A Thaw in the Crypto Winter? Start-up Vaultavo Girds for the Challenge.
By Henry Feintuch
There’s no “breaking news” in this statement – if you’re a cryptocurrency investor, industry provider or user, it’s been a cold, crypto winter. ‘Crypto Winter’ is an industry term describing a long downturn in cryptocurrency prices – the stock market equivalent of a bear market. Current prices across a variety of digital assets have been edging back from their lowest but remain down somewhere between 45 and 50% compared to a year ago.
And why the deep freeze? There are far more knowledgeable analysts covering the space than this writer but surely industry scams, unscrupulous players, the collapse of FTX in 2022, the war in Ukraine, the threat of U.S. government regulation and other factors are at work here. Pick your favorites but regardless of what Punxsutawney Pete predicted on Groundhog Day, spring is not coming to this market in six weeks. However, we remain optimistic.
Almost a year ago, our team was approached by fintech start-up Vaultavo. The company, headquartered in New York and with offices in London and key staffers in South Africa, Malta and Hong Kong, is setting out to solve one of the underlying weaknesses in cryptocurrency trading – the vulnerability of digital wallets to be hacked and the resulting chill that results from institutions and individuals who remain skittish about the security of their assets and transactions.
Vaultavo’s mission is to be the trusted bridge between the existing institutionalized financial ecosystem and the crypto universe by providing banks and financial players with a bank-grade custody solution. The company has developed multiple tech breakthroughs including the world’s first biometric digital asset custody smart card (patent pending). The next part of its journey begins today.
The management team taking on the challenge consists of seasoned and successful fintech technologists, strategists and marketers.
- Philip Meyer, founder, chairman and CEO, enjoys more than 35 years’ experience in the fintech/payments, internet and media industries. Previously, Meyer served as Group CEO of Ceevo, part of Nasdaq-listed Net 1 UEPS Technologies, where he was responsible for overseeing operations across the entity’s international payment subsidiaries.
- Keith Kourie, co-founder and CTO, is an international business leader with more than 16 years’ experience in the security and financial technology industries. Previously, Kourie had a 15-year tenure at NET1, serving in a variety of positions including CIO, where he was primarily responsible for the blockchain, cryptography and digital banking technologies with a focus on European markets. He also served as CTO for the group’s Ceevo Blockchain Ventures subsidiary and managed multiple developer and managerial roles on the company’s smartcard team.
- Gideon Malherbe, co-founder and chief strategy officer, is an accomplished business leader and serial entrepreneur with more than 35 years’ experience leading major strategy and change initiatives for corporations worldwide. Malherbe is the founder of Virtual Consulting, a nearly 30-year senior-level business consultancy known for achieving extraordinary results for clients through board governance, scenario planning, technology innovation, digital transformation, executive coaching & M&A.
- James Fick, co-founder and chief commercial officer, an experienced fintech and payments industry executive with more than a decade in the financial services industry. Previously, Fick spent a year at Paymentology, where he sold the company’s innovative, cloud-based Issuer Processing Platform to a European Tier 1 bank and helped obtain a proof of concept with a prestigious UK building society. Prior to that, he served as issuing solutions director at Ceevo, supervising projects relating to cryptocurrencies.
The Vaultavo team has gone all-in on developing a 360-degree solution that addresses the challenges of crypto. You can read about their solution here and draw your own conclusion. Admittedly biased, we’re of the opinion that, despite the long-term crypto forecast, the industry needs some white knights to ride in and establish a more secure environment for the betterment of all market participants. Without the security of knowing your digital wallet and assets are safe, and institutional providers have secured their vaults, the market will remain lackluster.