There are few industries which have innovated more than cryptocurrency in recent years. We have seen all kinds of sectors pop up – decentralised finance (DeFi) and NFT’s, for example, didn’t even exist a few years ago.
Behind all this innovation are entrepreneurs, driving the nascent industry forward. Some have become famous around the globe – Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried have suddenly become among the richest people on the planet. Even the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto may be out there somewhere, with his/her estimated 1 million bitcoins still sitting untouched in their wallets.
We sit down with one entrepreneur today, Jenny Ta, hoping to make her mark on the industry. She has an interesting back story steeped in innovation. No stranger to starting companies, she now finds herself in this wonderful world of cryptocurrency.
CoinJournal (CJ): Can you give a quick intro about yourself to our readers who aren’t familiar with you?
Jenny Ta (JT): I’m a Wall Street veteran, a self-made millionaire, and a seasoned entrepreneur with three highly successful early ventures to my name. As founder and CEO of Titan Securities, a full-service broker-dealer and investment banking firm, I ran the company until its acquisition in 2005. Prior to that, I founded Vantage Investments, another full-service broker-dealer and investment banking firm, which I grew to a third of a billion dollars in assets.
CJ: You are a prolific entrepreneur – what made you want to build companies, and why do you think you are good at it?
JT: I’ve been quite successful as an entrepreneur, which makes me want to keep doing it! Prior to building companies, I was a Wall Street market-maker running two investment banking firms. It was there that I learned there are areas in tech that are problematic and that I could help resolve those problems by building a company of my own. So, instead of taking meetings with startups who sought funding from my investment banking firms, I founded a startup myself.
CJ: When did you first delve into crypto? Why?
JT: I delved into crypto in late 2015, when Bitcoin was selling for less than a thousand dollars. My first tweet about Bitcoin was that it would pass its all-time high and the fintech space would soon explode. Those two things did indeed happen the following year, and I was hooked. I became a true believer as I learned more about how blockchain worked and how the entire crypto ecosystem was connected within a small circle of companies. Having seen the growth of the space since, I believe Bitcoin will soon be in everyone’s portfolio, along with digital assets to take over conventional publicly-traded companies on Wall Street and eventually on a global basis.
CJ: Can you please explain how you arrived at your latest role: CEO at GalaxE.io by HODL Assets?
JT: I founded my third company, CoinLinked, a decentralized social commerce platform, two months after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. The purpose of CoinLinked was to allow people to buy everyday supplies and pay with crypto so they could reserve fiat to pay for rent and other necessities. The company took off and generated strong revenue by the end of 2020. Then, in 2021, I was invited to one of HODL Assets’ Twitter Spaces and connected with the company’s original founders. They had an NFT aggregator platform and were looking to add social features to it, while I had the social platform and was considering adding an NFT feature. After numerous discussions, an M&A was initiated and CoinLinked was acquired in August 2021. I came on board as Co-Founder and COO. In June of this year, I was asked to take over as CEO of GalaxE.io by HODL Assets.
CJ: You took up this role shortly before the sharp downturn in cryptocurrency markets. Is this price action concerning to you? How much tougher is it to lead a cryptocurrency project in a bear compared to what it would have been in the bull?
JT: I actually took on the CEO role on June 1, after the sharp downtown in cryptocurrency markets had already begun. The price action doesn’t concern me because of what I saw in the crypto winter of 2018-2020. As an experienced trader, I also find bear markets and crypto winters are just opportunities to acquire assets at low prices. Cryptocurrencies are not a hedge against conventional assets like stocks and bonds; a bear affects both sectors. Obviously, in a bull market, everything is easier, from funding to investing. But if you have the passion and tenacity to run a company, leading a crypto project through a bear market is a challenge you love. As a serial entrepreneur, I love those challenges.
CJ: Do you think NFTs and other Web3 projects can get back to the volumes and interest they were pulling in during the rally?
JT: I absolutely believe the market will bounce back! Web3 projects and NFTs are just getting started. Now is the best time to get into NFTs: they have the potential opportunity to earn up to a hundred times over on an investment of just one or two hundred dollars. As the market continues to evolve, what comes next is up to those looking to profit from NFTs regardless of whether crypto is up or down. This includes individuals who have never bought an NFT, individuals on the hunt for a long-term, value-based approach to accumulating NFT wealth, and even individuals who lack the time or tech savvy to do hours of research into the hottest NFTs.
CJ: What would you say to budding entrepreneurs who are considering jumping in to create something in the crypto space?
JT: I would tell budding entrepreneurs that it’s best to build during a bear, or a crypto bear specifically. If you’ve got a great idea that hasn’t yet materialized within the crypto space, great – more power to you to build that project or startup. The crypto space is still so young. A lot of unicorns will come out of it, and could even surpass the status of conventional companies.
CJ: I think it is always fascinating when trad-fi people make the jump over to the crypto side. Can you please give us an insight into your history on Wall Street?
JT: My first investment banking firm had fifty registered representatives (stockbrokers) with a combined nearly half a billion assets under management. I was always interested in high-tech investment assets. I did well in semiconductor stocks and trading calls, and put options against the underlying stock. So the transition from trad-fi to DeFi wasn’t too difficult. Both sectors follow similar regulations from the SEC, and the underlying technology – blockchains and smart contracts – is quite simple to navigate.
CJ: Do you have any other plans in the crypto space? Are you interested in anything else, or is your time devoted solely to GalaxE?
JT: While GalaxE takes up the bulk of my time, I do collaborate on a number of different projects. One is the inaugural Web 3 Expo convention at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas this coming October. As a partner, I help to plan the three-day summit, and I’ll be a featured speaker. I’m also involved in platforming crypto, NFT, and P2E games from different parts of the world, particularly the Asia-Pacific. And I advise a few international crypto companies going public here in the US through a SPAC or reverse merger since that’s my niche from Wall Street.