Published Jun 17, 2021 5:56:07 PM
Josh recently joined the Qredo team as its new COO. Read announcement
Hey Josh - Welcome to Qredo
Hello - excited to be here!
With the recent seed round momentum and preparations for the Qredo token launch, I’ve arrived at a very busy time.
Tell us about your crypto experience before coming to Qredo
My background is traditional finance - working on the legal side of the commodities and derivatives markets. This gave me a very detailed, real-world understanding of how financial markets and traded instruments work.
My first role in crypto was at the cryptocurrency exchange Huobi where I joined as Global General Counsel, later moving on to lead their Institutional Business.
Most recently, I was at Binance where I led and scaled the EMEA organization -- hiring key talent and building in their top markets across both retail and institutional channels.
When did you first get into crypto? What triggered your interest?
It was back in 2017 and I’d just joined a commodities fintech company.
Crypto was a hot topic and I became fascinated by how this new technology could fix the fragmentation and antiquated processes I saw in commodity markets.
I started exploring how blockchain could be used to solve different issues; from trade reporting through to precious metal provenance and tokenization.
This was my first experience of “peering down the crypto rabbit hole” and I was totally hooked; I realized that everything will be digitized and that tokenized assets really are the future.
This, and the personal resonance I felt with wider crypto values, pushed me into leaving traditional markets and finding a role in the digital assets space.
What’s on your plate as Qredo COO?
My mandate as COO is to help scale Qredo and accelerate the growth of its Layer 2 Network.
I know the team really well already because I was an advisor to Qredo for 17 months before joining. I’ve watched it evolve from an idea, to proof of concept and then into full production.
Now we’re out of stealth mode and accelerating fast; I’m pleased to say there is a strong stream of investors, customers and partners bringing assets and liquidity to the network.
My role will be to support and enable that growth — working closely with Anthony Foy (CEO) and the amazing team here to ensure that the infrastructure continues to evolve in line with its decentralized principles and the all-important needs of its users.
How does the culture of crypto firms compare to TradFi?
The culture in crypto firms is extremely entrepreneurial and everyone is used to the environment changing quickly. Traditional finance lacks this dynamic energy and the pace of change and innovation is much slower.
Things may change a little in crypto as the industry matures and larger companies will want to get involved. But we’re not there yet; I think of this as “the middle of the early stage” — crypto has proved the naysayers wrong and now the ecosystem is building rapidly. It’s an incredibly exciting time for everyone involved in the space.
Qredo is initially focusing on institutional use of its Network - why?
Institutional involvement is vital to a healthy crypto ecosystem but the infrastructure available to these players isn’t fit for purpose.
We know all of the large banks are looking at how to get into digital assets. Outside of the more specialist crypto hedge funds, this interest is broadly focused on spot and derivatives crypto markets but we believe this will soon spread to DeFi.
However the infrastructure to support this is fragmented, often designed for other purposes, and sometimes dangerously centralized.
We believe that the Qredo Network can fill this gap - providing a radical new infrastructure which allows institutions and corporates to enter the digital markets and scale — whether they’re intending to build on, or simply access crypto markets.
How do most institutions currently hold their crypto?
Recent research found that over 22% of institutional crypto assets are held on devices designed for individual investors.
This obviously isn’t the right approach and is fraught with risk. There are crazy stories of employees walking round with keyrings holding multiple cold storage devices.
Even more technically involved solutions miss the mark: air-gapped cold storage solutions sacrifice capital efficiency and connectivity, whilst multi-sig systems are riddled with inefficiencies.
There are Layer 2 settlement solutions out there but they are not interoperable or work at scale; there always seems to be a trade-off — and in most cases it’s security which suffers.
Qredo Network has been especially designed to address these issues — providing true cross-chain operability and a secure, decentralized approach to custody that doesn’t force institutions to incur the risk of operating across multiple devices and applications.
Worth adding that Qredo also solves for the very serious governance and compliance needs of institutional investors. Qredo users can configure their crypto custody environment to match their fund and organization structure. They can also easily integrate 3rd party KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) reporting tools.
Institutional DeFi is a trending conversation these days. Can Qredo support this?
Similar to the issues around custody, institutions wanting to access DeFi markets currently have to use a variety of tools — MetaMask and various Layer 1 wallets. This is not scalable and, in many cases, is simply not safe.
Qredo has built a DeFi hub that allows inst to deploy their assets into the DeFi market on a cross chain basis — ie Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain. This gives them one single access point to aggregate and manage their DeFi exposure — whilst all the while holding their assets within a network that has all the benefits of MPC security implemented on a decentralized network.
Qredo Network seems to kill many birds (custody/governance/trading/DeFi) with one stone. Does this breadth of activity make Qredo harder to articulate?
Yes — Just look how long this interview is already!
But just like crypto itself, Qredo in a way represents a paradigm shift in the infrastructure for digital assets. Yes, it can take time to articulate — and the deeper you dig, the more technical it gets. However, fundamentally, what we are building is the new infrastructure for a multichain universe.
Qredo recently released its Lite Paper. The token model mentioned is a little unusual — can you unpack that a little?
The tokenomics model we’ve adopted says a lot about the kind of Network we’re building.
We’ve adopted a unique and fundamentally user-centric token model. Existing tokens and Layer 2s over-incentivize one party to the detriment of the other, whereas we believe a L2 network needs to incentivize all participants.
We reward users every time they transact and we incentivize liquidity providers by rewarding them with either Qredo tokens or the underlying asset (something which is unique, by the way). Validators will receive a benefit for good Network governance, and those custodying assets on the Network enjoy an inflation-based reward.
As you can see, we are creating an environment where there is a lot of activity — but activity which is accretive to everyone involved. This new approach is an example of how we explore everything — seeing where there is room for iteration and improvement.
Talking more broadly now, what crypto trends are you most excited about?
For me, it’s the continual evolution of DeFi that keeps me glued to my screen when I should really be out taking the dog for a walk.
DeFi really is an amazing sandpit of innovation and is showcasing what can be done across the centralized networks. Yes, some projects will fail, but embracing failure and using it is one of those things that is crucial for the development of a new technology and ecosystem.
I’ve just had my first daughter and I love that, when she is 20, DeFi will have become the norm because — on a fundamental level — it's just so much more efficient and democratic. If you believe in open networks and open systems as I do, this future is very bright.
Any crypto influencers/thought leaders that you follow regularly?
I’m a big fan of Haseeb Qureshi from Dragonfly Capital. He talks about scalability as one of the main challenges in crypto. It’s a broad topic but he nails the key points in a thought-provoking and accessible way.
Allen Farrington writes some really interesting thought pieces around Bitcoin and the role it can play ushering in a better society. I’m a bit of a closet libertarian at heart so I'm attracted to the values system that underlies much of crypto.
On the lighter side, I enjoy dipping into Peter McCormack's What Bitcoin Did Next. He has some great guests and the conversations are excellent.
Last question: Where did you spend lockdown?
Though it’s not entirely obvious, I’m actually half-Mexican and spent the last lockdown with my family in Mexico. One of the beautiful things about crypto is its remote-first environment so, even though I was sitting in front of a laptop for 15 hours every day, I was at least able to maintain healthy vitamin D levels!
Thanks Josh — It’s great to have you onboard!