CHICAGO: Phil Gomes, SVP of U.S. b2b digital at Edelman, has joined Bloq as its first chief communications officer.
Gomes, who was also leader of Edelman’s global blockchain center of excellence, will oversee growth and corporate reputation at Bloq. He is charged with building a comms operation for the early stage startup, which provides blockchain tech solutions.
Based in Chicago, he will report to Bloq’s co-founder and CEO, Jeff Garzik. His official start date is September 24. Today is his last day at Edelman.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a comms operation from ground up, where there’s no legacy baggage or, in engineering terms, no technical debt," Gomes said. "It’s a completely clean slate to answer the question: if you built a comms operation today, given the nature of open source, would it look anything like we do today?"
Part of what sets communications in the open source space apart from brand comms is "community management," Gomes said. For example, where brand comms tend to focus on Twitter and Facebook, conversations in open source take place in apps such as Telegram and forums such as Reddit. "[They] tend to be a bit more anarchic," Gomes added.
Gomes is tasked with integrating community management into his comms function. He added that the role fuses his passions for blockchain, cryptocurrency, open source, and communicating about those topics.
Media interest has grown in cryptocurrencies and the underpinning blockchain technology since Bitcoin’s astronomic gains in late 2017 and its subsequent falls. This has seeded a demand for comms that can evangelize the technology, educate the public, and promote blockchain companies.
Founded in 2016, Bloq works with enterprises and open-source developers, dividing its business into two parts, Gomes said. Its enterprise suite adapts blockchain tech for clients. Bloq labs develops and "nurtures" those technologies.
Garzik, a former Bitcoin core developer who worked at open-source software company Red Hat for almost 13 years, co-founded Bloq with Matthew Roszak. Roszak founded Tally Capital, which has a portfolio that includes crypto exchanges such as Coinbase and Kraken. Bloq’s CMO is Jaclyn Kramer.
Gomes said Edelman has other blockchain experts, but it hasn’t chosen someone to replace him in the "blockchain center of excellence role."
Kate DuBois, GM, digital, Chicago at Edelman, said: "Phil Gomes has been a great contributor and leader in our digital practice over the last 13 years. We wish him the best in his next endeavor."
* This story was updated on 8/23 with a comment from Edelman.