The 2008 financial crisis had a profound effect on many Floridians.
For Perianne Boring, it was truly life-altering.
With the country in financial despair and her family reeling from the effects of the meltdown, Boring chartered an inspiring course that has landed her at the center of a global economic debate in Washington, D.C.
It’s a curious position for Boring (BSBA ’10), the Founder and President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the first Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing the bitcoin, blockchain and digital asset industry. Boring didn’t major in business until late in her UF career, and wasn’t interested in politics.
All that changed when the U.S. economy collapsed in 2008.
“I don’t know anyone who wasn’t affected by the housing collapse,” Boring said. “I witnessed members within my own family lose their jobs, life savings, and even their homes. My community was devastated. Not because people made bad decisions or didn’t pay their bills, but lives were being changed because of poor economic and financial policies made in Washington.”
Boring would major in economics, then devoted herself to learning how the economy of the most powerful nation in the world could be brought to its knees.
“It was a historic time to be studying economics at UF,” Boring said. “The collapse was happening, and we were learning about it in real time. When you start digging into what was happening, you realized the root of the system is broken. It’s very much a house of cards.
“It [the financial crisis] changed me, and I wanted to dedicate my career to monetary policy.”
So Boring set off for Washington in an extraordinary way. She beat out a field of approximately 3,000 college students, and earned an internship at the White House during the Spring of 2010.
“It was absolutely surreal,” Boring said. “I was truly humbled to have that opportunity.”
After graduating later that summer, Boring returned to Washington D.C. She worked as an economic advisor for U.S. Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL), and later became the host of an international financial news program on RT America—which was aired in over 100 countries.
Bitcoin, a form of digital currency, was a regular topic on Boring’s show. It soon became her calling when she examined the digital asset landscape in Washington, D.C.
“I saw this as a huge opportunity to put a stake in the ground,” Boring said. “No one was representing the industry formally in Washington. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I made the jump.”
The jump was to create the Chamber of Digital Commerce, which, like any startup, required sacrifice.
“It was one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. “I went without a pay check and health insurance for six months. But I wouldn’t go back. It was the best decision I could have ever made.”
The Chamber’s mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and related technologies, including Bitcoin, which is a major component of Boring’s platform. The Bitcoin market was relatively nascent in 2014 with about 100,000 transactions per day, compared to American Express, which has over 2 trillion. Bitcoin recently surpassed Western Union in daily transaction volume and is currently growing at 100 percent annually.
Although acceptance of Bitcoin has been slow, Boring sees progress. Business titans like Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson and global financial services firms like Goldman Sachs, Citibank, UBS, Barclays among others, are investing in and exploring this technology. On top of which, the pace of venture capital investment is on track to reach $1 billion in 2015, eclipsing levels of the early Internet.
“Bitcoin adoption will take time,” Boring said. “There are perception and reputational issues, and government affairs and public policy challenges, but they all can be overcome.”
This past month was momentous for Boring and her staff as the Chamber celebrated its one-year anniversary. In their inaugural year, the Chamber hosted the first-ever Congressional briefing on Bitcoin, joined the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Access Roundtable, and met with nearly 100 Congressional offices among other accomplishments.
“During my lifetime we’re going to have a monetary restructuring,” Boring said. “I want to help change the economic trajectory for my generation – and Bitcoin may be an agent of change in that process. I want to have a front row seat in that dialogue.”