Meet the Polymath Team Part 4: Our Co-Founder, Chris Housser

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The newly-live Polymesh blockchain wouldn’t be possible without a team effort on behalf of everyone including the founding members who first conceived of it and the developers and engineers who built it. In our Meet the Team series, we speak to a few team members to introduce the Polymath community to the people behind the project. 

The penultimate post in our Meet the Team series re-introduces the Polymath community to our Co-Founder, Chris Housser. Read on to hear Chris’ take on how Polymath and its vision have changed from when it was founded in 2017, and how his role has evolved with it. He also gives us a glimpse of what he hopes to see next for the industry, and why he thinks regulators might eventually require securities to be tokenized.

How has Polymath changed from its original vision to where it is now, four years later? 

What was a wild idea back in 2017 is now materializing as banks, institutions, and governments are starting to see the benefits of securities on the blockchain. I think we've really helped to push that narrative forward, and while we're still early in terms of what we're trying to do, we're definitely getting there.

Chris: When we began in 2017, it was a wild time in crypto. The industry was incredibly early– and it’s still early even now. Our primary focus back then was how to help bring securities to the blockchain. We were certainly early at that stage, but what’s changed a lot over the past four years is that we’re beginning to see more institutional adoption. What was a wild idea back in 2017 is now materializing as banks, institutions, and governments are starting to see the benefits of securities on the blockchain. I think we’ve really helped to push that narrative forward, and while we’re still early in terms of what we’re trying to do, we’re definitely getting there. 

Four years ago, there were not too many blockchains in existence. The main two were Bitcoin and Ethereum, which was just beginning to gain its footing. Early projects were built on top of Ethereum since it was really the only place you could go to build smart contracts at the time. Since then, a whole number of other layer-1 blockchains have been built, including Polymesh.

We built Polymesh because we saw the need for a security token solution built from the ground up as its own blockchain. Ethereum simply doesn’t have some things at its base level that security tokens require. Rather than build something to sit on top of Ethereum, we decided to build a new blockchain with all the features we think are necessary, partly based on what various institutions told us would be good to have on a blockchain that deals with things that are heavily regulated. 

How has your role in the company changed alongside Polymath’s changes? 

Chris: As Co-Founder, I’ve done a bit of everything at Polymath over the last four years. As a lawyer, when I started I was fulfilling a lot of the legal functions, but my heart and passion is really on the blockchain side of things and helping the ecosystem grow. I eventually started focusing more on the business development side and, earlier this year when there was a need for it, stepped in as CEO.

Being CEO for eight months was a huge learning experience for me. There are so many minute things that a CEO needs to be involved with, including a large amount of administrative work. As someone who prefers to do things myself rather than delegate, it was tough to balance all the needs of the company. There is surprisingly quite a lot of administrative work involved in ensuring a company of 50 people is happy, energetic, and excited!

I’m excited now to pass on the role of CEO to Vincent Kadar, especially as he has a lot of experience helping startups. Now that the Polymesh blockchain is out and live, Vince is really going to help bring customer demand and bring users to our business. As for myself, I’m happy now to just roll up my sleeves and help out wherever my skill-set is needed. 

Now that Polymesh is launched, what do you hope to see for security tokens? 

Chris: It’s been about two and half years since we started building out our own layer-1 blockchain. Now that it’s finally launched, it feels like a huge weight is lifted off our shoulders, and everyone on the team is quite happy. 

If the average user could borrow by collateralizing their assets on blockchain and avoiding a taxable event, it would start to level the playing field. A major benefit of blockchain technology is that it opens up possibilities to the middle and lower classes that aren’t available to them in traditional finance.

Going forward, we want to see usage and adoption. We’re in the very early days of the Polymesh blockchain, and we’ll need to prove the reliability and security of the chain. After it’s been running for a few months and recognized as secure, I would love to see companies creating tokens on Polymesh and using its diverse codebase. That’s our next goal-getting users to start using the chain and creating new features that bring tangible benefits so that they can see why they’d choose tokenization over the traditional route.

If people are able to collateralize tokenized securities, it can bring a host of new options and financial products to the world, and that’s really exciting. On Ethereum we see a lot of smart contract lending protocols like Compound and Aave where users can borrow or lend Bitcoin, Ether, and stablecoins. I foresee a future where users can collateralize securities in order to borrow money. We see reports of ultra-high-net-worth individuals not paying tax because they don’t receive income. Instead, they own securities which they put up for collateral in order to borrow money. If the average user could borrow by collateralizing their assets on the blockchain and avoiding a taxable event, it would start to level the playing field. A major benefit of blockchain technology is that it opens up possibilities to the middle and lower classes that aren’t available to them in traditional finance. 

Why do you think regulators might eventually require securities to be tokenized?

If they’re trying to look into insider trading or fraudulent activity, seeing share activity on the blockchain might bring to light potential issues they couldn’t see as easily with more traditional processes, while providing them with real-time data into traditionally opaque, private markets.

Chris: The beauty of blockchain is that it is a transparent ledger that shows a perfect record of ownership at all times. You can look at any specific time for any asset and see which addresses own how much of something. Ultimately, this creates a perfect shareholder list that can make dividend payments and corporate governance much easier. There have been instances where companies have problems executing dividend payments because they can’t keep track of who owns what and more shares are sold than the company thinks to exist, ultimately resulting in shareholder and company loss and causing significant legal challenges. With blockchain, though, a company can say “anyone who owns this share, at this time on this day, will receive a dividend” and execute it programmatically, resulting in easier and quicker execution. 

Blockchains can also be used to facilitate the tracking of funds and the movement of shares, which should be appealing to regulators. Given a regulator’s ability to see the movement of shares, it can also significantly help them perform their job. If they’re trying to look into insider trading or fraudulent activity, seeing share activity on the blockchain might bring to light potential issues they couldn’t see as easily with more traditional processes, while providing them with real-time data into traditionally opaque, private markets.

Lastly, is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers? 

Chris: I’m just so thankful for our whole team over the past four years and everyone who has been with us to help build this project out, including the wider Polymath community who believe in our project and support what we’re trying to accomplish. Polymesh was a novel idea when we began, but we’re now at the point where there’s a layer-1 securities-focused blockchain that institutions can begin using. While the job is certainly not done, we’re now one step closer to realizing the dream that securities will end up being tokenized. I’m really thankful for everyone who has worked with us at various points in time– probably over one hundred people in total– and everyone else who shares the vision that a tokenized world offers more benefits and equality. 

Want more inside knowledge into what it was like building Polymesh? Check out the tech & development tag on our blog. 

Chris Housser

Co-Founder of Polymath

Prior to Polymath, Chris was a lawyer in downtown Toronto for 4 years. He became fascinated with the blockchain space in 2013, at approximately the same time as he started his legal career. Chris advised and assisted many blockchain projects over the years and left the practice of law in early 2017. Polymath is a natural fit to merge his blockchain and legal knowledge.

Before law, Chris was an infantry soldier in the Canadian Forces including 6 months at forward operating bases in Afghanistan in 2007. 

Polymath is a blockchain technology provider. Polymath is not a broker-dealer, funding portal, trading platform or otherwise engaged in the business of trading in securities or providing advisory services regarding the issuance, buying or selling of securities. Polymath is not making any recommendation or giving any advice with respect to any company or proposal discussed in this communication.

 

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