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A Blockchain-Enabled World Is On The Horizon: Why I’m Joining CoinFund | by Austin Barack | The CoinFund Blog


Austin Barack

I am very excited to announce that I have joined the investment team at CoinFund. In this role, I will be able to apply my experience as a crypto founder and investor, along with 7 years of experience closely tracking the space, to help identify and support the projects driving the industry forward. Ever since I first came across Bitcoin in early 2013, I have been captivated by the blockchain space. I started my career in fintech as an early employee at cross border payments startup Payoneer, working under the CFO. Blockchain technology and digital assets were outside of the scope of most payment services at that time, but it intrigued me tremendously for its remittance and store of value use cases. Having spent several years living in Santiago, Chile and Budapest, Hungary as a child, the cross-border implications of Bitcoin were immediately apparent. However, it was only once I came across Ethereum, that it truly captured my imagination. The possibilities became much more than payments and money, but rather the architecture for a decentralized, censorship-resistant, distributed, open source, and programmatically governed web. There was an extreme creativity and infectious enthusiasm that you could hear in the voice of everyone you met. In the next few years, the open source environment and powerful incentive mechanisms found in crypto projects led to incredibly rapid development and iteration. It was no longer enough for me to devote all my free-time to crypto research, I knew I had to dive-in fully. My passion needed to become my career.

In this subsequent journey, I was able to gain the founder level, operating, investing, and deep blockchain experience that I can now bring to my role at CoinFund. In 2018, I started Promeritum, a company focused on building smart contract powered repurchase agreements for blockchain-based assets. I saw the tremendous efficiencies to be gained by tokenizing securities and settling them on a blockchain in terms of speed, cost, and automation, and knew this would lead to more and more securities living on a blockchain. With this transition, investors would need access to the same tools to manage liquidity and risk as were available in traditional markets, but purpose built for these new blockchain rails. I helped grow Promeritum to a team of 6, a strong product, and reach many key milestones, and I was able to gain invaluable operating, product, and strategy experience as a founder. This now allows me to understand the unique challenges that early stage projects encounter, particularly those that apply to blockchain based businesses. With this understanding, I am better positioned to work as a partner to the teams we invest in and support their growth. I then joined 21Shares, an issuer of exchange-traded products with digital assets as the underlying. In this role, I was able to take a broader view of capital markets and can now use this knowledge to inform my thinking as crypto capital markets evolve and mature.

I am extremely bullish on the future of digital assets and their potential to fundamentally transform how people connect, interact, and achieve consensus. I believe we have already hit a tipping point in adoption that will propel us ahead with unimaginable speed. Governments are actively researching and testing out central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Coinbase alone has 35 million users investing in cryptoassets. PayPal will soon be rolling out the ability to buy, sell, and shop with cryptocurrencies to its 346 million users and network of 26 million merchants. Decentralized finance (DeFi) has enabled financial services such as borrowing, lending, saving, and trading to take place directly on blockchains, all in a peer-to-peer, decentralized, and trustless manner. Ethereum is on pace to settle over $1 trillion in 2020 from this activity. Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are setting the stage for massive asset tokenization both in the form of digital goods representing art, music, collectibles, and in-game items, and in the form of scarce real-world assets, unbounded by traditional liquidity and geographic limitations.

Above all, I am most excited to be working with an incredible and unparalleled team at CoinFund. The CoinFund team has one of the longest track records in the industry, having invested in many of the transformational projects in the space since the firm’s founding in 2015. The team has wide-ranging expertise in both cryptoasset and traditional financial markets, with unique technical, investment, and legal backgrounds. Our multidisciplinary team informs our investment thesis, our approach, and the projects we support. As fundamental thesis-driven investors, we work side by side with our portfolio companies to help them achieve their vision, and the unique group at CoinFund has the broad ranging expertise to do that in a meaningful way. I look forward to working with the next wave of innovators to help drive crypto adoption forward, and to do so as a part of the CoinFund team.



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“Fact You Need To Know About Cryptocurrency - The first Bitcoin purchase was for pizza.” ― Mohsin Jameel
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