This the first in a series of articles seeking to profile early entrants into the space of blockchain in financial services.
Five years is a long time in blockchain. During this time, the industry has seen blockchain providers come and go and the early exuberance surrounding the technology give way to general skepticism. However, one of the earliest companies in the space, Symbiont, appears to have weathered the storm, quietly advancing blockchain technology in financial services.
The Inspiration Of The Housing Crisis.
Symbiont CEO and serial entrepreneur Mark Smith came to blockchain after witnessing the destruction in value caused by the housing crisis in 2008. A year before, Smith had assisted a business partner in establishing the Anderen Bank of Tampa Bay which afforded him a front row seat for the unfolding crisis.
But it was the regulatory backlash that particularly jarred with Smith’s libertarian ethos – “They doubled-down on centralization. Blockchain could have instead provided that much needed transparency into the mortgage market“ says Smith with a barely detectable drawl that hints at his small-town southern roots as we sit in a conference room at Symbiont’s Soho headquarters in New York.
Having helped sell the bank for $37 million 2011, Smith founded Symbiont with his co-founders Adam Krellenstein, Evan Wagner, and Robby Dermody.
Keeping Good Company.
To pull off Symbiont’s mission to put blockchain to good use in such as notoriously conservative and slow-moving market as financial services requires strong capability and backing. On both accounts, the company seems to be well equipped, as evidenced by their recent hire of CLS managing director of Joe Ziccarelli and their latest cohort of investors (including NASDAQ and Citigroup) that form the fabric of Wall Street financial services infrastructure today.
To put would-be clients more at ease, Symbiont — in direct contrast to the technology-first culture of many Silicon Valley blockchain…