Ken Kavanaugh is currently the President of Altcoin.io. Kavanaugh is currently helping the Altcoin.io in decentralized trading engine into the hands of brokers, exchanges, and fintech firms at a fraction of the cost of building their own. Prior to joining Altcoin.io ,Kavanaugh co-founded Moon Assist, an advanced order management crypto trading platform, as well as led corporate and business development efforts for Lykke DEX, a pioneer in the use of the security token.He generated $400M+ in revenue and closed dozens of fintech transactions over the years, amounting to $1B+ in M&A deal volume.
1. Tell us about your role in altcoin.io?
Right now as CEO, the main focus is strategic direction and revenue generation. I don’t want to take us into an already crowded market. And, I truly believe there are near-term real-world applications for the tokenization of assets in several industries. So, finding the right partners to establish our position in those industries is a very important part of my role.
2. You are known among the experts of crypto and fintech market, can you tell us about your journey into this market?
It wasn’t much of a long journey. I’m an early employee at E*TRADE, the online brokerage pioneer, and it was a former colleague’s telephone call that turned my attention to crypto. He quickly sold me on the sector and recruited me to join Lykke, the Zug-based decentralized exchange. Once I jumped into the crypto rabbit hole, I found it too exciting to turn back.
3. Why do you think there is a need for decentralized cryptocurrency exchange?
I look at it this way. At its most basic, an ‘exchange’ is marketplace to exchange goods and services or to transfer stores of value (assets) between two parties. The core function of an exchange is to ensure fair and orderly trading and the efficient dissemination of price information for any asset (whether a good, service or investment). A healthy, stable exchange/marketplace requires: something of value to transfer; active participants; a method to signal interest to trade; price discovery; and confirmation/assurance of a successful asset exchange. It’s human nature to always look for improvements in anything that we do. Distributed ledger technology and tokenization of assets are tools that improve upon the existing state of all these requirements to ensure a healthy marketplace. And, the decentralized, or peer-to-peer, nature of our exchange technology offers both a higher degree of assurances and greater control to the market participants.
4. How do you think Altcoin.io will differentiate itself from other decentralized exchanges firms?
We don’t intend to operate our own exchange. We made the strategic decision to white label our technology. What makes us stand out from other white label exchange providers is that Altcoin.io is the only white label DEX solution with a complete product suite, at the industry’s best price.
5. How do you think introduction of crypto currency is changing the market around the globe?
The introduction of cryptocurrency, and related technologies, has enabled people in all parts of the world to combat inflation, government corruption, big socio-economic issues. None of these changes make the headlines as much as a major price increase or decrease in Bitcoin. And that’s a shame. But yes, tokenization is changing financial markets across the globe as well. It opens investment opportunities to more people and has the power to temper recessionary cycles by making it easier to rebalance investment portfolios from an overbought asset class to safer investments. So tokenization can be a powerful risk management tool. But like any effective tool, it can be abused which leads to speculation and the 2017 bubble.
6. What are the major developments you are planning, in the recent time?
In the short-term, we continue to work with our strategic partners (0x, Wyre, OpenRelay) to create industry-leading technology for our white label customers and for the wider ecosystem. For example, we were instrumental in the development of on-chain KYC integration for 0x-based exchanges. Our dev team continues to innovate. We were the first to solve the puzzle to execute a cross-chain atomic swap between BTC and ETH and have since open-sourced that to the blockchain community. That’s what you get when you partner with the Altcoin.io team. We never stop innovating.
7. Do you think, because of the hacks and frauds people have lost trust in crypto currency exchange market?
Yes and no. For the die-hard retail traders, it doesn’t seem to have affected their trading volume. But these are retail traders who understand the value of cold wallets and self-custody. For the most part, they haven’t been the victims of the hacks. On the other hand, at the institutional level, such as traditional wealth management firms, these security breaches have slowed adoption. But as more trusted firms offer vault-like custodial solutions, we’ll eventually see greater institutional adoption.
8. What are the benefits you think, Altcoin.io will be able to provide to its customers?
By choosing to license Altcoin.io’s exchange technology, our white label clients can generate new revenue streams. Our decentralized exchange is primed and ready to go. Our clients will also save time and money in the process. It can take up to 12 months to design and test their own exchange. Even then, unless you dedicate a team to quality control, you can’t be sure how it will perform. And that’s after spending as much as $500,000 in developer expenses alone. Instead, they deploy their exchange within 15 days. And they can brand however they like. They know their customers better than anyone else. That’s their competitive advantage. So we suggest that our clients focus on their strengths. Rather than reinventing the wheel, stay focused on their goals and do what they do best.
9. Can you explain how decentralized cryptocurrency exchange process works and what are the things to be taken care off?
We’ve created the UI/UX such that it’s no different than making a trade on a centralized exchange. The difference between us and say Coinbase is that the user needs to have their own wallet, i.e. MetaMask. But the benefits are obvious and essential.
You always retain custody of your funds. Our smart contracts never take custody of the user’s funds.
To address liquidity and ensure users have access to trades at all times, we’ve partnered with 0x for its shared order book and we’ve partnered with liquidity providers to give users the ability to make trades from any centralized exchange’s order book while maintaining custody of their funds at all times.
10. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I’m so proud of the team. They have an industry reputation for innovation. Our highly-skilled developers proved that it can provide cutting-edge solutions and deliver on our promise of best-in-class R&D. They make it easy to tell the market that we can deliver.
11. What is the vision, on which you and altcoin.io is working on?
Aside from the current uses cases for a decentralized exchange (i.e. OTC desk trading software, platform for traditional brokers to offer a crypto asset class to existing customers), we are working on partnerships to take the technology into specific verticals such as real estate and two other areas. We’ll make announcements in the near future.
12. Do you think governments around the world have started opening up towards crypto currencies?
Yes definitely. In a bid to become a “blockchain nation”, the French Government is investing €500 million in blockchain technology, as well as considering a central bank issued digital currency. The EU itself plans to grow blockchain investment to €340 million by 2020. And despite a government crackdown on digital currencies, China launched a $1.5 bn blockchain fund last year.
13. Which is the book you are reading these days?
I just read ‘Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works’ by Alan G. Lafley and Roger Martin. And to decompress at night, I’ve been reading short stories by Vladimir Nabokov.
14. We hear that you have a blast working. Can you send us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
It’s the usual array of apps (music apps like Amazon Music and Shazam, payment apps like Venmo, Twitter, LinkedIn, ESPN and Flixster for movie reviews).