Austin Trombley wanted to offer customers something completely different in the cryptocurrency market. While many of the cryptocurrencies available, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, are extremely volatile, Trombley wanted to create something safer for consumers. Vaultbank is that creation with asset-backing as well as the intention to allow customers to receive quarterly dividends for investing and buying tokens from the group.
Trombley believes Vaultbank can change the way individuals use cryptocurrencies and bring more stability to the market.
An MBA graduate from Rockhurst University, Trombley has worked in the fintech sector for years. He gained a wealth of experience with Prosper and Wells Fargo, and co-founded a hedge fund, and now, Trombley is using that knowledge to build Vaultbank.
Trombley recently sat down with Totalprestige Magazine to explain Vaultbank in great detail. It is a fascinating business with a model that many cryptocurrency investors will love.
Austin, can you tell us about Vaultbank and how it can better serve customers when it comes to cryptocurrencies?
Vaultbank is bringing an asset-backed security token to the crypto market where each token holder actually owns a piece of Vaultbank, which, on its own is very rare. The main backing of the tokens is a secured asset fund, which is co-managed by Random Forest Capital, a hedge fund headquartered in San Francisco that I co-founded. Vaultbank is also building a securities and crypto investment exchange, which we plan to use for tokenizing and launching securities like mutual funds, as well as offering trading at competitive rates on top cryptocurrencies. The platform will have KYC, AML and investor accreditation built in. On top of that, we are also finalizing partnerships to launch a crypto debit card program to offer future usability and mass adoption of crypto. The potential profits generated from what we are building will be distributed in Ethereum dividends quarterly to token holders as well as also partially being reinvested into the secured asset fund.
As a former strategist for Prosper, what led you to Vaultbank?
After consulting for Wells Fargo I was so disenfranchised, I dedicated my life to tearing down traditional finance. The best way to do this back then was to disintermediate the lending from the borrowers. Hence, my choice to go to Prosper. After blockchain came about, I saw a way to build decentralized apps that could replace the 133 products that Wells Fargo moves $13 Trillion a year through. It led to the founding of Vaultbank
Compared to your competitors, what sets Vaultbank apart and why should new customers work with your business?
We have competitors in the areas that our main three business lines hit: being the secured asset loan portfolio, cryptocurrency exchange and crypto debit card programs, but no one is offering a suite of services like this all attached to one asset backed token that intends to pay out quarterly dividends. In terms of investing in a secured asset portfolio, typically hedge funds have large minimum investments and long lock up periods for invested money. For example, for all residents living outside of the US, their investments have only a $100 minimum and have no lock up period. So, this is a new way of investing partially into a traditional secured asset hedge fund.
As for the cryptocurrency exchange, our speed to market, user friendly interface, fee structure, investor accreditation, and ability to tokenize and launch security tokens will all differentiate our product from competitors.
Regarding the crypto debit card program, most, if not all crypto debit card programs have been getting shut down. We believe it is mainly because the processors do not want to “see” the crypto. With our crypto debit card program, we plan for the crypto to fiat transaction to go through our exchange, so that the processor only sees the fiat.
You have an extensive background with Fortune 500 companies. How has that background with those businesses helped you adapt to Vaultbank and make it grow?
I have had the amazing opportunity to work with executives of some of the biggest companies. I have gained a tremendous amount of experience, specifically in data science and fintech. In addition, I know what they look for in companies and new technology. I know what interests them and what their next several steps will be. What someone is going to do next isn’t that exciting, but three, four or five steps down the road is where a new company needs to be in order to gain traction and interest the big players, or else you will fail or be eaten up. The world of cryptocurrency is still relatively new, and it is still very new to established businesses and leaders. They are too focused on their own companies and businesses. So, if I know where they expect to be, and what space they want to be in, we can better tailor Vaultbank to compete or work with some of the biggest names in the industry.
There are a lot of news headlines being devoted to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies currently. Can you explain just why this type of currency is so important and why individuals should invest in and use cryptocurrencies?
Well Bitcoin, and numerous others such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple’s XRP and others, are all utility tokens. As we have seen over the past few weeks they are extremely volatile. A conservative investor is not attracted to such swings, and someone who may be interested may be turned off by such changes in a new and emerging market. Vaultbank’s token seeks to change that first and foremost by being a security token. Each Vaultbank (VB) token represents a non-voting equity stake in our company, so there is ownership and we adhere to strict securities laws and regulations. Secondly, our token is backed by something. A repeated concern about crypto is that “it is not backed by anything” or a government, central bank, etc. The VB token will be backed by real credit assets, so there will always be a strong foundation to our business model and our tokens value, the anticipated quarterly dividend makes it even more attractive since it pays the owner to hold it.
Continuing from our last question, a lot has been made about the volatility of cryptocurrencies. Why can we see them increase in value one day only to go down a day or two later?
There are numerous reasons. First, this is a new industry mixed with true believers, long time enthusiasts and programmers, traders, speculators, amateurs, and fraudsters. Each of these groups have their own interests and goal in mind. Add to that mix a ceaseless market 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 five days a year and a lot can happen in a short amount of time. I saw somewhere that one year in the crypto market is equivalent to about five years in the traditional public markets. I agree with that and think it could be been longer. So, when you are condensing so much activity into such little time, you’re bound to have massive fluctuations. Add to that the lack of regulation, multiple news stories which are good or bad, and constant innovation and you cannot control it. No one can, and whoever claims to know exactly what is going on is fooling themselves and whoever listens to them. I was very young at the time, but from my research, this can be equated to the internet-dotcom boom in the 1990s, except more condensed and with more excitement. Add financial news, cable news, the internet, and social media and it cannot be contained. I often think of this analogy: “what if the Internet had social media to fuel its rise and adoption?” That is what we have today, a perfect storm of interest, an overabundance of information, and rapid changes.
What’s next for Vaultbank.io?
After the end of our token sale, we will begin to invest a majority of our funds into our Vaultbank fund and begin to generate returns. Hopefully, we will pay dividends to token holders. That is the foundation of our business, the base which will allow us to expand into other ventures. Our exchange will be our big release, and one I am most excited about. We will be one of the first decentralized exchanges to be built in KYC, AML and FATCA, and give customers the ability to trade security tokens. Our ultimate goal is for our exchange to be the go-to place for the tokenization of securities. In doing so, lowering cost and expanding access while improving security.
Austin, instinct versus expertise: Which is more important and why?
Instinct, because it is a natural byproduct of expertise. Everyone has a library of experience and knowledge. The more you know and learn, the more you’re able to make decisions and act on instinct, because the information is already programmed in you. Without expertise instinct is useless, and expertise alone won’t help you make the right decision when necessary. We are wired to do what is right. You just need to be prepared.
How do you find inspiration?
When I go sailing, I like to take some time to myself, look at the ocean and relax my mind. Usually, my best thoughts and inspiration come when I am least expecting it. Sometimes you need to let yourself shut out the noise to hear the message that’s already in your head.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Managing numerous projects with numerous teams. Each person is different and each project is unique; so, juggling different groups and ideas sometimes gets tedious. It is easy to get overwhelmed or focused on the minutiae and let yourself get inundated. Sometimes letting go and letting your teams do their work can be the most difficult as well as managing different needs and personalities.
What have you learned about yourself while running your businesses?
I can be difficult at times. I am tough on myself, so I often find myself being tough on those who work with me. I would never expect anything from them that I do not expect from myself. However, sometimes I find myself being too intense and overbearing. It is meant out of encouragement and whoever knows me and works with me knows that I mean it positively.
What have you sacrificed for success?
I have given up a lot of personal time and freedom. A lot of my relationships to people who are close to me often get sidelined for deadlines and ideas. Their support is tremendous and thanks to them I am able to dedicate so much of my time and energy to the ventures I am working on. I have also sacrificed comfort and stability, I could have easily taken a corporate job and risen in the ranks, but I would not have been content without the drive and the passion that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Austin, were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?
I have been blessed to work with some of the top finance executives and industry leaders in the Bay Area. However, I draw a lot of inspiration from my family first and foremost. They really challenge me to be the best person I can be. If I had to name certain people I admire and I look to for guidance, it would be Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and many others.
What is a day in your life like?
More like multiple days in the life. I dedicate myself fully to my projects and to my work and relationships, so I am always on the go and always doing something. No two days are ever the same, and I love that uncertainty and constant challenge. Something always needs to get done, a new issue needs to be solved, a new solution needs to be implemented.
What makes you smile?
The ocean and being on a boat. There is a certain freedom that only exists on the water and it is my preferred go-to place. That always makes me smile, and of course, succeeding and closing a major deal!
What scares you?
Not being in the know. Not knowing something scares me and bothers me, because it shows me a part of myself that needs to be improved. That is why I am always seeking out new information, seeing how traditional industries can be improved by utilizing a broad and multidisciplinary skill set.
What is your greatest achievement?
I have had many achievements. From leading a team at Prosper to consulting with major banks and financial institutions to working with some of the top industry leaders. I am very proud of the hedge fund I helped create, Random Forest Capital, and for the future of Vaultbank. However, my greatest achievement is yet to come.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Winston Churchill, his life was full of many struggles, defeats, and disappointments, yet somehow he managed to learn from those experiences, reinvent himself, and achieve success in the most challenging of times.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” The quote shows that success can always be achieved, and the most important thing is to constantly learn, adapt, and persevere.
Do you have any hobbies?
Sailing, reading, writing code, spending time with my family and my girlfriend, and working on new and exciting projects.
What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business?
Dedicate yourself completely to it. No one will work harder than you will, so set an example, do your best and work your hardest. Seek out smart mentors and don’t be too proud to take advice and ask for help when you need it.
For more information on Austin Trombley and Vaultbank, please visit www.vaultbank.io.