Lt. Gov. Robinson announces new appointments to NC Blockchain Initiative

North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Mark Robinson gavels in the opening session of the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH — North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson announced new appointments to the state’s Blockchain Initiative (NCBI). 

“North Carolina is already home to many notable blockchain and FinTech startups, and we need to do all we can to keep our state competitive,” Robinson said in a press release. “We appreciate the incredible work this task force has done in researching this transformational technology, and we thank them for their continued service.”  

The NCBI was launched in 2019 as a nonpartisan, all-volunteer task force under the supervision of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina to serve as a primary resource on the emerging digital asset and blockchain ecosystems such as bitcoin, virtual assets, smart contracts and stablecoins. 

According to a press release from Robinson’s office, the NCBI will “explore the broader implications for this evolving technology, gather information from private and public sources, pursue policy recommendations, and strengthen our state’s position as a leader in technological innovation and consumer protection.” 

“North Carolina is fortunate to have several national leaders on Capitol Hill focused on the crypto ecosystem, including Representative Patrick McHenry, Chairman of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, and U.S. Senator Ted Budd, a leading voice on decentralized finance,” said Dan Spuller, who serves as a Co-Chair to NCBI, and Senior Director of Industry Affairs for the Washington-based Blockchain Association.  

“The passage of the bipartisan Sandbox Act of 2021 was a clear indicator North Carolina is working to be a leader in the ecosystem,” said Agnes Gambill West.    

New appointees include Gerald Wilkie, a bitcoin mining specialist with more than 10 years of mining experience, and Tobias Barbir, another bitcoin mining specialist who founded the International Bitcoin Mining Museum.  

Task Force co-chairs will include the reappointment of Spuller along with six other individuals; Eric Proper, Stuart Russell, Agnes Gambill West, John Bridge, Faruk Okcetin and Jain Arun Singh. 

Proper is the co-founder of Emblem Vault and Unboxed Venture Studio based out of Durham.  

Russell is an attorney for a financial institution and investor in cryptocurrencies. He has previously served as chair of the Forsyth County Board of Elections, chair of the Forsyth County Bar Association and a member of the Board of Governors for the North Carolina Bar Association.  

Gambill West is a professor at Appalachian State University, a visiting senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, an appointee to the North Carolina Innovation Council, a member of the Business and Consumer Payments Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and a former NCBI co-chair.  

Bridge is the president of government security at Trust Stamp and has 34 years of law enforcement and military experience, including 25 years with the United States Marshals Service.  

Okcetin is an entrepreneur who has started more than 10 different businesses in the last 29 years and is currently the director of operations at Zeto Inc., a medical device manufacturer.  

Singh is the co-author of “Blockchain for Business” and is an executive with IBM in Research Triangle Park.  

More information on the NCBI can be accessed at 

About A.P. Dillon 1287 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_