Interview with Christopher May, CEO & Co-founder of Finoa for Enterprise Blockchain 2021 Report by LeadBlock Partners
Finoa was founded in the middle of the crypto winter, and focused since day 1 on institutional grade custody services. Can you share more about the genesis of Finoa and how you saw the opportunity early?
“The idea of Finoa was born out of a pain point that my co-founder, Henrik, and I were facing as individual investors in crypto since 2016/17; namely the lack of a secure and comprehensive management platform for our crypto assets. Navigating the vast amount of investment opportunities in a secure and seamless way was difficult enough as an individual investor, let alone for institutions. Being aware of their stricter requirements, it became clear to us that “gateways” would be needed to enable large-scale participation of these institutions. Back then, institutional interest was certainly on the rise but concerns around security, regulation, and usability remained a barrier to entry for the vast majority of them. Based on these findings, we identified custody as the starting product to enable institutional participation in the crypto space. We started Finoa as a custody provider with the ambition to build a multi-service product for institutions.”
What do you see as the main barriers to crypto institutional adoption today?
– (European) risk-aversion: While institutions in the US, for example, have been diving head first and continuously accelerating their participation in the crypto space, we still see most European investors holding back due to risk aversion and ambiguity.
– Education and usability: Accessing blockchain-enabled innovation requires deep technical and crypto-economic knowledge. We need to better educate the wider public on the benefits of blockchain and give them the tools to comfortably interact with the different use cases, regardless of their familiarity.
– Regulation: There is still a lack of robust regulatory standards that match institutional requirements and are understood by the traditional ecosystem. Regulators need to find ways to embrace this exciting technology and encourage innovation while protecting consumers and achieving balance in decentralisation.
– Trust: Institutional adoption is still in its early days, many assets are still volatile, and security is a concern. A fundamental shift in mindset is needed and it is our role to lower the entry barriers by promoting secure platforms and working proactively with both crypto-builders and institutions, to bring new ideas forward that challenge existing paradigms in a productive way.
How do you see the custodian landscape evolving, and what role Finoa will play as crypto institutional adoption advances?
“We want to bridge crypto innovation with institution’s needs and develop products that enable institutional investors to successfully engage with digital assets and grow their investments. Finoa’s role is to enable this participation whilst also educating the less crypto savvy / uninitiated individuals and institutions by providing them with the necessary support so that they can comfortably take the first leap.
The participation of institutional investors in crypto is legitimising the space. Given that Finoa successfully offers innovative products as a regulated partner with a crypto license, we are taking an active role in reinforcing that legitimacy and fostering its adoption.
The constant evolution of the crypto networks, and thus their use cases, requires high operational and technical agility and adaptability. It’s important to stay on top of these developments and technical agility is key to ensuring that you as a custodian stay relevant. We will continue to support and foster progress in the space by offering early support for innovative projects and (decentralised) financial use cases, while growing our product and the asset range offered to our customers.”