Lendingblock is the world’s first securities lending platform for the blockchain economy, catering for the massive influx of institutional investors buying cryptocurrencies. The platform allows crypto asset holders to lend out their securities to borrowers in the short to medium term, and receive regular interest payments in return. Borrowers can obtain the crypto assets they need without having to buy them outright in the open market.
Lendingblock are on a mission to make crypto asset securities lending simple, safe, efficient, and flexible.
1. Lendingblock was founded by Steve Swain and Linda Wang in October 2017. Can you tell us how you met, what inspired you to want to work together, and how you developed the idea for Lendingblock?
Linda: We started working together about 3 years ago when we were both working at Deloitte. After that, I left to start my first lending start-up as part of the Entrepreneur First Accelerator, and asked Steve to be an advisor. A year later, it was clear that there were was a bigger and more immediate opportunity to bring lending to the crypto economy, so we started Lendingblock.
2. Lendingblock has a small but growing team. Can you give us more detail about hires, and the hiring strategy going forward?
Linda: We have a small but talented, committed and international team, united by the same belief in our product and mission. The whole team has a background in either finance or blockchain, or in most cases both. All our team have worked in capital markets and financial institutions, including UBS, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Société Générale, Fidelity and JP Morgan.
For new hires, we believe in talent beyond borders and languages. We never have a pre-conceived idea about the perfect hires; top talent comes in all shapes and sizes.
3. Without getting too technical, can you describe the key benefits of Lendingblock.
Steve: Lendingblock is, at its core, a simple idea – we are an open exchange that connects borrowers and lenders of digital assets in a way that is transparent, fair, and simple. This means that lenders can earn interest on their holdings, and borrowers can access the assets they need. It’s a capability that is an important part of conventional financial services, and one which we know is in demand for the crypto economy.
4. In your opinion, who is Lendingblock’s target market?
Steve: Our lenders are anyone who has an asset that they plan on keeping, and would like to earn interest on, which is just about anyone from individuals to large funds and professional investors. Our borrowers are primarily institutional users or serious traders.
5. What are the key development milestones for 2018. How soon do you think the platform will be ready for trading?
Linda: We are working on the beta version of the lending market place which will be on our website for people to test this quarter. The plan for launching live lending is late summer of this year.
6. So, what you are doing is unique, and a huge challenge that could have a transformative effect on the investment management industry, and how they use cryptocurrencies. Do you relish that responsibility, and was it something that you had always planned to do?
Linda / Steve: We both believe that crypto currencies have enormous potential, and that they are an asset class that will be an important part of most investors’ portfolios in years to come. For that to happen though, the sorts of services that we are providing as well as custody, hedging, and trading will need to get a lot stronger. We’re definitely up for the challenge of making that a reality.
7. Linda and Steve, you have both worked as consultants, within financial services, and as entrepreneurs. In your opinion, what makes a successful entrepreneur, and how should entrepreneurs with disruptive ideas approach relations with major corporates?
Steve: number one has to be resilience, and the ability to maintain the belief in your mission in the face of adversity. Change doesn’t come easy, but is worth fighting for. Having worked with big organisations, the challenge is to find equilibrium of interest, which means you are equally important to each other.
8. Where do you see the crypto asset market, and Lendingblock’s place within it, in 5 years’ time?
Linda: That’s the 64 trillion-dollar question. No-one has a crystal ball, but it’s clear that looking past the hype there is a real potential in a lot of the technology being developed.
9. What has been the hardest thing you have had to deal with so far in relation to Lendingblock?
Both: Finding enough hours in the day!
10. Will Lendingblock look to raise funding this year to fuel rapid growth, or are you happy to start off as a “lean”, “agile” startup?
Both: we are bringing investors on board, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing the approach that made you successful in the first place.