Apolo Anton Ohno, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and founder of HybridBlock, recently took time to speak to Lunar Digital Assets about how HybridBlock will catalyze widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in Asia and beyond.
Ohno initially entered the cryptocurrency space as a casual investor in 2013. But upon learning more about the long-term benefits of how cryptocurrency could transform the world, he came to a point of realization in 2016 to create HybridBlock. After his Olympic career, Ohno invested in and worked closely with a variety of nascent tech-oriented industries such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and sustainable energy development. What drove Ohno to go full force in cryptocurrency, however, was its huge potential impact on the economic development of hundreds of millions, if not billions of people throughout the world. With no platform to provide cryptocurrency utilities to that range of people yet, Ohno saw opportunity to fill that need.
“It’s early enough where the [blockchain] community is very strong- everyone’s picky and sensitive. And if you can capitalize on the market, there’s enormous opportunity to be the one who provides value for millions, if not hundreds of millions of people.”
Perhaps one of the biggest shortcomings Ohno sees in how other companies operate in the blockchain space is their management style. Many of the largest exchanges in the space right now are bringing in leadership with legacy-based management experience, in attempt to make the crypto asset conform to the legacy finance or tech world. Ohno does not see that as a long-term solution for serious players in the blockchain space. In addition, when the industry explodes in the next few years, blockchain experts who have expertise either with exchange operations or technical fundamentals will be in even higher demand.
HybridCentral is a tool (under HybridBlock) that provides educational tools that are simple, easy-to-use, and bite sized for people unfamiliar with blockchain. Getting someone to understand what Bitcoin is, its value, peer-to-peer networks and a decentralized system are basic fundamentals when dealing with cryptocurrency. The main goal with HybridCentral is to make sure people understand the space so they can optimize their trading decisions.
The goal with HybridFX was to work with central governments, to develop stable tokens that are pegged to a sovereign fiat currency. People will be able to audit these stablecoins on an ongoing basis for transparency. Secondly, there will be lower remittance fees that cater to populations within certain regions. Digitizing assets and fiat currencies is not easy, but it’s a long-term goal the HybridBlock team is committed to, according to Ohno.
Base Trade is the most simple and easy-to-use platform for people to purchase their first set of cryptocurrencies. It will only provide the top 1 or 2 market cap coins and is a fiat currency on-ramp. The second tier of exchange is a peer-to-peer crypto exchange, called Hybrid Exchange. It will work with other exchanges, andeven include an arbitrage button if there is a price discrepancy across exchanges. Hybrid Terminal is geared towards very sophisticated traders, who want to utilize a downloadable desktop application. It has market making windows, up to 20-25 exchanges, with a full depth suite of order books.
On the topic of blockchain and cryptocurrency developments outside of HybridBlock’s operations, Ohno mentioned how improvements in protocol tech, security and better UI/UX for the average user seemed promising. EOS and NEO as platform protocols, AION as an interoperability protocol, and HoSho for security audits were all initiatives that Ohno mentioned to be positive contributions for the blockchain/cryptocurrency ecosystem.
After our initial meeting at CryptoSummit in Los Angeles earlier in May 2018, it was definitely insightful to chat with Ohno to hear his thoughts on the future of the cryptocurrency space and HybridBlock’s role within it. His aim is to reach 100 million users within the next several years. Here is a link to HybridBlock’s website and whitepaper.