Welcome to the latest episode of At the Forefront: Fintech Conversations!
To learn more and listen to our previous episodes, click here.
In this episode, Forefront AVP & Head of Content Sam Belden sits down with Sameer Shalaby and Martin Garcia, co-CEOs of digital asset trading and lending firm VersiFi, on the heels of its successful Series A funding round. They discuss what VersiFi is bringing to market, how Sameer and Martin’s experience working in both traditional finance and digital assets has influenced their business approach and their perspective on the evolving crypto regulatory landscape.
With an exclusive focus on trading and lending, VersiFi connects institutional investors to digital asset markets through a combination of a high-tech platform and high-touch services. Sameer explains that there continues to be substantial demand from institutional investors looking to engage in digital asset spot and derivatives trading, and how VersiFi can serve as a secure, trusted partner in this mission. This emergence from “crypto winter,” Sameer explains, was a major factor in anchor investor Hunting Hill’s decision to lead VersiFi’s $10 million fundraise in November.
Next, the group discusses Martin’s recent appointment as co-CEO and his work to head up VersiFi’s sales, trading and lending functions. Martin recounts his career history, including his time at Genesis as co-head of lending and trading, where he oversaw sales efforts and managed client relationships spanning from hedge funds to market makers to exchanges. He explains how his diverse career experiences helped him understand just how transformative VersiFi’s vision is and inspired him to join the firm. His background in high-touch trading and lending is a powerful complement to Sameer’s seasoned approach to the markets and experience building successful businesses, making them an ideal team.
The conversation then pivots to the challenges digital asset players are facing in the current regulatory landscape. While institutions are enthusiastic about adopting crypto, inconsistencies across jurisdictions and an overall lack of regulatory clarity have created much hesitation. Sameer explains that VersiFi is building its business and platform in anticipation of forthcoming regulatory changes, developing its technology, processes and procedures with the flexibility to adapt as the rules evolve. Building a market structure that “looks and behaves like TradFi,” he states, will prove highly beneficial when it comes to fostering effective regulatory oversight of this space.
Lastly, Martin shares his predictions for the digital asset space in 2024. He states that a spot Bitcoin ETF approval by the SEC appears imminent early in the year, which will drive up institutional adoption and, in turn, regulatory scrutiny of crypto trading and lending.
See below for a breakdown of what was discussed. Happy listening!
1:17 – Overview of VersiFi’s business and Series A fundraise
4:05 – Martin’s career history and reasons for joining VersiFi
8:30 – How VersiFi is building its business in anticipation of regulation
13:30 – Predictions for the digital asset landscape in 2024