Hey Aviad! Thanks for joining me for this interview. To start us off, could you tell me what your relationship is with MobileCoin?
Hey! I’m the CFO for MobileCoin.
How did you find your way into the world of Cryptocurrency?
I bought my first Bitcoin in 2014 after my friend Kevin turned me on to it. At the time, he told me that Ethereum was the next big thing, but it had just run-up from $8 to $12, so I was like, “that seems like a pretty big gain in a short period of time.” What little did I know about crypto back then…
I was working as an investment banker at the time in a very corporate world, and, frankly, I was getting bored with it. I was ready for something different. So when Kevin and Josh invited me to create a crypto hedge fund with them, it was the right-time and right-place, so I took a big leap into crypto, startups, and building a business from scratch. I became the CFO of Crypto Lotus, which would go on to be one of the first investors in MobileCoin.
What a ride! How did you decide that you wanted to become an investment banker?
I majored in religious studies and architectural studies in college — not exactly your typical career path. I think I went in with the attitude that if you study what you love, everything else will work out. But when I graduated into the recession in 2009, it was actually incredibly difficult to get a job. I felt driven to prove myself, so I decided to try to get the most competitive job I could think of and set out to become a financial analyst.
Wow, that’s amazing. So from religious studies to CFO. How did you make that happen?
Well, I knew I needed to get my foot in the door, so I sent out hundreds of emails and networked a ton. Finally, after countless rejections, a guy named Ray emailed me back and invited me to interview for an equity research position. During our talk, I was so nervous. I did what I could to be impressive, but in the end, he said, “You know, I was a Classics major in college, I always hated the finance kids, so I knew I never wanted to hire one. The job’s yours if you want it.”
That one moment opened the door to my entire professional career. I spent the next few years studying for and earning the CFA designation, one job led to another, and the rest is history.
So the reason you ended up becoming a CFO was… You weren’t a finance douchebag?
Amazing. What’s your favorite thing about MobileCoin?
Can I give you two favorites?
The first one has got to be the people. The kindness and the pure intellect of the team is just a pleasure to be around. It’s just a great cultural environment.
The other thing is that these are the hardest professional problems I’ve had to solve in my life. Because it’s crypto, because it’s new, and the rules aren’t super clear, we have to make our best judgments about how to treat this new asset class. It’s changing on a regular basis, and that’s super exciting for me. It gets my brain working in overdrive. I love it.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I’m a musician. I play a bunch of instruments, but I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12, and I love it. For most of my life, I’ve played in bands. In fact, I was on a national tour with a band last year right up until covid shut the venues down. As it happens, music is the way that I met Josh, even before Crypto Lotus. We used to go to a jazz jam and play together every other week. It’s so funny to me that a few years later, we’d be working together on a project like CryptoLotus and now MobileCoin.
What would be your first cybernetic enhancement?
Haha, oh, man. You know, I don’t think that I’m really in on all that stuff. I kinda love being human. That said, matters of the brain are really interesting to me. Any way we can learn faster or garner greater empathy, intelligence, or contentment would be really interesting to me. This might be a narrow-minded viewpoint, but I think most of our real evolution is happening up here. Our brains are what have the most potential.
Aviad, I love your story and love that you met Josh through music. Thank you so much for your time!
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