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So what’s next in financial tech?

by trusted insight posted 3years ago 6361 views
Interview with Alex Waters, Founder and CEO of Coin.co: The fintech industry has been on the move, proving lucrative to investors in the recent years. So what’s next in financial tech?
 
With a background in programming, Alex has worked in several managerial roles with tech and fintech startups in NYC. At the young age of 27, he founded Coin Apex, the first East Coast digital currency incubator that helps startups emerge in this cutting-edge space committed to building technology designed to create and drive positive global impact. Best known for his standing in this industry, Alex was an early member of the Bitcoin ecosystem since its inception in 2009 and worked on the Bitcoin protocol and core implementation open source project. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Coin.co, an innovative payments company focused on facilitating widespread acceptance of digital currency.
You’ve been in the NYC tech scene for over a decade. How would you describe its acceleration having been in the thick of it?

The tech scene started really heating up about four years ago. I noticed a notable acceleration when PandoDaily took on a NY presence. Fintech specifically has exploded in the last two years. The recent years momentum now makes New York the fastest growing VC region in the world. Although this amplifies the already fast pace of the startup grind, it also has yielded more opportunity to build out new ideas.

Working in fintech, you have to learn about the finance industry in depth, and of course there is learning curve. Coming from an engineering background, I never thought I would like finance, and in order to learn, I had to be immersed. I surprisingly enjoy it because I realize how much it really affects the world.
 
Other cities like San Francisco and London hold quite a stake in the fintech global landscape. How would you compare NYC to what you know about other cities’ tech makeup in terms of investment?

The potential for allocation of capital to fintech is massive here in NYC. I have heard many times that we are the financial capital of the world. As access to resources becomes more commonly available, I believe this is just the beginning to the trend of large and traditional institutions allocating funding and resources to innovative tech.

Running a company in an early stage market is always challenging, but working in digital currency and innovative payments, there are many more influencers to consider than most markets. How much complexity is added by working in a field that has so many components?

Fintech is particularly challenging because of the legal, regulatory and policy hurdles faced by FI’s. It is not an industry where companies can move quickly and break things. Patience, endurance and perseverance have proven more important an asset than hype and launching unproven models. The NYC-engineering attitude is very different style than that on the West Coast.
 
With volatility translating to perceived risk, how have you found reason in placing your bet on Bitcoin?

Obviously, bitcoin the currency has a ton of volatility; that metric is representative of how hard it is to place a price on the initial implementation of an early stage technology. Bitcoin as a concept, however, is growing consistently and exponentially in its pervasiveness. From a computer science standpoint, Bitcoin’s core technologies are as profound in their potential as the Internet itself. If I wasn’t in elementary school in the early 90’s, that’s what I would have been working on instead.
 
Since the digital currency industry consists of things like exchanges, mining operations, payment companies and applications that use the blockchain technology as infrastructure, what would you tell investors to look for when considering investments given your history in the space?

I would target companies that are focused on long-term growth within the legal bounds of their jurisdiction and a focus on partnering with established financial institutions. Additionally, things to look for would be strong advisors, adaptable teams, and a thorough understanding of the low-level technology, not just the application layer. It can be hard to identify that technical competency without a Bitcoin scientist doing due diligence. I am happy to advise on that evaluation process for any interested investors on the Trusted Insight platform.

Lastly, what companies in the fintech space overall do you think are doing things differently that may yield a positive results?

My top picks in the past few months would be Hedgeable, Acorns, HedgeCoVest, GovBrain, Estimize, ChartIQ, CircleUp, Vetr, and any other Benzinga Gala Award winners. Also companies that make it into Grand Central Tech’s 2015-16 class, participants in Barclay’s/Techstars New NY incubator, and of course, Coin.co.

Thanks a lot to Alex Waters for his time with us. (Coin.co)