The Woman Who’s Fueling a Blockchain CLEVolution

Born in Haiti as one of five children, Clev Mesidor grew up in a family with political influence and savvy.

You could say that politics is in her genes. 

As an Obama Presidential Appointee, working as Director of Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, Mesidor, championed White House economic programs and national public-private partnerships designed to spark innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Today, Mesidor is the founder of CLEVOLUTION, a consulting firm seeking to upend prevailing barriers in the blockchain space, particularly those impacting women and people of color. 

Asked about the theme of her movement, Mesidor had this to say:

“I personally didn’t come up with CLEVOLUTION. 

She explains.....

A few years ago, while still working in politics, I wanted to start a podcast as a way of identifying my tribe. I reached out to a friend and his wife who mentioned “Clevolution.

I was just like, ‘oh my goodness that’s it! That’s so brilliant. Two months later, another friend said, ‘Does it mean revolution or evolution?’ Blew my mind, I never thought of that.” 

This sparked her decision to author a book by the same name, THE CLEVOLUTION: My Quest for Justice in Politics and Crypto. With crypto and blockchain as a backdrop, this book offers a deep, inside look at her life, the Washington D.C. tech landscape, and how marginalized and communities of color are viewed. 

Mesidor says she first learned about Bitcoin in 2013 while working for the Obama administration. As she notes in her book: 

“While I was first introduced to bitcoin while serving in the Obama Administration, it was not until 2016 that my love affair with blockchain began. It was around this time that the narrative shifted from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to also include innovative applications, such as intellectual property protections, identity management, privacy. It was no longer all about the benjamins.”

Over time she found herself profoundly moved by the fanatical nature of crypto evangelists around such a nascent yet promising technology. 

“The potential of the technology is mind-blowing when you consider the possible economic revolution. Crypto is the type of suitor that makes you want to stay up late into the night thinking about it.  You’ll want to spend every possible moment researching because you want to understand its complexity. And that only leads to more questions.” 

She recounts how one is inclined to “stop doing the things you used to do, stop focusing on things that used to interest you so you can give crypto all your time.”

Mesidor believes that many of us are unaware of how controlled we are by third parties — those highly centralized entities and intermediaries that hamstrung us with extra fees and taxes. 

“Crypto offers everyday people a path to reclaiming control of their data, identity, and money. It levels the playing field, ensuring that the masses can build and support their own marketplaces.”

She does fear, however, that the growing prevalence of concessions around centralization and the persistent influence of crypto-intermediaries may ultimately have a chilling effect on the blockchain space. The good news, she has, is that this space is in its infancy, so all things are possible. 

Despite the promising nature of blockchain's advancement, she notes this in the book: 

“On the downside, crypto defies conventional thinking and is difficult to understand - making it challenging to sync with the marketplace and attract mainstream consumers. We need to demystify and simplify the language of crypto and expand the current narrative beyond insider lingo and secret ciphers to help reduce barriers to entry for the crypto curious..”

Mesidor says that women of color represent the fastest-growing demographic in crypto:

“These industry leaders are paving the way, building innovative products and services on blockchain. We have a lot at stake. That’s why I created the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain.” 

In October 2019,  she collaborated with the Blockchain Association to convene the inaugural Congressional Briefing of Women of Color in Blockchain. Through this event 25 geographically, culturally and professionally diverse female blockchain-engaged leaders converged on Capitol Hill so that “Members of Congress could hear from the inclusive voices within the crypto community who are calling for federal regulatory clarity.”

She offers this concluding thought: 

"At the end of the day, the book and my work reflect my quest for social justice and freedom through technology. The tools that I’ve employed to achieve this are all anchored in my Haitian roots and the revolutionary environment I was raised in." 

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