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BlockFi Live | Risk Management Overview featuring Rene van Kesteren, BlockFi’s Chief Risk Officer

Published 16 January, 2020

    Our CEO and Founder Zac Prince recently sat down with BlockFi’s Chief Risk Officer Rene van Kesteren to talk about how BlockFi approaches providing world class service in the most secure way possible.

    Key takeaways:

    • Before joining BlockFi, Rene was a Managing Director at Bank of America for 13 years and managed a team of 15 people between New York and London.
    • Rene’s focus was on equities structured financing. He was in charge of figuring out how to finance the “harder to finance stuff from a risk perspective.”
    • Rene is Dutch and has been living in America for about 20 years.
    • Before working at Bank of America he worked in proprietary trading.
    • Rene has an education in computer science/applied math as well as an MBA.
    • During his 13 years at Bank of America he had no losses. (This includes during 2008-2009 financial crisis.)
    • A difference between crypto and equities is that crypto trades 24/7.
    • Rene joined BlockFi first as an advisor providing insight into the margin methodology of our products. He joined full-time as our Chief Risk Officer in May 2018.
    • Our institutional clients are mainly market makers and proprietary trading firms. To get an idea of who these institutional clients are you can look at our equity investors.
    • These clients use the bitcoin they are borrowing to execute trading strategies and hedge their positions, amongst other opportunities.
    • When you send crypto to BlockFi you are sending it to a custodian. BlockFi never directly holds private keys, we work with regulated and reputable custodians like Gemini.
    • Our team is made up of people very similar to Rene, they are experts at what they do and have years of experience.
    • BlockFi created and uses an automated margin call system as a safety mechanism when distributing loans. The system operates based on clients’ loan-to-value ratio (LTV).
    • Instead of lending to just one institution, we lend to multiple counter-parties to minimize our risks.
    • BlockFi keeps a sizable amount of collateral to the side so that clients are able to easily withdraw funds.
    • The collateral we lend out can be called back if needed.
    • BlockFi has had no issues with margin calls on either side of our business (retail and institutional).
    • Rene is personally a crypto enthusiast. “There is a protocol. It works great for the internet. So I believe that can work for money and other things as well. I’m very bullish.”

     

    If you have any questions, our support team is always happy to help. Call us at +1 (646) 779-9688 or email us at support@blockfi.com.

    – The BlockFi Team

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    All BIA balances are deposited into an account with one of our licensed institutional custodians.
    Rates for BlockFi products are subject to change. Digital currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and BIA accounts are not subject to FDIC or SIPC protections. For more information, please see BlockFi’s Terms of Service.
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    Disclaimer: Rates for BlockFi products are subject to change. Digital currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and BIA accounts are riot subject to FDIC or SIPC protections. Security is our top priority. Please see our Vulnerability Disclosure Form and Bug Bounty Program.
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    Disclaimer: Rates for BlockFi products are subject to change. Digital currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and BIA accounts are not subject to FDIC or SIPC protections. Security is our top priority. Please see our Vulnerability Disclosure Form and Bug Bounty Program.
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