We’re excited to welcome Jarrett Lilien to Voyager Digital's board of directors.
Jarrett brings with him decades of both retail and institutional brokerage and banking experience. He is a pioneer in online trading and has been on the frontline of more than one emerging market. Jarrett co-founded TIR Securities, a global institutional stockbroker, which was sold to E*TRADE Financial. As E*TRADE President and Chief Operating Officer, he was responsible for building the premier online financial services franchise and delivering record customer growth and earnings. He also saw the company through the beginning of the financial crisis, laying the foundation for E*TRADE’s recovery as acting CEO.
Currently, Jarrett is Executive Vice President and Head of Emerging Technologies at WisdomTreeInvestments, Inc. (Nasdaq Global Select Market – WETF), a provider of Exchange Traded Products. He's also the founder of Bendigo Partners, a private partnership focused on next-generation ideas within the financial services industry.
At Voyager, Jarrett will help guide the company through this exciting new market, lending his experience with building fast-growing startups into multi-million dollar companies.
Keep reading to learn more about Jarrett’s role at Voyager and his outlook on the future of crypto.
Voyager: In your almost decade at E*Trade and eventually as the CEO there, you were at the forefront of online trading. Do you see any parallels between the emerging crypto market and the early days of online trading?
Jarrett Lilien: There are incredible parallels. Back in the '90s, the whole internet and the advent of online trading were new things, and there was the same big question that faces the crypto market today - is this all a passing fad or is this a new phenomenon that is here to stay?
What has been your experience with crypto to date?
I have been analyzing the crypto space and platforms for some time now. I have been fascinated by the retail interest in the assets and by the institutional interest in the infrastructure.
You’ve worked with members of the Voyager founding team at Kapitall, E*Trade, and Tradier – what made you want to get involved in their latest venture?
In my book, success is driven by a combination of smarts, hard work, and hustle with some good fortune thrown in. Vision and trust are embedded in all of this. The Voyager team combines capital markets experience with Silicon Valley creativity and vision, so I know the smarts are there. The fact that I have worked with key members of the team before means I know they hustle and I trust them and their vision.
What makes Voyager different than other trading platforms on the market?
You recently became a board member at Voyager, can you explain to our community what that means and the ways you may contribute to this role?
I have been there more than once when new markets were created. I will help Voyager as it shapes this new market. Also, success can often be a challenge because new markets require participants to scale up quickly. I have deep experience helping companies overcome the obstacles brought on by sudden success and will help Voyager navigate this good-to-have problem.
What needs to happen for mass crypto adoption to occur?
A lot needs to occur and is happening as we speak. For example, we need more infrastructure, we need more trusted parties, and we need broader participation from both retail and institutional customers. For much of this, Voyager is a big part of what needs to happen. Bigger picture and possibly counter-intuitively, we may also need to see a bear market in equities and possibly a recession. There needs to be an acceptance that this is not a flash in the pan or the product of a longtime bull market. Living through an entire market cycle is what it took for the online space to really take off and be accepted. I think the same may be true here.
There have been numerous attempts to pass a regulated crypto ETF. From your experience (particularly as an executive at Wisdom Tree), what do you think the regulators need to see to approve?
I think the US regulators are being diligent in their review and they, too, want to see a stronger infrastructure to give them confidence in areas such as security, liquidity, and custody, and to ensure that the retail investor is protected. We look forward to thoughtful regulation. With a new market such as this, regulation can be like fertilizer.
What about crypto excites you? How do you see it influencing finance in the future?
It is all exciting. I love being on the ground floor. I also love the healthy debate as to what might be real and part of re-inventing the future vs. what might be hype and a solution in search of a problem. What I find most exciting with crypto and, more broadly blockchain, is the overall market's willingness to explore new ways of doing old things. The entire financial ecosystem is considering how things might change and, whatever the answer, this will be the biggest influence crypto has.
To learn more about Voyager’s board of directors and what it means to be a public company click here.