In this brand new interview series we explore the ins and outs of the crypto scene with a range of guests. Uncovering new exciting crypto projects, speculating on where the market is heading and looking into where new technological innovations like blockchain technology can really add value.
First out in Crypto interviews we have Brad Michelson with us, who is the Director of Marketing at crypto asset lending company Million dollar startup BlockFi. We are super happy to start our interview series with Brad. A seasoned crypto fan who’s been following the crypto world on and off since 2011, and he has previously worked at for example AirSwap.
BlockFi received $52.5 million funding from Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Capital
BlockFi the New York startup has got the backing from some heavy names in the industry, for example by Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Capital, receiving $52.5 million in funding last year. It has also attracted vc funding from ConsenSys Ventures, PJC, Fidelity and Morgan Creek Digital.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your relation to cryptocurrencies?
I first learned about Bitcoin in 2011. I remembered reading about it on Reddit. Around the same time a cousin of mine started mining. We would talk about the basic tenants of crypto and the revolutionary aspects of a decentralized and immutable ledger. From then on it just became a hobby of mine on the side. A year or two later I realized that a few friends of mine were also quietly researching and following the Bitcoin space, so we started a Slack group where we all shared news, new things we learned, and some light price speculation. Over the next couple years Bitcoin was just a quiet side-hobby until the 2017 bull run. Crypto started taking up more and more of my free time.
How did you get into this industry?
By the end of 2017 I decided I wanted to work in the blockchain space. I had been working in digital marketing for a few years, both at an agency leading teams of marketers to working in-house at ecommerce brands. At the beginning of 2018, I joined the AirSwap team to help them launch their decentralized trading marketplace and put on the first Fluidity Summit during blockchain week. After that project, I joined BlockFi as their Director of Customer Acquisition. I’ve since progressed to the Director of Marketing role.
Tell us about BlockFi
BlockFi is the leading financial services provider in the crypto industry. We offer a suite of financial products designed to help cryptocurrency holders to do more with their digital assets. Our products include interest earning accounts and low cost USD loans backed by crypto. We currently services customers worldwide, including 47 U.S. states. BlockFi is the only independent lender with institutional backing from investors that include Galaxy Digital, Susquehanna, Akuna Capital, Fidelity, Recruit Strategic Partners, ConsenSys Ventures, SoFi, Coinbase Ventures, CMT Digital and Morgan Creek Digital.
What’s the biggest challenges standing in the way of BlockFi’s future successes?
The biggest challenge facing BlockFi is that most people don’t realize there are services on the market that can help them grow their crypto investment holdings or build overall wealth. The 2018 bull run was great for bringing more people into the industry, but by the time the market turned, most people just left their crypto on an exchange or put it into cold storage. We’re working hard to educate crypto holders that there are real crypto businesses with trusted products that help them do more with their crypto.
Where do you see BlockFi being in 3 years time?
BlockFi’s next three years will focus on providing additional institutional-quality products and services to the crypto ecosystem. In the coming weeks we’re launching our second product, the BlockFi Interest Account. Users can store their crypto at BlockFi and receive 6% annual interest, paid monthly in their deposited cryptocurrency. Additionally, interest compounds monthly, delivering and industry leading APY of 6.2%. We look forward to launching more products, such as crypto-backed credit cards, in the near future.
What are you most looking forward to see in the crypto space 2019?
I’m looking forward to more companies providing basic services to lay the groundwork for future innovation. I think a lot of people in our industry are trying to build technology for the future that the consumer is not quite ready for. I believe that we need to first create products that are easy to understand and have a clear use-case. This is the key to bringing mass adoption into the space and we look forward to being a part of that.
Which industry do you think could benefit the most of blockchain?
I still think that blockchain technology is best used in innovating the financial services sector. There are countless inefficiencies in the traditional financial world that this technology can solve.
Are there any really bad examples of where cryptocurrencies are being implemented?
(I don’t like to speak badly about other projects ? )
What’s your general thoughts about this bear market we are currently seeing in the crypto?
I’ve been following crypto since 2011 and have witnessed multiple big ups and downs. But swings like this are common in almost any market. We couldn’t have had this bear market without the amazing bull market of 2017. I believe that crypto’s fluctuations will continue, but how far in either direction is hard to say.
A big thanks to Brad for taking time to speak with us, he’s the first one out in our series of crypto interviews. And it’s nice to hear his thoughts on the crypto and blockchain industry. And his thoughts reasonates well with us, how can it be used to bring value here and now? And build products with a clear use case and that are easy to understand for the customers. If you’re thinking of getting into the world of crypto we have put together some guides for you here.
Best of luck to Brad and BlockFi!
Find more articles and interviews with crypto leaders and thinkers here
- The top 8 crypto exchanges in 2019
- A guide to cryptocurrency markets
- HODL, DYOR, REKT the 41 cryptocurrency terms you need to know!
- Crypto tax tools
Per Englund – Founder of Go CryptoWise a cryptocurrency and tech fan that wants to see better and smarter products and services that makes our lives better and easier