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Head of Growth for Europe Julia Morrongiello shares her journey to Zero Hash

 

Mar 23, 2023 | Blog | News | 6 mins read

Julia, you previously worked in the world of VC’s, what prompted the decision to become an operator?

I’ve spent most of my career working in venture capital: identifying the next big fintech or crypto startups, working closely with founders and advising them on how to scale their businesses. I loved the job, but after having done it for several years, I felt it was time to try out the other side of the table and get some real operational experience within a startup or scale up. I joined Trade Republic, Europe’s leading neo-broker, where I worked on crypto and expansion strategy.

Why did you choose to join Zero Hash?

During my time at Trade Republic, I got an insight into how difficult it was to build a crypto offering in-house. Most companies don’t have the technical expertise to develop a crypto product and the regulatory licensing process can take months and typically years before they can launch. That is what attracted me to Zero Hash, we are solving a clear problem which I had experienced as an operator.

Zero Hash, in my opinion, was also adopting a pragmatic approach to what is still a nascent industry. Edward Woodford, CEO and Founder explained to me that we don’t ride the hype cycles and we’re not uber conservative. We take a contrarian approach, adopting the fundamental principles of good corporate governance and compliance from TradFi and applying them to our crypto-as-a-service infrastructure. We believe this is the only way to build a sustainable crypto economy and to operate from a position of trust, whether that’s through the eyes of regulators, institutions and consumers.

Given the damaging events of 2022 in the crypto industry, I’m beyond excited and proud to be part of a company and team that has chosen to operate with values-first principles that result in stability and security.

What are your top 3 priorities for growing and scaling the business across Europe?

  1. Getting regulation right
    One of the toughest challenges in crypto today is regulation. In order to expand across Europe, Zero Hash needs the right licenses. We have built a solid reputation across the U.S and elsewhere in the world for our high standards and commitment to working with bona fide regulators. We will leverage this experience and expertise and commit to equally high levels of regulatory compliance across the EU and UK. I believe this will be a regulatory moat for us as we grow and scale the company in this region.

  2. Building a pan-European product
    Most leading fintechs and financial institutions in Europe operate across multiple countries. Zero Hash will provide turnkey technology and regulatory infrastructure to enable our clients to expand across Europe with a seamless, single integration and one-stop solution.

  3. Immerse Zero Hash in to the UK and EU financial services and fintech community
    I’m focussed on building awareness of Zero Hash and engaging with financial services and fintech companies that are just starting their crypto journey. I will be attending and/or speaking at various industry events this year (Paris Blockchain Week, Money2020 Europe, Fintech Week London and more) and working in partnership with the community to highlight the role of crypto in transforming the future of financial services. My top priority is to showcase how Zero Hash’s commitment to the highest standards makes us the partner of choice for fintechs who want to be a part of the digital assets future.

You recently appointed Keith and Laura as Non Executive Directors, what will they support with to ensure a successful expansion in the UK and Europe?

Laura spent 7 years at the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), where she served as the Head of the FCA’s Innovate function and oversaw the regulation of the UK’s leading fintechs. She is currently advising us on how to navigate the regulatory landscape in the UK and ensuring we can service clients in a compliant manner as fast as possible. Keith has spent the last 3 years helping Plaid establish and scale their operations in the UK and EU. During his tenure, Keith helped Plaid obtain 4 European regulatory licenses and grew the business from zero to several million pounds in annual recurring revenue. As Non Executive Director, he is leveraging his experience to ensure Zero Hash’s European expansion is a success.

How can traditional financial services and fintechs differentiate with crypto?

Introducing crypto is, in most cases, a way for financial institutions to broaden their offering. Even in a bear market, this generally results in greater user engagement, leading to higher retention rates and acquisition of new users. The knock on effect is an increase in revenue for those financial institutions and fintechs. Today, crypto is a way for platforms to differentiate themselves, but moving forward it will be the underlying infrastructure on top of which many financial institutions are run.

What are the important factors traditional financial services and fintech companies should consider when partnering with a crypto infrastructure provider?

Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed the collapse of some of the leading global crypto companies, which has made many platforms increasingly wary of working with crypto providers. In this context, trust and credibility are crucial. Identifying firms that are highly regulated and have a history of working with traditional financial institutions will be key.

Why should traditional financial services and fintech companies in the UK and Europe partner with Zero Hash?

Zero Hash has been around since 2017 and has proven to be a reliable and best-in-class partner for over 50 institutions. Our position as the default trusted infrastructure is supported by the caliber of investors and clients who trust Zero Hash and choose to partner with us on our mission to build infrastructure for the future. This includes leading VCs; Bain Capital, NYCA and Point72, and the world’s leading financial institutions and fintechs including Stripe, Interactive Brokers, MoonPay and tastyworks.

From the very beginning we have taken the hard road and achieved the highest standards of compliance, from the most highly respected regulators, in each jurisdiction that we operate. In the U.S, Zero Hash LLC is a FinCEN-registered Money Service Business and a regulated Money Transmitter, which is registered to operate in 51 US jurisdictions. We also put in the hard yards to obtain our New York BitLicense. In Canada, Zero Hash is registered as a Money Service Business with FINTRAC and as a Digital Currency Exchange Provider with AUSTRAC in Australia.

We’re in the process of consolidating our regulatory position across the EU and UK to ensure we continue to deliver on those standards. I look forward to working with leading European platforms over the coming years and help re-establish some of the trust that has been lost in recent months in the crypto environment.

If you’re interested in learning more about Zero Hash or leveraging our solution, don’t hesitate to reach out at [email protected]

Shaun Okeeffe