Originally published on 15 May 2015 by Digital Currency Council
As part of the Digital Currency Council’s Continuing Education partnership with Inside Bitcoins, the DCC’s CEO, David Berger, had the opportunity to interview the thought leaders that spoke at the Inside Bitcoins Conference in New York City on April 27-29, 2015. Today, we share an interview with Ritika Sen, Sales and Marketing, at BitSpread.
Tell us about how and why you got involved in Bitcoin and digital currencies.
Ritika: I’ve been very fortunate to work in major investment banks in London. I started my career in Lehman Brothers and then in Nomura, where I worked in derivatives and learnt a lot about trading, different kind of investments, regulation and so on. But this was the traditional world and I was looking for something more exciting where I could use my skills. I’m a great fan of technology. I’m fascinated by this phenomenon of money over internet protocol that we describe as Bitcoin and its associated technology. BitSpread, founded in April 2014, which is a firm that is a cryptocurrency wealth manager based in London, was a perfect fit for me.
What inspired you to join BitSpread? What makes BitSpread unique?
Ritika: I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work in a field that is going to reshape the way we live and do business. I have been following Bitcoin for the last three years but I couldn’t find a company with a long term vision looking to achieve realistic goals … till I came across BitSpread. We have a fantastic CEO, Cedric Jeanson, who I have also worked with for many years in banking, and who has over 15 years of experience heading trading desks in Paribas, JP Morgan, Barclays. He brings his wealth of experience now to this new digital currency asset class and has assembled a team of prominent figures from London’s financial industry.
BitSpread is a Digital FX wealth manager that has a catalogue of quantitative trading strategies generating alpha returns. For example, despite the negative return on the BTC price since 2014, our Market Neutral Liquidity Strategy has been yielding a positive annualised return of +31.45%. Further, some of the strategies run by BitSpread on a selection of quality Digital FX exchanges have the effect of adding liquidity on these exchanges. This helps to encourage trading and promotes price stability, conditions which are critical to the growth of this nascent ecosystem.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced at BitSpread? How have you overcome them?
Ritika: I think this space has seen the comings and goings of many startups of varying degrees of seriousness. At BitSpread we conduct a thorough due diligence of our prospective partners and clientele before we do business with them. It has the ability to affect our business and our reputation. Plus, you don’t get a second chance with the law!
What are you most excited about in digital currencies and blockchain technology right now?
Ritika: I am fascinated by blockchain technology, and the debates on using it as a smart contract platform or a replicated, shared ledger. And the benefits are huge – fewer processes to monitor, less red tape and more transparency for everybody. What I love about this ecosystem is the possibility for it to engage people in remote parts of the world. All you need is an e-wallet to make and receive payments. It might be an easier way to store cash rather than in a traditional bank account. I am inspired by the philosophy behind this technology, and the very real impact I believe it is going to have on our all our lives in the near future.
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the industry?
Ritika: I see two serious challenges today. The first question on everybody’s lips these days is ‘Why should I buy Bitcoin’? With the price of Bitcoin taking a beating last year, people are worried and need to be assured that the value of their Bitcoin at least does not diminish. The second problem is bringing Bitcoin to the masses. In the ‘90s, I remember reading the ‘Internet for Dummies’ manual from cover to cover, but I was a bit of a geek. It’s really important that we have user friendly interfaces that can interact with the underlying technology which will facilitate the mass adoption of Bitcoin. Already here at BitSpread, we try to simplify the process by taking care of the technicality behind the scenes.
What’s on the horizon for you? What can we look forward to seeing next from BitSpread?
Ritika: At BitSpread we are going to focus on developing and growing the business, and it has been my experience that things can progress very quickly in this field. I am looking forward to an exciting and busy year ahead!
David: Thanks very much for your thoughts, Ritika. Looking forward to a great conference.