Hello World! I’m Christian Van de Werken, an MPA Candidate at Columbia University in New York studying International Security Policy in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). I work at the intersection of national security, cybersecurity, and cryptography policy, specifically focusing on how emerging technologies influence and challenge established norms for governments and private enterprise. As a crypto enthusiast, a substantial portion of my interests revolve around the evolving cryptography debate in the United States, the future of privacy, and the extent to which new tech changes this landscape.
At SIPA, I’ve greatly expanded my academic background in cyber by being a member of various teams that operate at the bleeding edge of cyber & policy. In early 2016, along with eight other colleagues, I co-founded the SIPA Digital and Cyber Group (DCG), which provides a central platform for students that connects them to the wider cyber community. Additionally, I was a Steering Committee member and the IT Director for the 2016 SIPA Crisis Simulation, a gaming exercise which enables students from SIPA and other partner institutions to leverage current affairs knowledge and strategy to design policy options for real life crises.
Prior to joining SIPA, I worked as a Consultant for the Department of Justice on cases involving emerging technologies, most notably those incorporating blockchains (such as Bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrency derivatives). For these cases, I provided raw transaction analysis and developed several custom methods and forensic accounting techniques to aid in Anti-money Laundering analyses. Additionally, playing off my strengths in cryptography, I was tapped to design training materials covering blockchain forensics and public-key cryptosystems for use in various courses, seminars, and presentations.
Looking to the future, I’m interested in taking my background in finance and technology and applying it to more global opportunities. I’ve enjoyed the largely transnational aspects of my work, and I hope to continue that going forward.
Things that interest me:
- Public-key cryptography
- Post-quantum cryptosystems
- Big Data
- Air-gapped networks (purely as a concept)
- Emerging and disruptive technologies