Jesse Proudman: The serial-entrepreneur behind Strix Leviathan
Jesse Proudman is a serial tech entrepreneur who raised more than $22M for BlueBox before a successful exit to IBM. He is an angel investor participating in more than 30 Seattle-area startups. Currently, Jesse serves as co-founder and CEO of Strix Leviathan, a Seattle startup delivering an institutional crypto investment platform. A passionate advocate for mental health support for startup founders, he serves as a mentor and board member for the Beurk Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington.
Could you briefly describe Strix Leviathan and the ambitions of this venture?
Strix Leviathan has built an institutional-grade algorithmic investment management platform designed from the ground up to meet the unique realities of cryptocurrency markets. Companies with cryptocurrency treasuries and hedge funds utilize our platform to execute programmable, automated trading strategies based on proprietary technical analysis and machine learning. Our team includes technologists and data scientists who apply decades of software engineering, cloud and IT infrastructure experience, and entrepreneurial hard knocks to produce a one-of-a-kind platform.
What is your take on the volatility of crypto assets and to what extent do you see that as an obstacle for cryptocurrencies to be used as actual currencies?
I’m rather biased since our platform makes its returns based on the volatility that exists within these markets. So to me, this volatility is a benefit—volatility makes these markets interesting and makes them tradable.
That said, volatility is definitely a barrier to the broad-based application of crypto assets as traditional currencies for day-to-day transactions. This is even truer when you’re talking about adoption in developed economies with stable fiat currencies. However, it’s really important that we remember that not every economy is developed, and not every fiat currency is stable. In places like Venezuela, for example, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ether may provide greater stability (and certainly economic control) than the bolívar.
What is the single biggest factor that will determine how fast blockchain tech reaches a critical tipping point in adoption?
This is simple in mind: The biggest barrier to adoption is usability. The user experience of the products, tools, and technologies in this space is abysmal. Try to walk an associate through the process of taking USD and buying any of the alt-coins and you’ll waste 20 minutes of your time and leave your student scratching their head.
In your own opinion, if you could only choose one industry or field to revolutionize with blockchain technology, which one would that be?
Outside of finance and banking, I get very excited about the prospects of eliminating intermediaries involved in large transactions. Real estate is a prime example. Old and inefficient systems and institutions are lodged square in the middle of all sorts of transactions leveraging large fees into the midst of the process. Blockchain offers the promise of a much more efficient and economical way to solve this.
Are you pro or against regulation of the crypto space?
With any new industry, particularly one that’s both as technically complicated and frothy as these markets have been, you see a surge of bad actors trying to take advantage of newcomers and late entrants. Those bad actors damage the reputation and trust of whatever sector they attack. I fully support regulation that helps control the impact of those pushing the ethical and moral boundaries and damaging the reputation this community has built