Raakhee Miller is one of those rare cases which perfectly combines someone from a financial and technical background. Her journey started in Hong-Kong at a company called FIS, one of the top software houses in the capital market space. This company was mainly focused on derivatives clearing software, where Raakhee got involved in the business and operations side.
Hong-Kong was just the beginning. Raakhee’s journey continued to London, Tokyo and eventually, she ended up on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs, one of the biggest financial institutions in the world. She worked there for 11 years in multiple areas, including derivatives and prime brokerage. Her background in technology also allowed her to help the operations team with a bunch of projects on institutional product development.
“Basically, we were trying to bring a more digital experience to institutional customers and that included a lot of upgrades to the user portal and enhancements on their digital experience, not just for reporting but also for execution. It was a really great experience.”
Besides Goldman, Raakhee has more banking experiences like at Macquarie, where she helped on the product development side. She has also spent a year at Morgan Stanley, running their swaps change the bank team.
Particularly interesting is how she ended up in the blockchain space. It all began when she reconnected with Steve Brucato, with whom she had worked together at Goldman Sachs. Steve at the time was working at crypto futures exchange and proposed Raakhee to join on the operations side. After spending some time at US-based crypto futures exchange, they accumulated enough experience to observe the cryptocurrency environment better and see where they could apply their skills more efficiently.
“When you look around in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, there’s a lot of fractional liquidity everywhere. There are 200 exchanges, 1800 different tokens, ICOs, you name it. Access to these exchanges varies, depending on which country you are in. Standards of KYC/AML vary, you can use fiat, in some case you can’t. It’s a very fractured ecosystem and it’s very difficult to navigate efficiently.”
This statement refers to not only retail clients but institutional ones also, it is complicated in its own way. Despite the fact that the birth of blockchain was to promote digital marketplace and the entire economy is digital, you need to know exactly what to do, and where to go in order to access the ecosystem.
Further, in the conversation, Raakhee touched upon the subject of regulation. She talks about the spirit of the regulation to level the playing field, to not take advantage of the little guy, to make sure that you are getting equal ethical treatment, whether you have ten dollars to spend or a hundred million.
“In reality, there are a lot of different benefits for big ticket clients vs small ticket clients but for the most part the regulations of and traditional markets have been trying to protect people, to have a sense of fairness.”
Raakhee describes her team as true believers in the blockchain. She states that “this is our internet”, she compares blockchain to the introduction of the internet and all the exploding opportunities and innovations that came with it. She states that in order for us to reach the level of adoption that is necessary for the realization of those opportunities and innovations, the bad behavior within the blockchain space must be weeded out.
Raakhee mentions that there are different methodologies that are used to filter out the market from bad actors. Some people want more regulations, where others want more competition with an idea to use competitional pressure to purify the market of these bad actors.
Through all these observations and Raakhee and Steve’s background in traditional finance, building operations, and systems, they found the company called Bitsian.
“In terms of our background which was in traditional finance, building systems, building operations, we thought that we had something to add to this new world, especially the brokerage space which is where we saw the gap in the existence of multiple exchanges with different systems and pricing. Our idea was to build the broker of tomorrow that interfaces with users, retail, institutional etc. and allows them a clean way to seek out the best prices and best quotes for them.”
As Raakhee explained to me, Bitsian is more of a liquidity aggregator. They connect to multiple markets and give back the customer best price available in a transparent manner. Afterward, clients can choose where they want to execute their trades. For that to work efficiently they have a couple of “tricks up their sleeves” as Raakhee mentioned, no surprise there, considering the knowledge and experience that resides within their team.
Their aim is to eventually create tools everybody can have access to. Tools that will seek the best pricing on the market. Also, as Raakhee stated, improving user experience is one of their priorities, so users won’t have to on-board 200 exchanges to have access to the best pricing.
After we discussed a couple of unfortunate security issues within the blockchain space, Raakhee shared their approach to the matter. Bitsian has its own solution for custody, but in the future will be working with partners. Security is a very important subject and according to Raakhee, there are a couple of aspects we need to pay attention to.
“Having a very robust internal policy and your operational safeguard is very important, especially for cryptocurrency. In this space, you cannot relax. You cannot put 100 percent reliability on technology alone, it has to be the marriage of all those three things – Policy, Ops, Tech.”
An interesting thing Raakhee mentioned was that most of the factors that led to the loss of money by an exchange or a project were inside jobs. It was caused by persons not acting in the best interest of the company. It is vital not to set up the kind of environment where you allow that to happen. That is why strict hiring policy is incredibly important, team members are pillars a company stands on. In the case that individuals are compromised or some other unexpected incident concerning core team members, there has to be an operational playbook to contain the situation as effectively as possible.
We have also discussed the ending of “ICO rush” and how good it is for the market. Because during the hyped up times, bad actors did the most damage. Raakhee recalls, some of the brilliant people she met in the last couple of years with brilliant ideas, that only think about executing the project. She says, that we need to support this kind of people and encourage them.
As for the future, Raakhee and her team are very optimistic about it. She says that little bit of regulation to protect from fraud will definitely benefit the space. Raakhee envisions the future where most of the tokens will be launched through STO’s and we will see tokens backed by real assets, like real estate for example.
She is hoping for the wider adoption of applications on the blockchain, and with the clear regulatory framework, the right projects will come eventually. Speaking of right projects, she also mentioned future vision for Bitsian
“For us at Bitsian, we are looking to be a broker that facilitates price discovery of assets that are on the exchange, ICO’s and different type of tokens. I think if STO gets more mainstream that will be a huge revenue stream for us. Our first product is available today and enables price discovery of assets on exchanges, one-click trading, research/news, and management portfolio and assets. This enables more security for customers and they remain always in-charge of their crypto/digital assets. Sign-up for access at bitsian.io. ”
Raakhee mentioned all the benefits blockchain can bring in the future and how much it can drive costs down. If there is a business that is fully using the benefits of the blockchain, it can operate businesses much cheaper and easier.
“Blockchain and cryptocurrency are going to be the core of the next generation of innovation. We are very excited and bullish. We have a few jackets on for crypto winter, but we are keeping on going and are excited about the future.”