A Conversation with Yuval Rooz, Co-Founder, CEO, Digital Asset
July 2, 2019, 4:35PM EDT · 41 min read
The following transcript is taken from The Scoop, The Block's new podcast. Listen below and subscribe to The Scoop on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Email feedback to [email protected]. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
It's been three months since Yuval Rooz stepped into his new role at Digital Asset as CEO. Rooz, a co-founder of the firm, had a goal of making the firm - which was best known for partnering with large financial institutions on blockchain project - more open. On this episode of The Scoop, Rooz joins Frank Chaparro and Ryan Todd to discuss his transition into the CEO suit, what it's been like to take the reins after the exit of Blythe Masters. We also dove into blockchain strategies across cloud providers like Amazon and the success of Digital Asset's partnership with the Australian Securities Exchange.
Frank Chaparro Ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for tuning in to The Scoop. The Block's podcast for crypto thrill seekers and decision makers. I am back from Montauk I'm tan I'm joined with my colleague Ryan Todd he's excited to chat with our very special guest today. I'm excited to chat with our very special guest today the CEO of Digital Asset Yuval Rooz. Thank you so much for coming into the studio to talk to us.
Yuval Rooz Thank you Ryan and Frank.
Frank Chaparro You're welcome. No worries. So let's dive into it. I mean Digital Asset has been in the headlines quite a bit recently. You guys are best known probably for being The Blockchain company that is helping navigate big banks into this market. But there's been some changes you guys are pivoting you're new in your seat, you're helping drive that change into really providing smart contracts as a solution for these firms. Tell me about your new seat. How's it going. He actually had the first interview, the first Q and A as CEO with The Block how's it been?
Yuval Rooz Well Frank you're right. The first interview was with you and I wish the first podcast would also be with you. But I'll take a number 11 with a lot of happiness but a lot of things have happened since I became CEO. As you are aware I actually started Digital Asset and I've been there throughout the beginning of the journey and you know I'm sure if you interviewed a lot of other CEOs from startups they will tell you about the ups and downs of the startup life and things change over time in this industry started with a lot of attention from day one when technology was that even wasn't even ready. And things are shaping as time changes and since I took over as CEO there has been some very encouraging announcement both for Digital Asset and the industry. So it started with the announcement of DAML becoming open source and after it became open source we made an announcement together with VMware and Sawtooth making DAML available on those blockchain and last week we made some very exciting announcements making DAML available on R3 Corda which is another very popular blockchain for enterprise and Fabric which is the most used open source blockchain. And other than that we also made an announcement. In line with our strategy is that DAML shouldn't just work on blockchain but also should work on centralized databases. So we made an announcement that DAML is going to run on AWS Aurora. So a lot of very exciting things. And you know the strategy is panning out as planned. You know there's a lot of questions about are we out of The Blockchain space. And you know maybe before you asked me that question I'll just take take one step further and say DAML itself was created with blockchain in mind. So when you think of how do I get all of the features of DAML out there and get get the most advantage actually running it on a blockchain will yield all of those features. So some of the features the DAML can provide to the users are not available when you run it on a centralized database. It gives you certain features that you wouldn't get on a blockchain but certain features that you can't get unless you run it on a blockchain. So from that perspective with fully dedicated to The Blockchain space and I think that the announcements that we made recently are if anything just positive to that industry.
Frank Chaparro So you guys sort of started out as thinking about how can we use blockchain to improve settlement clearing at different banks. Right. Is that still something you guys are looking at or is it exclusively now. How can we help them leverage smart contracts leverage DAML and also leverage this technology for even centralized databases.
Yuval Rooz Right. So I think when when digital assets started it wasn't that we were trying to solve clearing and settlement we actually entered into this space thinking that there's many use cases that are applicable to this technology clearing and settlement was one of the early ones because of the relationship with ASX and that that yielded a very very good and real use case that I think this industry was lacking in many cases a lot of people were looking. What is the right use case. So it's not the digital asset was started to solve clearing and was just that that was one of the early use cases at the end of the day a digital asset we believe that DLT and smart contracts have a lot of use cases that could benefit from using this technology. And as I said you know on your first question when this industry was created quote unquote there was a lot of attention and there was not much built. So if you look at some of the significant players in this market what they had to do is just start building everything they had to build everything top to bottom. So in the case of ASX we built The Blockchain we build the smart contract language we're building the solution we're doing everything in most industries that are mature you find that players come in and find their sweet spot and are not trying to do everything from top to bottom. And I think that that's kind of the difference that you've been seeing in this industry. So just just going back to it we are very committed to the ASX, ASX made it very clear that they are on time. They just recently opened the testing environment for their participants to actually start testing the functionality. So we're very committed. We're very committed to blockchain. Again you will see some announcement when it comes to blockchain and how much we believe in that piece of technology. And we also believe the DAML is a differentiator compared to everything else out there. And what you're seeing recently is us putting a lot of emphasis on where we think DAML could cause a significant and positive change to the industry.
Ryan Todd Real quick on DAML. Is there an analog to other languages that are used by developers and other industries to DAML or like how how do you think about that for the average layperson what that can provide.
Yuval Rooz Yeah. So I think before we make that analogy it just if you think of technology as a trend what technology does and did over the years is it provided abstraction where things become repeatable and when things become more complex you want the developers not to worry about some of the repeatable tasks that before that in the previous generation they had to do. So if you go all the way back to assembly code I mean every developer had to write every piece of instruction that the computer would process right as the world become more and more complex. There's just no human that is capable of building a clearing and settlement system using assembly code you know instructions. So effectively there is a trend with technology and you're seeing it across the board not just in blockchain word technology as it becomes more and more complex. What you do is you find these patterns of how can you abstract away some of those complexities away from the developers in order to allow them to develop things that are more complex without having to worry about every small piece. DAML is effectively if you want to keep it very simple is doing exactly that.
Frank Chaparro A good analogy sort of thinking about it like what Wix does from a website development perspective
Yuval Rooz Actually that's that's a great, I use that analogy a lot of times where if you think of 20 years ago what it took a developer to build a very simple Web site and you had a team of you know tens of engineers to build today you know a teenager with wix can effectively do the same. So a lot of these companies on the front end and the Web sites what they've done is they took the building blocks of a Web site and realized how you can abstract all of that away from the from developers and actually give a pretty uneducated person can do fairly complex things. Now I'm not saying that we will have exactly the same level of abstraction that an uneducated person will be able to create a clearing and settlement site won't be able to do it. But that's the direction that we're going so. So the idea is that building these systems these very sophisticated multi-party systems is becoming more and more complex. And if you think of historically you build it on a centralized database with very well-known tools now you're involving a distributed system and you know you are trying to orchestrate which party is allowed to see which part of the information. How do you orchestrate the messages between them. And if you're allowing the developer again to have more degrees of freedom with increased complexity of the use cases it becomes a much harder problem to solve.
Frank Chaparro And it allows almost the focus on the business end who might not have that coding expertise to get involved more in the process of.
Yuval Rooz Absolutely and I'm gonna touch on that in a minute but what what we've been seeing a lot is when you start taking traditional tech and you want to build very complex distributed system use cases which is what blockchain tried to do. They run into a wall after they reach a certain level of complexity because again the amount of degrees of freedom that the developer has to control is just it gets out of control. So what DAML does is really in very simple terms. It abstracts that away from the developer. And effectively what the developer has to focus is just how do I codify the behavior of my product. And they don't have to worry of how do I execute this product on a distributed system or in a centralized system so when you look at DAML code there's never any code that talks about connecting to a database or a blockchain. There is nothing that talks about encryption message orchestration it just defines the product. So now I'm going back to your comment about the business side. One of the patterns that we've been seeing which is very encouraging with DAML is that we're seeing some business analysts actually sitting together with the developers looking at the code that they're coding and in real time saying you're actually coding this smart contract this functionality the way I intended it to behave and that's a very powerful combination because traditionally what you would have is that the business analysts will write specification they'll hand it over to the developer the developer will go and do their magic and somehow at the end there will be some testing and QA done to verify that the developer actually coded the intended behavior. Today we're seeing that time gap between developer working with SME or this subject matter expert much closer to one another sometimes even at the same time. And that's extremely powerful.
Frank Chaparro So what exactly are folks and what type of firms are using this are using DAML to to build things and what are they building with it.
Yuval Rooz OK that's that's a great question. The most famous project is ASX. But in that case we're doing most of the development work.
Ryan Todd ASX being...?
Yuval Rooz The Australian Stock Exchange. Thank you. So the project we're doing there is that to replace the entire behavior of the Australian clearing house some house sub registry and the entire lifecycle events of Australian cash equities. So that's a fairly complex project. We're actually doing the development ourselves but again because of that abstraction layer of DAML we're capable of building such a complex project with actually a fraction of the engineers that traditionally you would use to build such a complex use case. But if you put away the projects that we're building the use We're building the use case ASX or designing it and we're actually implementing it. But if you look at some of the other use cases where the client is actually implementing the use case themselves. What you're seeing is a combination of traditional developers if you think of banks quants are generally speaking or really good all developers just because they have the right combination of being technical enough but also we have a very good understanding of how the business behave. And again DAML gets you closer and closer to how the business behave not how do you execute your business on technology but how does the business intended to behave.
Frank Chaparro So what are some of the use cases for quantitative trading firms.
Yuval Rooz So just recently just actually last week UBS announced that they're launching a structured product business on top of DAML. So again structured products by definition are very complex instruments. And again if you have something that is already complex by nature and then you want to execute it properly.
Frank Chaparro We love derivatives.
Ryan Todd Frank knows all about structured products and credit derivatives.
Frank Chaparro They make fun of me for for wanting to write about derivatives and so I probably have the least amount of expertise.
Yuval Rooz So so you know how how by nature they are complex. And now you want to execute them properly. What DAML does is again allows you to abstract away and really just define the behaviour of the structure product and gives you the ability to go to market way faster which actually brings up an interesting point that a lot of people think of blockchain and smart contracts as mainly associated with post trade with how to reduce costs from the system. I completely disagree with that statement. I think that post trade and reconciliation was the first use case that people thought about. But actually if you think of what I just said in this podcast the idea of abstracting away defining your products and the behavior of your products way more efficiently and faster actually gives much more opportunity also to the front office which if you think of the UBS How do I create these complex instruments faster get them to market faster or actually create top top revenue and not just cut from the bottom.
Frank Chaparro So breakdown for us exactly what the difference would be for a UBS if they were going to you know execute on delivering these these these new products. How is it different using DAML vs. going about it...
Yuval Rooz With traditional software. Yes. Again the guarantee that we're providing with DAML is that we believe that if you described your product with DAML it will be executed on a centralized database or on a DLT. Exactly the same way if you were to just code it directly yourself. So from from the end user you won't see the difference from the business perspective there is a massive improvement because again that abstraction that we're going towards is a 10x developer efficiency. So the ability to either get to market 10x faster with the same number of developers or to get with the same time line with 10 percent of your developers capacity. So what does it mean to UBS or any other like if you think of just a fintech startup that just wanted to create a new product and get to market. If they can do it with 10 percent of the headcount that they would traditionally need in order to bring the same product. I mean that's a huge advantage. Right. So that's really what it does.
Frank Chaparro Now bottom line is digital assets is destroying jobs on Wall Street.
Yuval Rooz I don't think so I think that you can again think about the fact that if today you could do something with the same headcount you can do 10x the efficiency. I think one of the things that Wall Street is looking for is a way to innovate at a faster pace. So I think that one of the things that I think Wall Street should take from this is we can actually improve our capability of adding new functionality to our customers. So from that perspective I actually see this as an opportunity for Wall Street.
Frank Chaparro So for for the UBS use case specifically are they are they leveraging DAML for a centralized database or on DLT.
Yuval Rooz I can't I can't mention other than what's in the public domain. I don't think that they said what is the underlying platform that they're going to run it on.
Frank Chaparro In that sort of relationship. How do you make money from that.
Yuval Rooz That's a that's a good question. So a lot of people when they heard the DAML is being open source they thought Are you becoming a non-profit organization which we clearly haven't yet...
Frank Chaparro Don't tell your investors. You guys raised 183 million dollars.
Yuval Rooz We raised one hundred and ten.
Frank Chaparro I don't know where I got that from. That might be backed actually.
Ryan Todd One eighty three?
Frank Chaparro Or one eighty two. It doesn't matter but not a nonprofit.
Yuval Rooz So so the idea is that in order to capture the usage of DAML in enterprise grade ledgers that connectivity between DAML and the ledger is something that is not created for all ledgers. So for example if you wanted to use DAML on Postgres you just download our software development kit and it runs on Postgres. It's a free centralized open source database and you can use DAML on top of it. And that's you will never see a dime from that. But if you wanted to run it on an enterprise grade Ledger The idea is that that connectivity that quote unquote driver to make DAML run with high throughput with all the features out of DAML and that ledger. We have agreements with Ledger providers of how to monetize that. So when DAML gets used on an enterprise ledger that you as a customer pay for. We see revenue from that.
Frank Chaparro What do you think the breakdown is in terms of folks who will just use DAML open open source DAML to build things without the enterprise layer underneath it with your guys as help as opposed to...
Yuval Rooz Yeah that's an interesting question and I think it's too early to give you a definite answer on what is the actual breakdown the way that I would think about it is you want to reduce the barriers from developers to actually getting into production. And from that perspective most companies that have been successful had free tier that got people far enough to actually prove that that technology is what they want to use for a viable business. Where. So what I think you're going to see is that actually a majority of people should use DAML for free and really shouldn't pay for it. And really it's only those projects that are mature and get to a level that from a commercial perspective they're viable. Right. At that point they don't mind paying for enterprise grade product because they have a business a real business behind it. So you know it's not going to quote any numbers because I think it's too early but I think that every successful project for the most part most users are free. And it's really just those users that got to a level of maturity and viability that end up being paying customers.
Frank Chaparro I always like to ask companies and whether we're talking with cryptocurrency executives blockchain executives smart contract executives what what's the parallel to traditional finance or Wall Street. What do you view digital assets as if let's say a coin base is the New York Stock Exchange or the cryptocurrency world or you know Genesis global trading is the Jane street of the cryptocurrency world what is digital assets in The Blockchain world to normal finance.
Yuval Rooz I think that eventually what you're going to see and I think that this is also applicable to some of the other enterprise blockchain not all of them. I think in the enterprise blockchain you see two groups you're going to see the ones that are like you know. Solution businesses. So if you think of like what some of Nasdaq does or Cinnober that was just acquired by NASDAQ that they actually use technology to provide an end to end solution. Right. So you'll see some of those companies. So I think that there are companies in the space that are like that Digital Asset in the case of ASX and some of our other clients are also providing the solution. And then you see the ones that purely want to be technology providers. And I think that that's the direction that I want to take. Digital Assetis that. Yes we have clients we want to make sure that we focus on clients where they need us to provide the solutions. But where you're going to see Digital Assetis just a technology layer that gives some of the customers in Wall Street a boost in productivity and the ability to innovate at a faster pace than they are capable of doing today.
Frank Chaparro So as a vendor in the space how do you see us positioning yourself to get more business akin to what ASX is doing if it's been such a success. Why are we going to other small marketplaces around the world to offer the same sorts of technology.
Yuval Rooz So we are I think that all eyes are on ASX just because of the scale. All right. There's not a lot of companies at that scale that are willing to be that innovative and innovative. And so you just don't see a lot of that happening but if you look just at the project with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange I mean that's that's in my opinion as interesting and as scalable there are the broader use case here in the US and those are the ones that we work on that in my opinion are visible you're going to see that UBS comes out there's a few in the healthcare space I think that some of the announcements early on this year if anything just help because what you're seeing from clients is who's going to win. Right. And one of the things that you don't want to be in a situation which is clients are waiting to see who will win. Right. So I think some of that announcement making DAML for example and Corda those kind of announcements if anything just created much more interest from a lot of clients. Some that said we're really really we like DAML we like the way that is abstracts away a lot of the complexities but we think that Corda for example is a really good distributed ledger. Can we make them work together. So if anything I think that some of these recent announcements of some of the big players in this space willing to work together is if anything going to create much more activity.
Frank Chaparro You get can you get DAML to work with public blockchain as well?
Yuval Rooz We were hoping to make an announcement of that sort. Last week we weren't able to finish but it was a very well-known public blockchain.
Frank Chaparro You heard it here first.
Yuval Rooz Yeah. I mean I would be very transparent we were at the IC3 bootcamp and we almost finished proving that you can compile DAML well into EVM and show that it could run on Ethereum. So there's nothing there's nothing that maybe maybe I should explain that there's nothing that prevents DAML from compiling into almost every blockchain or any type of persistence layer.
Frank Chaparro The clients might not be as interested in that.
Yuval Rooz I disagree. I don't know wherever you can actually abstract away the complexity of understanding how the infrastructure underneath he works. Why wouldn't you be interested. The question is what. You know a lot of ledgers. I think that the most important thing to state is that by using DAML you don't overcome deficiencies that exist in the ledger. What do I mean by that. So for example DAML can support data segregation meaning you don't need to have all data on one node but if you run DAML on a centralized database all data sits on the same nodes. So just by putting DAML on top of centralized database you didn't create data segregation effectively what you're saying is the features of the ledger gets carried up by DAML and I think that that's an important thing to say is that sometimes people come to us and say hey can we put DAML on top of our chain and it will fix some of our issues and that's that's not what happens what DAML does is it says I will transpose or I will carry through all of your features but I will allow the developers not to worry about how to actually write to your blockchain so there's nothing that prevents. There are some chains that are easier to integrate too. There are some chains that are you know takes a bit more work.
Ryan Todd You've talked about integrating so and R3 Corda or Fabric, Sawtooth. I'm wondering if you can comment on cloud and how digital asset looks to work with different cloud providers and even just like kind of pulling up high level strategy like what's in it for these providers they have at the AWS Aurora and Microsoft Azure. What's your angle what's what's The Blockchain strategy really all about.
Yuval Rooz Yeah so I think I think when you bring up cloud it's a great question. I just want to make sure that we we break it down cloud has two components to cloud the idea of someone running your infrastructure for you because they do it at scale and that's just from a financial perspective more efficient. So that's generally speaking cloud towards every piece of technology and not just blockchain or centralized database or A.I. or anything just cloud its value proposition is they do it at scale that's all they do it's cheaper they would say it's safer because that's all they do. It's much more distributed you know resilient. So that's just cloud. Generally speaking with respect to any technology. And so if you if you take just that aspect and you apply that to blockchain what the cloud providers are saying whatever is The Blockchain that you want to run if it's a very popular blockchain we can effectively run it run the nodes for you way more efficiently. Right. So if you today wanted to run a Corda hyper ledger, fabric, sawtooth whatever and you took that node in-house you would need to have very expensive dev ops developer operations you would have to have your own infrastructure you would have to pay a data center all of those things they're saying you can effectively achieve the same thing just run your node on our cloud it will be cheaper faster or better. So that's one thing where you're seeing a lot of the cloud providers playing is they're saying we can run these different blockchain that are popular just on our infrastructure. So they they. And that's what you're seeing a lot of announcements from Microsoft. There is no announcement from AWS you're seeing VM we're now playing where they're saying we support these blockchain that exist as is. And now you're going to see them running on our infrastructure. That's one aspect of the cloud and where you're seeing them coming in because they're seeing traction people want to use these blockchain are saying great we'll offer it better faster cheaper. The other part is when they are actually starting to play in the technology itself. So they are actually taking an active role saying this is this is a piece of technology that we believe in from from a technology perspective. So this is independent of the cloud. This is them actually taking a stand on what technology. So you saw the announcement. From Microsoft with quorum you know that they're actually now taking an active role in processing quorum transactions as a vendor. You're seeing VM were entering The Blockchain space saying not only that we can run it within our cloud. We are actually going to build a blockchain ourselves. And by the way we will also allow to process you know Ethereum smart contracts on that chain code. And now DAML was the last announcement that they made. So now they're taking an active role in making decisions what technologies they think are suitable to be consumed. So and I think that you know you're going to see more and more of those happening as as the market mature that you know from from the big tech providers. It's won't go as far as saying that it's a free option but with them out of resources that they have and the client reach that they have they allow the market to mature they realize where are the use cases and then they come you know at the end. I mean like just think of cloud. Who was you know some of the first players in cloud right. It wasn't Google it wasn't. You know it wasn't Microsoft. It was you know software is you know startups like Dropbox that came first and then they all realized that there's something here and you know they can offer it you know again bigger better cheaper. So I think that you know announcement like Amazon QLBD things like that are going to really change the market. And you're going to see them taking a much more active role. One of the reasons why we're focusing on making DAML available on as many offering out there is because we.
Frank Chaparro You want eat up that market before one of the big tech giants...
Yuval Rooz No, we want to play with them. Exactly we want to play with them. We're saying if VMware enters the market and they have client reach and they have good experience we actually want to be able to play on top of their blockchain if they're blockchain is successful.
Frank Chaparro So when you joined three months ago there are three things that I think were core to what you were looking to execute on. We've talked about two of them partnerships integrating with with other folks technology stacks and open sourcing DAML or making the company more open as you put it back then. As to not you know show your hand too much. We also talked about working with clients who were not in financial services and use cases outside of financial services you hit on healthcare earlier on the show. Talk about we can talk about healthcare we can talk about other industries where DAML is something that will make their workflows you know improved or better.
Yuval Rooz OK. I mean listen there's there's not really a use case that we ran into that you can't codify with DAML. I think that sometimes what we say to our clients this is not complex enough that it's worth barriers of entry for you to learn a new language just so you could say you were using it right. So I think that no different than with every every piece of technology there is there are barriers or there is a cost there is a tax to adopt a new piece of technology. So we haven't run into a use case that you couldn't use DAML I think where we're seeing a lot of interesting use cases is in healthcare specifically there because again the nature of at least in the US the amount of players playing a very simple transaction meaning just think about when you actually have to go and get just a simple day surgery in a hospital you have no idea how many different players actually play in that one single transaction. So in the healthcare specifically in the U.S. we're seeing a lot of opportunities. We then you know when you go into insurance and into trade finance again the idea is where you're seeing very complex workflows is where DAML becomes very interesting. I think that I can't remember where but someone said that blockchain is is more than 50 percent about the business. How are you transforming the business than technology. And I actually tend to agree that even when you're seeing these complex use cases of multi-party at the end of the day those multiple parties need to agree that they want to make their business flow the way that they do business different and more efficient. And I think that that's where a lot of times you're seeing these proof of concepts hit a roadblock because they're proving that with technology they can do it and then they go and they say to all the parties Okay let's do it. And they're like oh we have we have other priorities right now. This is not this is not a top priority. So healthcare insurance trade finance. The interesting thing that. We're going to see I think Accenture announce before about managing software entitlement with DAML and I think that that's extremely interesting because that starts getting into use cases where you're not starting to think about assets or How am I managing assets more in the traditional of finance but actually managing assets like software entitlement. So going back into a whole digital rights management and things like that where I think is extremely interesting and there there's a lot of interest in actually just making the business more efficient because how software entitlement is being audited today is very inefficient. So I'm hoping that later on this year you will see some very interesting announcements in that space too.
Frank Chaparro Health care insurance and finance there's there's a huge landscape for you guys to eat into. Let's pivot. You're our first guest to your first guests that we've had on post Facebook Libra mania. We were talking about it before the show you mentioned how digital assets in Libra might being in congress to each other. What's your thoughts on what they're doing. Do you think it'll work.
Yuval Rooz Yeah. So I don't have you know other than the white paper there's not much visibility. I think that what would be interesting to know about Libra is really what is the first use case what is the killer app. Is it banking on their bank. I mean like. And the question is how are they solving it. In those countries I mean how are people actually going to use it. Is there the infrastructure to use it. So to be honest it's more interesting to understand what is the killer app and I'm sure that they've thought about it and I'm sure we're going to hear about it. So from that perspective I'm still...
Frank Chaparro It's banking the unbanked right.
Yuval Rooz Yeah and that's why I'm asking. It's like. But banking the unbanked where? Where are they starting.
Frank Chaparro So it can't be India can't be China right. Because facebook is banned in those countries and they've said...
Ryan Todd Crypro is banned they can't service...
Frank Chaparro Facebook is banned in China as well. They've said that they will only operate in countries where either cryptocurrency is legal or facebook...
Yuval Rooz So I'm more interested to first of all knowing where where the first use case is that they're going to see to be honest. I would I would love for the opportunity to figure out how we can have DAML around on top of their blockchain because again at the end of the day when you would want to write very complex use cases on top of Libra right. You know it's going to become more and more complex and I think that that would be an interesting place for us to work together.
Ryan Todd Yeah. Have you looked at the. Have you looked at any of the smart contract potential that they could run.
Frank Chaparro They have their own language right.
Yuval Rooz So it's built on top of rust. It's called move and they said that it's not ready.
Ryan Todd OK. So it's not ready.
Yuval Rooz So you know we're ready. But you know again. It's very interesting. I think that what a lot of people are saying about Facebook is that again it's it's just a big testament to what is the potential of the technology. Right. So will will Libra be successful. I mean there are some serious players that are backing it and it's definitely not something to be ignored. I just think that it's again a very good thing for the industry as a whole to have these kind of players make such a move.
Frank Chaparro Do you feel bad that they didn't reach out to you to include you guys in the consortium.
Yuval Rooz This is not the place where I'm going to talk about this being in the consortium or not. But I wouldn't it wouldn't make sense for it for Digital Asset regardless to be a node on the Facebook consortium.
Frank Chaparro Doesn't make sense for a lot of those folks to be a node
Ryan Todd You started Digital Asset right almost five years ago now. You know still a relatively young company but in this market that's a pretty long time to be around. What are you most proud of. And how is the space evolved in ways that you thought it wouldnt when you first got in.
Yuval Rooz Actually what I'm most proud of is very easy. It's the people I get to work with. That's by far the easiest thing to be proud of.
Frank Chaparro You had a tough task when you came in as CEO three months ago I mean like masters as incredibly you know incredible. I don't want to say big shoes to fill. Kind of sounds.
Yuval Rooz I mean that's fine.
Frank Chaparro I mean expression. Yeah. Not that you don't have big shoes as well as well I'm saying but didn't invent yellow. I'm yeah yeah I did not. I did not and the morale of the company you know when you have a big figure like if Jamie Diamond were to step down from JP Morgan it would be a similar type of. Well here we go how do we how do we shore up around the company make sure everybody knows that there is a vision I have a vision and we're going to execute on it.
Yuval Rooz Yeah I think listen it's a it's a good question and I think that you can look at it from. That's a hard thing to do or you can look at it from. This is a great opportunity. So someone who gets to replace Jamie Diamond also get to reap the benefit of having all the infrastructure and all the momentum that Jimmy. Jimmy Diamond created for you right where if you wanted to go and recreate JP Morgan from the ground up by yourself it wouldn't be as easy. So you're right that there's there's there's big shoes to fill and that's not an easy task but you could also say there's the brand there's the recognition there's a lot of projects that have been created that from my perspective it's it's an opportunity to build on top of.
Frank Chaparro And what is the sentiment within the company and the fact of whether you've been able to do that.
Yuval Rooz Listen I think I think that people at Digital Asset wanted to take a much more open approach and I'm not saying that Blythe was not planning on doing that. That was always the intention. In 2016 we announced we're going to open source DAML. I think that them actually being part of this generate journey and actually seeing some of these things happening. The announcements that we've done with some pretty big players. If anything is encouraging to them and you know the strategy everything that has been communicated to the external world has been communicated with the team leaders and with the team. So I think from that perspective people are very excited.
Ryan Todd You have kids. Just like how would you explain high level smart contracts to a 5 year old.
Yuval Rooz So a month after I talked to Frank I became a father.
Frank Chaparro I don't think that two month could understand.
Yuval Rooz I have a kid and he's not even capable of keeping his stare at me for like 10 seconds so I'm not yet explaining to him what blockchain or smart contracts are.
Ryan Todd What's the appropriate age where you start.
Yuval Rooz What's the appropriate age...
Ryan Todd It's never too too early.
Yuval Rooz I think I think to be honest. I'm a first time father and I can't I can't give you... I think in my head sometimes someone I remember there were interview questions that are just like I just don't know how to answer it.
Frank Chaparro Well let's talk about your background. I know you were in high frequency trading high frequency trading world you mentioned before the show started you were a Cumberland. Tell us how you went from traditional finance and then found your way to a blockchain. What was that journey like.
Yuval Rooz So we'll just make sure that we're accurate on everything. So I started as an ally. I studied electrical engineering. I then started as a developer at Citadel and then moved into DRW. And at digital asset we did equity market making and then I was part of the team that... [0.0s] So that part at that point I became one of the team that started Digital Asset V.C. and we started that very early on that was roughly the same time where Cumberland which is a subsidiary of DRW was started actually our head of product area is the guy who started Cumberland and we were looking from an investment perspective companies to invest in the space. We actually made an investment in credit card processing company in Israel for crypto that are still doing very well from what I understand.
Frank Chaparro What's the name?
Yuval Rooz Simplex.
Frank Chaparro Simplex.
Yuval Rooz Yeah. And we were looking in the space and we just decided one day that we have the understanding of the technology we have the financial backing and the will to start a company ourselves. So I left DRW together with our Head of Product Eric who left Cumberland to start Digital Assetand that's how the company started.
Frank Chaparro What [0.0s] experience from the trading world did you leverage to in the beginning.
Yuval Rooz So again I came from a trading world that is very tech heavy. So just that as a start is very helpful. But I think that when you actually think of high frequency trading or just generally speaking where use technology and trading you have to be very practical. You really have to understand what is the technology offering your business and then we also hired a lot of people that have a lot of good business understanding of where the inefficiencies that exist and in financial services. Also having you know people like Dawn and Sunil and Chris on your board are people that really understand financial services and understand where the inefficiencies in these markets. So having that combination of really understanding the technology with also understanding the markets that you're trying to go after is very helpful I think in this space you're seeing a lot of bias towards one side or the other. So you're seeing technologists that say this technology can give you real time settlement. And you clearly see that they don't understand financial services because you say you understand how netting is a good thing that people are interested. People don't want to have the cash for every trade that they do move in and out of their bank account. That's very inefficient. So that's why netting is actually a good thing as long as you can manage the risk. But people just say oh you can do real time settlement and they just don't take into consideration what are the impacts. What is the impact that this will have on the market from a market structure and this is why I said earlier I think in The Blockchain space the challenge is actually the business. How is the business transformed by adopting this technology. What does it mean to the players involved in this transformation does it make sense for them from a business perspective and I think that a lot of times...
Frank Chaparro A lot of people in blockchain are not asking if it makes sense from a business perspective
Ryan Todd Correct.
Frank Chaparro What do you think next six months the next second half of the second half of the year. What are you most excited about.
Yuval Rooz I'm excited to see some of these announcements of the integrations actually being broadcast with actually clients behind it. So someone asked us How do you decide what is your next integration. The next integration. I mean I wanted yesterday to have every blockchain every database every public changed private chain all working with DAML. Of course why not. But that's not realistic. And we have to be.
Frank Chaparro What's the timeline for that to be realistic.
Yuval Rooz You know it again it depends. So it will never happen with all of them right. Because some of them you know have not. They're not going to be successful. They're not going to have that much traction.
Ryan Todd You have to invest resources.
Yuval Rooz You need to invest resources some of them are. Like I said the easier some of them are harder. But it is it is it is resource constrained. And at the end of the day your next integration is a commercial decision. So the next thing that I would want to see is actually seeing these integrations convert into actual clients using the joint product. So what I want the next six months to be is not necessarily just PR announcement but the actual real clients signing up to use DAML on top of Corda on top of fabric or on top of VMware that's that's my main focus in the next six months.
Frank Chaparro Well thank you so much for laying it all out and joining us today we appreciate your time. Thanks as always for joining us.
Yuval Rooz Thanks Frank.
Frank Chaparro No worries.
Yuval Rooz Thank you Frank. Thank you Ryan.
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