Part 3: Luca Sbardella
After the success of our token sales, and with our target of $10 million in funding secured, we are excited to turn our focus towards product development. Leading the way in building the Lendingblock infrastructure is our Chief Technology Officer, Luca Sbardella.
In our latest Inside Lendingblock series, we talk to Luca to see where his passion for crypto has come from, explore his experiences in trading technology, and discuss how he plans to use innovative tech to shape Lendingblock’s future.
What was your career journey before you joined Lendingblock?
Throughout my career, I’ve always been involved in finance and trading; from working as a quant-trader in my early career to becoming a director at Citi. I’ve learnt a lot about how traders work, especially from building and managing the technology they use. But I could see the potential with crypto, and knew that I wanted to replicate these trading models into the crypto-space.
How has your experience in trading helped create the infrastructure for Lendingblock?
I look at the platform from a different perspective; I have a technology point of view, as well as a trader’s mind set. Working as a trader earlier on in my career means that I have first-hand experience in how they operate and how they think, so can help build the infrastructure to suit their needs and behaviours.
What inspired you to move from the traditional finance space into the crypto space?
From the beginning, I’ve been interested in crypto, especially the technology behind it. It’s exciting to see new currencies coming into the market, especially when that technology is creating micro-economies. The best example of this is with tools like Ethereum smart contracts.
Where it will go is anyone’s guess, but it definitely has the potential to disrupt traditional institutions like banking. With Lendingblock, that’s exactly what they’re trying to do, so it felt like Steve and Linda were the right partners to start this adventure with.
What makes Lendingblock stand out as a fintech startup?
With Lendingblock, we’re not just creating something for the sake of it. We’ve found a component in the crypto-space that is missing; lending and borrowing across blockchain. We know that it needs to happen which is why we’re creating the technology to make it possible. It’s this compelling simplicity and the modern technology behind the idea that makes us stand out. Plus, we’re at the forefront of crypto technology in the way we enable long/short trading of crypto-currencies on the platform. We’re using some of the most innovative technology that I’ve seen in trading.
How do you view Lendingblock against new competitors to the market?
Ultimately, we’re the first cross-chain lending platform to come to market and there isn’t anyone out there right now doing the same thing. We don’t necessarily expect to be the only ones for long, but I’m confident that our technology will keep us ahead of any competitors. Steve (our CEO) and Charlie (our Regulatory and Compliance Advisor) are also working extensively with regulators to put parameters in place so that when we come to trading, the platform is secure. These regulations don’t currently exist in the crypto-trading community, which puts us ahead of any new competitors.
What are you most excited about for the next 2 years of Lendingblock?
At the moment, we’re focusing on sticking to our roadmap which means delivering a product for testing by August/September. We’re working on ironing out the details which will then be scalable to roll out in beta-testing. Over the next couple of years, once we have established the platform, we’ll be growing the user base from private investors to traders, and getting the product ready for the market. We need to be thinking about long-term plans, especially how we will grow the space with different channels and additions that would be useful to crypto-traders later down the line.
Do you think there is a barrier between traditional traders moving into crypto because of lack of regulation or trust?
Traditional traders will move wherever there’s money, but they’ll have reservations about crypto because there aren’t any regulations in place, so it’s a high-risk investment. That’s why I don’t expect banks to move into the crypto space, but I expect that new institutions will arise, like crypto banks, to fill the gap in the market. For us, it’s important to forge relationships with our early investors to create that level of trust and to encourage other investors to come forward and use our platform.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Lendingblock?
It’s great to be working with a group of people who have come from different backgrounds and different experiences, but who want to do something new. There are always lots of big discussions taking place where everyone can express their own opinion, without any prejudice. It’s an incredible office with lots of flexibility, and the perfect place to come to after years of consultancy in London.
Our mission is to create the market and financial infrastructure for securities lending in the crypto economy, and we’re building a team to take us there. If you’re interested in joining the Lendingblock team, head over to our careers page to see what positions we have open.