Welcome to Eight Questions, where we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team, diving into their career paths, what brought them to crypto, and what makes them tick. Why eight? Because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into. It’s also the last single digit number in a Fibonacci Sequence, and we like that.
Next in our series, meet Gaurav Arya, Anchorage Digital’s Head of Client Partnerships. Gaurav comes from an engineering and fintech background. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and is based in the Bay Area. Outside of work, he spends his time with family and playing as much competitive league tennis as he can fit into his schedule.
- What are businesses asking to do with crypto that they can’t do today?
Most commonly businesses want to enable their customers to use digital assets in a way that is regulated and keeps their investments safe. They also find it crucial to settle trades mitigating counterparty risk as much as possible.
Through our Build With Anchorage Digital offering, we help these businesses need to create crypto solutions at the highest levels of compliance. Additionally, our tri-party arrangements assure that assets are held in Anchorage Digital’s secure custody throughout the settlement process.
2. Why was it important to create Client Partnerships during our fifth year as a company?
We realized that we need a new kind of solution that addresses the needs of our clients. After doing market research with many of our technology focused and sophisticated prospective clients including banks, broker dealers, fintects, RIAs, exchanges, Asset Managers, and others, it became clear we need to do more than just facilitate their transactions, and, rather, build infrastructure they can use to offer our services to their own clients. We needed to be our client’s product team, and to do that, it was more than selling existing services, because we’re working with clients to understand and develop technologies that are still being created. We can better leverage our own infrastructure by helping our clients meet their goals, and this is how our Client Partnerships focus was born.
3. What have been some of the most interesting innovations to come out of client partnerships’ conversations?
Both our tri-party arrangements and larger conversations that led to our exchange network came out of discussing clients’ needs and matching them to our roadmap at Anchorage Digital. It takes strong technical knowledge and an understanding of the regulatory and compliance boundaries around them to build something that delivers on a specific client’s ask at the same time as it becomes a larger offering under our umbrella to all clients.
4. Since you mentioned both the custody exchange network and tri-party arrangements, what makes these innovations particularly salient in today’s environment?
Yes, these services are especially important in the wake of FTX. One of the biggest takeaways is that exchanges, and even OTC desks, should not take custody of client assets. Instead, they should rely on the security and regulatory infrastructure of a custodian like Anchorage Digital.
Our custody exchange network is an important subset of the work we are doing to create and expand our settlement network. As we continue to build this larger network, we’ll be able to handle compliant, regulated settlement for complicated trades between Exchanges, OTC and Prime Brokers and their clients by keeping the assets in custody and removing the need for prefunding on trading platforms. We have been quietly working on our settlement network for about two years now and getting ready for the eventuality that assets should only be stored and settled by regulated custodians.
5. How do you approach leadership, and is that philosophy something that has evolved throughout your career?
In my view, actions speak louder than words, and I think about leadership as a byproduct of doing my best work as an example to be the most powerful way I can demonstrate leadership. When my team feels empowered to take big projects on, that accountability leads to a high level of success. In my previous roles on engineering teams, I was lucky to work with great managers whose lessons carry over to my work today.
6. How have you seen AD grow and change over the last year as we’ve helped more clients use our APIs?
Over the first years of Anchorage Digital, we were focused on building out our core security and regulatory infrastructure. With that established, our suite of services has grown to encompass APIs and automation, a side of our business that has picked up nicely over the second half of 2022 and that we expect to expand dramatically in 2023. API adoption is a factor of our ability to do things in a compliant manner, and we continue to expand the capabilities we offer to our clients while ensuring they are fully and sustainably compliant.
7. I know your son is heading into high school in a couple years, how do you balance parenting with the demands of leading an important part of Anchorage Digital?
Parenting is just as fast-moving as working in the digital assets space, and I’m constantly reminded of the growth and transformation that happens to a young person as it parallels the maturation of a company. As he moves towards the end of his middle school career, my son is at an age where he constantly faces new opportunities and challenges. So many doors are open to him for his future, and yet there are constant hurdles to fit in, make friends, and navigate all the transformation that happens from middle to high school. It’s the same for us at Anchorage Digital, where as a fast growing company in a rapidly changing environment, we have to keep evolving through various phases and overcome new challenges.
8. As someone who comes from an engineering background, how does your tech knowledge translate into what you are able to present to Anchorage Digital’s clients?
Anchorage Digital is a highly tech-focused company, and working with our clients involves gaining a deep understanding of their automation and scaling needs in order to build novel solutions. My engineering background allows me to communicate directly with the client’s development teams as well as product teams in their language and better understand their problems and technical considerations. In turn, these conversations inform our own product roadmap priorities. The digital assets space is still in its relatively early days, and innovation, overall, is a technology-driven process.
Interested in partnering with Anchorage Digital on a bespoke solution? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at anchorage.com.
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.