves.

    And now is kind of gone overnight. So empathy is really important and also holding people accountable.

    Ling Yah: So when did you decide it was time to move on from Barclays to working with a former UK prime minister at Tony Blair Institute for a global change. How did that opportunity come about?

    Chrissy Hill: Well, you know, striking out is one of the themes I keep bringing up, so yeah, I, I felt like it was time to strike out again.

    After seven and a bit years in investment banking, yeah, I'd covered most of the products that I wanted to cover by that point. And I thought it's time for a new challenge. And the job with Mr. Blair came up in an unexpected way.

    So I thought I would just move to a hedge fund or another investment bank. I wasn't necessarily looking to leave my profession of compliance or go back into legal. I was just looking for a change and one of my former colleagues who was CEO of Mr. Blair's, then it was called Tony Blair associates, called me up and he was like, Chrissy, you were my compliance officer for seven years and we had been friends.

    He was like, let's just go get a coffee. And then suddenly the coffee moved from Oxford street to Grovernors square and then into nine Grovernors square, which was then the office for Mr. Blair. And then suddenly I was in the board room having a meeting with the board of directors for a job I didn't even know existed.

    So , I was just open to that opportunity. I mean, if we talk about a cold pitch, I was having to cold pitch myself for a job. I didn't even know existed.

    I guess I made a good impression because within I think about six weeks, I become head of legal and compliance for Mr. Blair's then consulting business.

    Ling Yah: So what were they doing at the Institute? Cause it sounds like it was a very mission driven organization and I saw that one of the emos was very much along the lines of how can I make a genuine difference in the world?

    Chrissy Hill: Yes. I was there for eight and a half years.

    And over that time I worked for the commercial businesses and those were then merged with Mr. Blair's charities. And there were three others at the time until one, not for profit.

    At all times throughout the whole eight and a half years, as you said, it was very mission driven and very much about supporting governments on the path of reform. Supporting Africa in particular in terms of their initiatives.

    It was a very global outlook.

    So it was a concept of, we all deserve prosperity and we should all work together to achieve that. And prosperity can take many different forms. It was a very dynamic place to work and a place where mr Blair's vision, which he was very clear about when he was prime minister and he's remained consistent about throughout.

    And I really enjoyed my time, but again, after eight and a half years, it was time to strike out for my next challenge.

    Ling Yah: So just before we move on to that part, I was just wonder, because you spent eight years in an organization so big doing so many things on a global scale. What were some of the observations you made in terms of what it takes us a leader to run such a mission driven organization?

    Because that's not difficult I think. I work with a lot of social entrepreneurs and they really care so much, but sometimes that caring means that the emotions really get wrapped up and it's just very, very different from working in a purely corporate environment.

    Chrissy Hill: Yes Although I would say that corporates do have missions.

    Linklaters had a mission and Barclays capital had a mission. Link leaders was to support the rule of law in a global way, Barclays capital, again, very global.

    Investment banks are about making money. That's a mission. Mr. Blair was more of a political mission and vision. Where I work now is probably the most mission driven of them.

    One of the things about where I work now, which is something different from working with that is more political in nature is that engineers because they are coding it's like their art, right? Or it's like their baby. what they are producing is so near and dear to their hearts.

    It is their life's work and passion, but it is definitely resulting in something tangible coding a relay chain.

    Contrast that with the political world and being mission driven in terms of globalization or not promoting extremist views, that's much harder to measure and because it's more political in nature and ideas related and also contingent upon governments and other individuals delivering policy or working on the ground to make a particular.

    Approach to a law come into actually work and come into being that it's harder to measure. And so it's hard to gauge your success. And I think that's one of the challenges I think I felt leaving the Tony Blair Institute. Now there's all kinds of things you can do on monitoring and valuation and value for money.

    And you can track how many people you've influenced. I mean, there's all these sophisticated tools, but you take a step back and you look at governments change and all the work that you've done for that four years or five years or three years, it's kind of gone , you know, or, maybe part of it's there, but a lot of it has been rolled back.

    One of the inherent challenges of governing. Is it takes an amazing amount of resilience and tenacity to keep fighting . Whereas at the web three space, we measure a lot of things by adoption and it's always building upon itself.

    In the political space it can reverse itself quite quickly. So the gains you have made may not be permanent .

    Ling Yah: I love how you talked about the whole adoption rate because that's the company you're in now, which is a blockchain infrastructure firm.

    But before we get into that, we are talking about this thing called web 3. I believe the co-founder where you're working at Parity technologies, he actually coined the term web three. So given that you worked there closely with him, I presume I have to ask the question, what is web three and how do you first hear about it?

    Chrissy Hill: Well, I think web three is the next iteration of the internet. I think it's still being developed, right. And so it's not really a defined destination. When we talk about the metaverse, which is of course part of like the web three landscape, these things are still being worked out.

    But I think the main kind of tenets are that we are striving for better security to protect people's privacy.

    So the web three vision is creating something that protects some of those fundamental tenets and also that is not centralized. That is decentralized. Facebook or Google is an example of these mega tech firms which control a lot of what we do and what we see and what we buy.

    There are a lot of pioneering people who are working in this space, including Dr. Gavin Wood, who come up with the term web three in 2014 in a paper that he wrote. He was also one of the co-founders of Ethereum and their CTO.

    He is definitely a pioneer in this space and is one of the OGs and is very inspirational to work for.

    I feel very fortunate to be part of the team who is helping make that vision possible.

    This is from a legal perspective. So this is my why.

    Ling Yah: You mentioned earlier about the whole protection of privacy under web three and web three is normally associated with concepts like openness, transparency, which is the exact opposite of privacy. Anything and everything that you do is permanent and is transparent. So how does this privacy concept work?

    Chrissy Hill: Well, when I talk about privacy and this particular perspective, I am talking about a lack of data collection. That you have more of a say in how your information is used.

    You're not assigning your name necessarily to a particular IP address.

    Two individuals can decide to exchange currency and exchange goods and services without having to go through a middle man. There are alternatives to the traditional banking system that are being offered there.

    It means that there are options available that you can essentially protect your identity should you wish.

    You don't have to necessarily go through third parties in order to buy an NFT, for instance, You're right. It is open. Everything we do is open source.

    So from the coding perspective, sharing our work, making work available to the global community, they can take that information and make it their own. That of course is open and transparent. But part of that is to empower the individual.

    Ling Yah: That makes perfect sense. And I wanna dive into that more because I'm an IP lawyer and I've been grappling and very interested to know how other people think about this whole area. So let's talk about that later, cuz you are about to tell me how you first got into web three, how you first heard about it.

    So what's the story behind that.

    Chrissy Hill: I'd definitely love to come back to you and talk to you about this from an IP perspective, cuz I've just kicked off an open source housekeeping project internally. Yes, that's gonna be huge.

    And you are absolutely a hundred percent, right. That is open, transparent, and available to everyone. I've also kicked off coincidentally a data privacy project.

    Our data protection officer make sure we are handling people's information as sensitively. As possible. We are very, very conservative on these things. This is the flip side of the coin that we're talking about. You're a really open and transparent on one side, but that is also facilitating and supporting individuals.

    Ling Yah: Isn't this the part where people who aren't deep in the legal regulatory world for instance, would think, well, this is why we don't want you because you are coming in and putting all the stops and all the barriers and you are basically hindering our innovation.

    Isn't that what people normally say of lawyers?

    I just wanna build, but you just wanna put in all the stops.

    Chrissy Hill: Listen, I always have a mantra, Ling Yah, which is, I cannot start off at yes. I choose not to start off at no. I start off at maybe when I'm looking at a question and I'm always trying to think of what approach that we can put in place to support innovation.

    The analogy I've been using internally is we've got a web three beating heart. But what you need around it is a protective mesh that is flexible.

    And so things like IP data privacy, contracting, NDAs, all of these things that are our bread and butter and legal and compliance are absolutely vital.

    And I think part of being an advisor and in the areas that we work in is letting people know that you aren't gonna start off at no, and you aren't gonna stifle innovation. And if you have to say no, it's cuz it's a real no. it is a conversation that I've been having now I don't even know how many times over the years.

    Ling Yah: I think it just very much has to be a case by case basis. There's no other way around it. We haven't even actually gone to the background of it. So let's set the context. All these kind of challenges you're facing it's from this company called Parity technologies.

    How did you end up at Parity

    Chrissy Hill: I was in the middle of taking a three to six month break after my last job. It was after lockdown. I had been at my last job for eight and a half years.

    I've an 11 year old and a six year old, and I just needed to reset and decompress and very supported by my former employer to do that. And was looking forward to six months in South Carolina with my family.

    That was like October 2021. And November, I got approached about this Parity job. I don't know anything about tech. I was chief operating officer and general counsel for the Tony Blair Institute.

    That was a general counsel role. I had 50 people reporting into me all back office areas. I had helped move the Institute from 25 people to 500. And I was like this general counsel role sounds great, but this is a much smaller company.

    And there is in this web three space. And what is this? But then I met the people. And then I found out what they were doing and I found out their vision for the world. And I thought, you know what, I wanna be a part of this .

    I'm not gonna take six months off. I'm only gonna take three and I'm gonna join in January. So as soon as I could I joined cuz the space was moving too quickly even then. And I think it's quadrupled in speed since January.

    It's just insane, the amount of development.

    I'm glad I joined when I did.

    Ling Yah: So what does parity technologies do?

    Chrissy Hill: We're a software developer. We are a layer, zero blockchain infrastructure developer.

    Essentially what we do is, if you think about the subway in New York, that subway system is made up of tunnels and tracks and trains and has stops.

    What we build at parity is like that subway system. And we make sure that that subway system is functioning properly to get places. So one stop off the subway might be Broadway and that's an NFT, Another stop might be Brooklyn and so that's crypto.

    Another stop off that subway system could be avenue of the Americas and that's gaming. So it's enabling people to use blockchain technology to build what they wanna build, which are like the subway stops.

    Ling Yah: Is there no one else building this kind of subway in web three? Is it just parity?

    What are the challenges?

    Chrissy Hill: Now I'm not sure I should be naming our competitors.

    The relay chain that we have built for the web three foundation is called polka dot. So polka dot, is what I'm talking about when I talk about infrastructure. And it could be very inaccessible. So I think jargon busting is really important and it should be something we all take seriously if we're involved in the space. So I always like to take the time to try to make these concepts relatable.

    As part of our ecosystem and what we deliver there is a coding language called rust.

    You need to speak that language. Again, I am oversimplifying this and then we have something called substrate. Substrate is a skeleton for blockchain. You can use substrate and build whatever you want on top of it to meet your needs.

    Again, this goes back to the end users. If they can speak the language, then they can build it.

    Then we have something called Kosama, which is like a Canary network, kind of like a test environment. It has developed its own personality and has its own token but it started off as Canary environment.

    So before you go live on polka dot you have tested what you're building. Polka dot is. The relay chain.

    One of the things that makes polka dot and parody different is actually we allow the different parts of our ecosystem to talk. Interoperability is one of the things that is unique to us .

    We're thinking about bridges with other players in the community. We already have some of them set up, so there are pair chains and common good chains, ethereum and moon beam.

    And also that we are the greenest blockchain out there. There are a few articles about the fact that, we are the greenest blockchain out there.

    Ling Yah: One of the things that came to my mind as you were talking about this, and what's so fascinating about parity is obviously if you spend any time in web 3 you will hear there are many different blockchains.

    They don't talk to each other. You have to transfer. Eth becomes W E T H, and you just go, gosh, there are so many things that you have to do. But when I ask those who are tech driven, can one blockchain speak to the other? They always say it's actually very, very complex.

    And I wonder as the engineers are coming up with this new innovative solutions, trying to let these different blockchains speak to each other on this one platform, where does a lawyer come into play?

    What's your role in all of this?

    Chrissy Hill: Well that is an excellent question. And I would say that we are still figuring that out. The first place that legal concepts come in are at the NDA stage. Although we try to make everything open source, the beginning stages, you have to build things out and that won't necessarily be available in the same way.

    Also, we have memorandums of understanding and different contractual arrangements with people who we are working with. We announced a few really interesting things recently.

    One is with the water foundation and that is related to blockchain and commodities. You can measure the provenance of all different kinds of minerals.

    So you need to have engineers working together on both sides to see how that would work. We are also working with publishers and journalists. We're also working on social media and how blockchain can be used in social media.

    As a lawyer, I monitor the regulatory space.

    Crypto is, but one part of blockchain. NFTs, gaming, the ones I just listed. Also competition the web three community is still small, although it's growing.

    The IP, the CLOs, the data privacy, those are all areas that we are focused on as a legal team. And you can never forget, Ling Yah, it's all about people.

    So diversity and inclusion is really important. Making sure that we are treating colleagues in a respectful way that allows them to thrive.

    But of course employment issues will come up.

    Ling Yah: One question I wanted to go back to earlier was you talking about the whole idea of open source and having to share your work, make it valuable to everybody in the community. And for me, given that I have an IP background, my instant reaction is, wait, do you not own any of this is not proprietary anymore.

    So where do you get your value from, for your company? How do you think about all these issues as a general counsel?

    Chrissy Hill: My background is not IP, so I will certainly be guided by you on some of these things because, as you said, this is very particular to this area. Going forward, we will always be open source. But in the current world that we live in I don't think that is something that is really sustainable.

    So there is a conversation to be had about ecosystem. Sharing of IP versus one company an ecosystem holding onto their and protecting their IP. As web three becomes more competitive it starts to take on the shape of some of the industries that have come before.

    From a legal perspective, it's incumbent upon me to set out the risks and then decisions are made about how those risks are addressed or not addressed.

    Ling Yah: And what about the regulations that you see coming to play?

    I imagine you must be keeping traffic closely, so what's happening right now? What do you see going the future?

    Chrissy Hill: Just yesterday did you see the Coinbase complaint that was filed against the us treasury? In the context of tornado cash?

    I think. It is worthwhile for everyone to follow that case with interest, because at the same time you have you know, around tornado cash, obviously it was a mixer and it was sanctioned. sanctioning code is one question, right? Code the Supreme court found that code was free speech. So there's a question there.

    We go back to privacy is the use of a mixer in and of itself. Something that shouldn't be allowed to happen. Well, this is my privacy point. The way I choose to protect my financial privacy is I should be allowed to have some options there. And just because I choose to protect my financial privacy doesn't mean I'm doing anything criminal or wrong.

    And I think that is an important concept to take away.

    Ling Yah: I thought what was most fascinating was Coinbase CEO. Brian Armstrong said in his blog post, that treasury department had gone too far by sanctioning entire technology instead of specific individuals.

    And it just sounds as though this is so much bigger than just one company. And if we don't get this right, you could just impact an entire space that's evolving right now.

    Chrissy Hill: Absolutely. But it also did impact an individual cuz in the Netherlands the developer has been arrested. Now the founders have not been.

    Ling Yah: But I read that apparently the developer was arrested because he was directly involved in the whole spinning off the illegal proceeds. And it was less about him being a developer than the fact that he was actually involved in this. I'm not sure.

    Chrissy Hill: So if you read the statement that has been issued by the police and the Netherlands, at least I think it was as of August 26th.

    And I don't think there's been an update. It wasn't clear from that statement whether it was individual facilitation of money laundering or corporate facilitation of money laundering. It's still an ongoing investigation and they say there may still be more arrest .

    Ling Yah: Isn't it supposed to be a mixer in the first place?

    Chrissy Hill: Exactly. I think it's also worthwhile following what's happening with the Coinbase insider dealing case.

    Also the Solana class actions in Europe. Liz Truss is now prime minister, and she has stated that she will have a crypto or a blockchain friendly agenda. We shall see what comes about. There was also Mika in Europe and there's ongoing discussions. There are some interesting publications that just came out of Singapore I think it was last week about privacy again.

    In Australia they just set up a crypto division to investigate crypto crimes. So we're seeing all over the world different approaches. And of course, you know, you can't forget Africa. You can't forget south America and central America.

    Ling Yah: And anyone listening can tell very quickly that there's just so much going on. You just have to spend the time to read, to follow and to learn more.

    So I wanna go the fire round. The five questions that I always ask everybody.

    The first question is this: having gone to so many different places, doing such unique jobs, having being in the eye of the storm at different instances in your life. First, the financial crisis now in web three, do you feel like you have found your why?

    Chrissy Hill: No. I think I'm gonna be searching for my why for the rest of my life. And I think that's because I'm always growing and changing and there will be another time where I feel like I need to strike out to do something different. Now I'm looking forward to what that is next. And I look forward to that journey.

    So I think it never ends, but I have a much better understanding of who I am as a person and what motivates me. But not necessarily my why yet?

    Ling Yah: What kind of legacy do you wanna leave behind?

    Chrissy Hill: In a professional capacity, I think I would like to be remembered as just someone who is like everyone else has some particular characteristics. I mean, I am disabled, I'm an immigrant. I'm a woman, I'm a mother. I'm a professional and I want people to adopt that mindset of striking out and not being afraid to try something new .

    So if that could be my legacy. Evolving is important and empathy is important and making sure that we are supporting lots of people around us along the way.

    Ling Yah: What do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?

    Chrissy Hill: Listening . Finding those points of connection. As we were talking about earlier with the cold pitches. Taking the time to understand who you're working with .

    I think tenacity. That's important and resilience because things will go wrong.

    All of those qualities coming together, the tenacity, the resilience the empathy that they will all support you in your journey to figuring out your why.

    Ling Yah: How can people listening, connect with you, find out more about what you're doing?

    Chrissy Hill: I am mostly involved on LinkedIn. I am starting to get involved in Twitter, although I do find that intimidating and I have a problem with the word limit.

    The character limit, I should say. Cuz I like to talk, Ling Yah, as you can see.

    I also am always available via my parity email address and I am involved in some women of web three events in different organizations in London.

    I just wanna encourage people to find their network, wherever they are, so they can learn more about this area and feel supported as I have been able to do over the last seven months. It's a very welcoming area, actually, and I am charting to be one of those.

    Ling Yah: And is there anything else you'd like to share that we haven't covered so far?

    Chrissy Hill: The one thing I would like to say is that I am very privileged to work at parity and be part of an organization that does have such strong culture and a mentality around the key areas of web three development and really work with pioneers.

    That is not just about tech. It's about social impact and economic relevance.

    And I think it will have an impact on how we live our lives on a day to day basis. And so I'm very proud that my girls will hopefully look back in 20 or 30 years time and say, my mom was a part of that and helped pave the way for the true pioneers and geniuses to make it happen.

    So that's the last thing I'd like to say. I hope you find this interesting.

    Someone who's interesting to talk to about these things, cuz it's hard to take a step back from your own journey, but I appreciate the opportunity too.

    Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 109.

    The show notes and transcript can be found at

    And if you haven't done already, please do leave a rating and review for this podcast. It really helps STIMY to grow and be found by other people.

    And please to stick around for next Sunday because they will be meeting the VP of Metaverse at Hype.

    She went to work in theater, then discovered the world of festivals, decided to start her own open festivals and even launched North Florida's first coding bootcamp before entering deep into the world of Web three. She's a true testament that no tasks is too small. If you wanna explore and do something different and she's truly made a remarkable career for herself.

    So do stick around and see you next Sunday.

    Chrissy Hill - General Counsel, Parity Technologies Web3; COO & GC at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change; Director, Compliance at Barclays Capital

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap