Anthony Scaramucci, digital asset evangelist

    He had his bitcoin ETF blocked by the SEC in January, but that’s not stopping Scaramucci from taking aim at the blockchain craze.

    Anthony Scaramucci
    Anthony Scaramucci. Photo: World Economic Forum/Greg Beadle

    Unscientifically speaking, the unit of time known as a ‘Scaramucci’, or a ‘Mooch’, is 10 days. For that length of time in 2017, Anthony Scaramucci famously served as President Trump’s White House communications director, before being fired for an expletive-laced tirade against his own colleagues to a reporter from The New Yorker, writes Michael Baruch.

    Before that, he was (and still is) founder and managing director of Skybridge Capital, and in 2016 was ranked 85th on Worth magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful people in global finance. Now, it seems he has set his sights on the latest Wall Street craze: the blockchain.

    At the iConnections Global Alts conference in January, Scaramucci moderated a panel on how blockchain and big data can accelerate climate action. A gruff, but not unfriendly, Scaramucci interviewed Osha Jha, co-founder and chief data scientist at Arbol and founding partner of dClimate, and David Kleinhandler, founder of growth firm Blackridge Capital, who is personally invested in dClimate. The interview lasted a mere 2,000th of a Scaramucci.

    Arbol offers insurance for short-term climate events, including failed crop cycles, lack of wind speed for wind farms, and so on. Leveraging the data obtained in the course of running that business, Jha spun out dClimate with a goal to “get climate data on [block]chain and use that to build next-gen products such as [tokenised] carbon offsets”. To do so at scale, the firm plans to use satellite data and AI to ensure the environment that is being protected stays protected, or to otherwise eliminate the offset.

    Devil’s advocate

    Kleinhandler began the discussion with a quote from the Dalai Lama, extolling not only the virtue, but also the practical benefits, of friendship and warmheartedness. Scaramucci, for his part, loved the idea “of creating a monetary incentive for people to burn less carbon”.

    Waxing philosophical for a moment, he added: “We can pretend that [preventing the planet’s ecological collapse] is going to happen as a result of our good nature, but ultimately, if you’re going to be super-successful, there’s going to have to be a self-interested side to the story.”

    Scaramucci has been an advocate for cryptocurrencies. “Take a chill pill, stay long bitcoin… and I think you’re going to be very well-served long-term in those investments,” he told CNBC in January. This was in spite of the fact that, five days earlier, the US Securities and Exchange Commission blocked his hedge fund from creating a bitcoin-backed ETF that would trade on the New York Stock Exchange, saying it would be too risky for investors.

    How many Mooches will measure his attention to the blockchain remains to be seen – though one suspects it may end up correlating with the volatility of bitcoin itself.