One of the questions I'm often asked, as co-founder of Rubicon Crypto, is how did I get interested in blockchain and digital assets and cryptocurrencies? The short answer…blame it on the blockchain. But, in order to tell you the full story, we have to take a trip in the "wayback machine" and travel all the way to 2013 and 2014 when I was a new executive in the insurance claims industry.
Ironically, considering the well-deserved reputation for innovation that Insurtech has earned and now enjoys today, at that time, the broader insurance industry (property & casualty, life, auto and reinsurance, etc.) was not necessarily known for being a bastion of innovation. More accurately, for decades it had the contrary reputation as one of the most stagnant, staid and bureaucratic industries in the world where change happened at a glacial pace, if at all. At a major claims conference in Chicago back in 2013, I sat in the audience during a general session presentation and would hear the words blockchain and smart contracts for the first time. One of the things that immediately piqued my interest was the sheer volume and diversity of research and investment that was taking place just behind the scenes. Yes, there was a broad focus on technology as a whole, but for me, this is where my curiosity was lit and as evidenced by the poor speaker that I ambushed and interrogated for far too long at the end of the session. And, what I was to quickly learn was just how much the fear of imminent disruption had awakened the insurance sleeping giants and ushered in the error of insurtech.
It Was about the Blockchains, Not the Bitcoins
As I have already confessed, at that time, I am fairly sure that I had never heard of blockchain technology, and, if I had, I certainly did not pay any attention to it. And, while I am still in the confessional, I can also tell you that although I had heard of Bitcoin back then, I also wasn't paying much attention to it either. As a matter of fact, if I am being perfectly honest, as somebody coming from the traditional CFP and wealth management worlds, I was probably dismissive to the notions of crypto and Bitcoin. Yet, when I started really diving in and performing the due diligence necessary to begin one's understanding of the principles, and, more importantly, when I started to comprehend the volume of practical business use cases for blockchain and smart contract technologies, my personal lightbulb officially turned on.
Tales of Institutional Hypocrisy…
The other phenomenon that really stimulated and cemented my personal interest was watching more closely how some of the biggest brands in the global banking and financial services industry were reacting to the potential disruption that the emergence of blockchain and cryptocurrency could generate. And what I found was nothing short of hypocrisy, institutional hypocrisy at the grandest scale. While the CEOs of many financial and banking titans were delivering dismissive and disparaging public remarks at every opportunity, their corporate treasuries were being emptied to invest in these same technologies being derided. Not to mention, they were also developing and hoarding patents in blockchain and aggressively recruiting and attracting the best and brightest minds in computer science to their ranks. So, when you have a prolonged scenario where we have insurance companies and big banks, arguably two of the most established and conservative industries in the world, paying attention to blockchains and digital assets, in both word and in deed, I am then inclined to pay attention too! And, with that, you now have a deeper insight into some of the influences and early experiences that would ultimately lead me down the path as a co-founder of Rubicon Crypto.
Remember whether or not you're crossing the digital divide with Rubicon Crypto…do so with common sense and with rational exuberance.