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Team

Celia Wan
Reporter

Celia joined The Block in April 2019 as a journalist intern. She is on her last few weeks to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where she studies the history and philosophy of mathematics. She wrote her B.A. thesis on the mathematical axiomatization of quantum mechanics in the early twentieth century, which won the senior thesis award from the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge.

Previously, she worked for Crunchbase News, covering tech news related to startups and venture capitals around the globe. While at school, she also wrote about tech trends and issues in the Chicago area for the Booth Business School backed Polsky Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Chris Nesi
Managing Editor

Chris started his news career as a newspaper reporter in northern New Jersey before running his own site for AOL as part of the erstwhile Patch local news network. He then spent six years as a copy editor for TechCrunch, and was a longtime contributing editor for Consulting magazine. His work has been featured in TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Mental Floss, Primer Magazine and elsewhere. He loves finance, watching the news in 7–hour blocks, and old school video games. He lives in Denver with a cat who consumes most of his free time.

Frank Chaparro
Director of News

Frank started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. He has received numerous accolades for his work and maintained the position as one of the most well–read fintech reporters through his time there, breaking stories on firms such as Fidelity, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Nasdaq. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley.

In 2018, he became a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He joined The Block to dive deeper into his specialty and is responsible for investigating the most powerful figures and firms in the cryptocurrency market and unearthing market moving news.

Jake McGraw
Co-Founder & CTO

Jake previously was ATTN:’s Chief Technology Officer where he oversaw product development, software engineering, data science, and information technology. He was one of the first engineering hires at Refinery29 and graduated from Binghamton University in 2006, where he majored in Computer Science. His professional interests include the intersection of media and software, specifically programmatic media distribution and optimizing media production processes. Jake is originally from New York’s Hudson Valley and is an outdoor enthusiast and avid hiker.

James Cabrera
Head of Design & Special Projects

James Cabrera is a self–taught user–centered designer, formally educated in Math and Physics. Prior to joining The Block, James was the Design Director of Gimlet Media, seeing them through to their acquisition by Spotify. He previously held design roles at Refinery29, Say Media, and Foot Locker, Inc. James has also given several talks on Design thinking and strategy at design conferences across the world. When he’s not designing he’s probably skiing.

Joel Escobar
Head of Platform Engineering

Joel’s love for startups and media has led to a career at companies from Univision Radio to Hearst Corporation. Before joining The Block, Joel enjoyed the longest tenure of the engineering team at Refinery29 where, as a Platform Architect and Devops Manager, he provided leadership in engineering as well as culture. He is a native of Houston, TX and a life–long maker. When not busy with system design and automation, Joel enjoys brewing coffee and building family.

Larry Cermak
Director of Research and Analysis

Larry’s goal is to bring rationality to the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. Previously, he was the Head Analyst at Diar where he was responsible for delivering institutional–grade analysis for the weekly newsletter. He has an undergrad degree in Economics from Skidmore College. He came to the US when he was recruited to play basketball at a small college prep high school. He is originally from the Czech Republic.

Yogita Kharti
Reporter

Yogita Khatri is a financial writer with extensive experience in print as well as online media. She has previously worked with leading media firms, including CoinDesk and The Economic Times. Her work has been appeared in Reuters, and cited in The New York Times, CNBC, MIT Technology Review and more.

Matteo Leibowitz
Research Analyst

Matteo joined The Block as a Research Analyst in January 2019. After graduating from Columbia University in 2017 Matteo launched CryptoChat, an industry–leading newsletter providing commentary and analysis on the latest developments in the blockchain world, with emphasis on the burgeoning Ethereum ecosystem. Before joining The Block, Matteo was also the founder of NashHash, an Ethereum–based platform for p2p game–theory games, an advisor to several early–stage blockchain–based projects, and an active investor across the crypto asset markets. Matteo’s interests include the analysis of on–chain data, which has led to the creation of the Fee Ratio Multiple and Network Value to Aggregate Fee Ratio metrics, and the intersectionality of Open Finance protocols.

Matthew Yamamoto
Research Analyst

Matt joined The Block as a Research Analyst in May 2019. Previously, he worked in equity research at D.A. Davidson covering Consumer Technology and Banks. Matt graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with an undergraduate degree in Finance. In his spare time, he loves hiking, playing videogames, and trying new foods.

Michael McCaffrey
Chief of Staff, Director of Operations

Mike wears a number of hats at The Block as both Chief of Staff and Director of Operations. Prior to joining The Block, Mike was an investment banking analyst at Citi, where he familiarized himself with some of the inner mechanisms that drive successful companies by working on a variety of strategic acquisitions and equity offerings in the financial institutions space. Mike holds a BSc in Economics and Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael Price
Head of Frontend Engineering

Michael has been making magnificent software since 2005. At his previous gig, Michael took on a role as a Lead Developer at Mindfulware where he developed and oversaw the core architecture development for their insurance enrollment platform. Prior to that, Michael made miracles happen as a Senior Developer at PlutoTV, where he co–developed some of their key technologies responsible for bringing live TV experiences to the web. In his spare time, Michael enjoys contributing to open–source projects, long walks on the beach and spending time with his wife and 3 crazy kids.

Michael Tanguma
Head of Sales

Michael joined The Block in 2019 after closely following the team and product since the initial launch in 2018.

He joins as the Head of Sales after spending the last 5-years with Google and WeWork helping grow their Enterprise businesses globally. Always having a keen interest in money, technology, & business from a young age, finding Bitcoin, provided the perfect multidisciplinary intersection to merge his career and passions.

He looks forward to the chance of playing the smallest part in the coming revolution, that he believes will generate the largest wealth transfer and technological advancement of our lifetime.

Mike Dudas
Founder & CEO

Mike is founder and CEO of The Block, the leading media & information brand in the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem. The Block’s expert–based model, in which all journalists and researchers are deep industry participants, has received universal acclaim and led to 400K monthly users in under 4 months.

Previously, Mike was co–founder and CRO of Button, the leading global, mobile performance marketing platform. Mike is a builder of mobile commerce businesses, having worked at Google, Braintree/Venmo and PayPal. Early in his career, Mike worked in corporate M&A and strategy for Disney. Mike earned a BA from Stanford and an MBA from Kellogg.

Ryan Todd
Research Analyst

Ryan joined The Block in January 2019 as an analyst covering the intersection of fintech and crypto. Previously, he worked at Deutsche Bank as an equity analyst in Financials & Payments, and recently spent time at ConsenSys exploring crypto research and the broader Ethereum ecosystem. Ryan graduated from Florida State University with undergraduate degrees in Economics and Accounting/Finance, and a Masters in Finance from Vanderbilt University.

Steven Zheng
Head of Research

Steven joined The Block in August 2018. Steven graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in economics. Previously, he covered blockchain and crypto at Radicle, a startup analytics firm. He also had brief stints at Cheddar, a media startup, and Bowery Capital, a venture capital firm. Topics that Steven covers for The Block include industry maps, Block by Block, and Bitcoin.