St. Cloud Area Professionals Launch Non-Profit Cryptocurrency

What started as a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts meeting for coffee has morphed into a new central Minnesota nonprofit focused on educating the community and helping connect people. with resources to learn more.

The MN Crypto Council held its first event at the St. Cloud Financial Credit Union on Tuesday evening. Alex Schoephoerster, a lawyer at Moss & Barnett and member of the board of the MN Crypto Council, said the group’s immediate goal was to organize more events, in particular roundtables on relevant topics such as the mining, NFTs, legal and regulatory space around crypto. The board solicited topic suggestions from attendees, and Schoephoerster said he wanted to hear from others about their interests in crypto and any expertise people might have to offer others in the sphere of cryptography.

“Our goal, really, is to empower you to drive innovation and growth in the community by educating you about what space is (and) applying it to your businesses,” Schoephoerster said.


The nonprofit aims to help individuals invest smartly, help businesses understand how to use cryptocurrency to build their business models, and ensure government officials understand the world of crypto. .

“There’s always pushback, and usually it’s the people who just don’t get it,” Schoephoerster said, referring to past skepticism about crypto and, more broadly, the advancement of technology in the industry. financial.

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Schoephoerster said now is an exciting time to enter the cryptocurrency space. Venture capitalists invested more than $33 billion in blockchain and crypto startups in 2021, according to research firm Galaxy Digital Research. That’s more than all previous years combined. A study by the Federal Reserve found that 12% of American adults held cryptocurrency in 2021, almost all of them (11%) as an investment.

Ledge Wealth financial planner Marshall Grams said that as an investment manager he saw that cryptocurrency is a new asset class that cannot be ignored.

“Just because crypto is scary, just because it’s speculative, just because it’s volatile, doesn’t mean there’s no going back there, or that it shouldn’t be. inevitable,” Grams said. “There is just a risk. It’s all about risk management. And that comes down to being educated.”

According to Chase Larson, board member and chief loan officer of St. Cloud Financial Credit Union, more and more financial institutions — including his employer — are looking to use cryptocurrency in their business models.

“People get caught up in the get-rich-quick scheme, don’t they? You want to invest and you want to get rich, but I really think the value that bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain are going to bring is way more than just on an investment level,” Larson said.

Part of the evening also included a presentation and Q&A with James DonFrancesco. He is co-founder and CEO of NextGem, a company that helps trading card enthusiasts scan, share and discover rare cards.

Those interested in connecting with the MN Crypto Council can learn more about its events at or the nonprofit’s Facebook page.

Board members encouraged attendees to continue learning the language and intricacies of cryptocurrency.

“You literally just have to go down the rabbit hole and learn,” said Andrew Deters, Innovative Office Solutions board member and account manager.

MN Crypto Council board members include Schoephoerster, Larson, Grams, Deters, and ZenLord Pro co-founder and CEO Tom Spaniol.

Sarah Kocher is the economics reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-255-8799 or Follow her on Twitter @SarahAKocher.

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St. Cloud Area Professionals Launch Non-Profit Cryptocurrency

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