xLab member spotlight: Natalie Smolenski

Natalie Smolenski black and white headshot

Natalie Smolenski has been partnering with xLab since 2021. She is a business development executive at Hyland and an xLab corporate member. Natalie is also an anthropologist and social scientist. She founded the Texas Bitcoin Foundation, a public charity, and co-founded the Texas Blockchain Council, an industry trade association. Natalie regularly writes and speaks about identity, technology, and government. 

Natalie’s partnership with xLab began as part of a project with Hyland to develop a solution for storing and sharing verifiable, blockchain-anchored, digital credentials. The project continued over three semesters as students built a web application for storing and managing personal Blockcerts, a type of verifiable credential architected by Hyland and adopted by organizations worldwide. 

Natalie has also been a key researcher on a Walmart Foundation-funded project to investigate the privacy dimensions of Learning and Employment Records (LERs). The research, led by xLab Director and Professor of Design & Innovation Youngjin Yoo and xLab Professor of Computer Science Erman Ayday, explores using an open infrastructure to permit individuals to collect, store, own and share self-verifying credentials that are issued and accepted by participating organizations.  

Learn more about what Natalie has worked on, including a list of books and articles she has written, at www.nataliesmolenski.com