Eight Questions: Anniversary Edition

Leslie Ankney

Each month in our Eight Questions series, we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team. This month, we’re celebrating our five year anniversary by speaking with some of the longest-tenured members of the Anchorage Digital village, our interviews go in order from when these members started at the company. We’ll discuss their history with the company, how Anchorage Digital has progressed over the years, and look forward to the future of crypto.

We’ll stick with the traditional eight total questions because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into.

Introducing Boaz Avital

Boaz Avital is a founding member of Anchorage Digital, our Head of Product, and the first member of the team to join our founders, Diogo Mónica and Nathan McCauley. Previously, Boaz worked on the engineering team at Twitter and is a UC Berkeley graduate. Boaz is based in San Francisco, and in his free time, he enjoys visiting his family in Israel.

  1. Anchorage Digital has scaled from a living room table team of you and the founders to a team of over 300 employees. What’s something that’s remained consistent about the workflow and culture you can still find here today?

At the beginning, we intentionally decided having a shared consciousness across the company would be important as we grew. Transparency was easy in the beginning as a team of three, and obviously is more challenging with scale, but instilling it from day one has helped create a work environment where we all are able to have a common understanding.

Enabling and asking everyone to contribute in this manner means our discussions are richer and our priorities are aligned across the company.

2. What is one of the most important things you and your team have worked on building at Anchorage Digital?

I am particularly proud of our custody exchange network and tri-party arrangements. Both allow clients to maintain control of their digital assets until trade settlement, which offers a radical difference from how many other companies are handling customers’ assets. It brings transparency and assures our clients that assets are held separately and never commingled while under custody.

Introducing Viktor Stanchev

Viktor Stanchev joined Anchorage Digital in January 2018 as an engineer, becoming the sixth member of the company. Previously, he had worked at Square and Docker with both of our founders. He lives in Brooklyn and enjoys working out at his local ninja warrior gym.

3. What was an unexpected surprise about joining for you as an engineer?

I’ve enjoyed transitioning to different roles as the company has expanded services, but the biggest surprise for me was learning how to write code on Chromebooks. I hadn’t done that before and had to step in to develop a process for doing so.

Today as in the beginning, Chromebooks have helped us keep a safe sandbox for information across the company that helps us ensure the billions of dollars in crypto we custody for clients is safe.

4. What’s a lesson you’ve learned from building in bear markets?

These are times that sort out the casual interest from the conviction in crypto. Institutions have a long-term time horizon, and it’s my goal to enable them to safely and securely enter the digital asset space. Right now, it’s the perfect time for Anchorage Digital to continue to build safe, reliable services that help advance our industry for the better.

Introducing Amethyst Hills

Amethyst Hills is Anchorage Digital’s Executive Assistant to the founders. She joined as hire #7 in 2019. Amethyst loves fitness, eating all kinds of food, and discovering new music. Beyond her close coordination with the founders, she has helped run engagement surveys, curate presenters for our company meeting and events, leads our offsite program, manages all company swag, and is a key contributor to the culture of Anchorage Digital.

5. What were your first impressions on joining Anchorage Digital? What do you think are the biggest differences between now and then?

Initially? It was quiet, and I’m definitely not. But I could instantly feel the energy and vibe of a very driven, passionate, hard working team and culture where we focus on clients’ first as one team. The vision and focus have been there since day one, and as we’ve grown, we’ve managed to keep that in place while simultaneously building an incredible Village. I think the biggest difference is that we’ve only gotten that much more focused on what we are building.

6. We talk a lot about institutional adoption at Anchorage Digital. Was there a moment that was a turning point in seeing it happen for you?

One of our events, in particular, stands out as the moment “we’d arrived.” We had a huge list of major institutional industry players come attend our client event at Bitcoin 2021 and meet the Anchorage Digital team. We were no longer the small fish in a big pond. People knew our name, who we were, and what we were doing. They were coming to us — wanting to talk to us, to work with us, and to build with us. That moment was wild and will never be forgotten.

Introducing Joe Alfaro

Joe Alfaro changed his career dramatically by learning to code and joining Anchorage Digital as an intern in 2019 after previously working as a car mechanic. He continues to enjoy building and working on cars in his free time. Currently, he is a member of our technical staff focused on our financing services.

7. What was your initial role at Anchorage Digital and how has it changed over time as the company has grown?

Interning at Anchorage Digital from the early days allowed me to see all sides of the engineering program, and also to grow in my skills, beginning with front-end as one member of a team of three, to interviewing over half of our 14 front-end engineers. Our product offering has grown over the years, so our specialization has allowed me to get a much deeper knowledge of crypto on the financing side, it’s been exciting.

8. We have accomplished a lot as a company over the past five years, from the engineering hub in Portugal to our Series D and our federal banking charter and now to our expansion in Asia. In your view, what is the most important milestone we have achieved?

Definitely becoming a national bank, I don’t even have to think about that one. I’ll never forget the moment the charter was approved and all of our hard work paid off. Being the first operational crypto bank means we set the standard for the rest of the industry and made history — it’s a special feeling to know that I played a part in that achievement.

Interested in joining Anchorage Digital and shaping the future of the company? Anchorage Digital is hiring for a variety of roles in Portugal, the United States, and Singapore. Check our job opportunities here.

Disclaimer: Holdings of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are speculative and involve a substantial degree of risk, including the risk of complete loss. There can be no assurance that any cryptocurrency, token, coin, or other crypto asset will be viable, liquid, or solvent. Nothing in this communication is intended to imply that any asset held in custody by Anchorage Digital is low-risk or risk-free. Digital assets held in custody are not guaranteed by Anchorage Digital Bank National Association and are not FDIC-insured.

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