Eight Questions: Protocols Edition

Anchorage Digital
Anchorage Digital


Leslie Ankney

Each month in our Eight Questions series, we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team. This month, we’re highlighting members of our village that work directly with protocols. We’ll speak to them about the custom solutions they create for crypto-native companies, the challenges they face working across a wide spectrum of blockchains, and the real-world problems crypto is solving.

We’ll stick with the traditional eight total questions because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into.

Introducing Carlyle Scott

Carlyle has been with Anchorage Digital since early 2022 as a Relationship Manager. Previously, she worked with enterprise clients at Bloomberg. Carlyle lives in Austin, Texas, and in her free time she likes to spend time outdoors working on DIY projects.

  1. What got you interested in working with protocols?

Learning about different protocols and their work is actually what originally drew me to crypto, and then to Anchorage Digital. The puzzle of understanding the way each project functions, and where our company can fit into their development, is exciting. Coming from my previous role as an enterprise relationship manager working with hedge funds in a demanding, fast-paced environment, I felt that my experience would translate well to working with protocols.

2. Tell me about one of your most interesting collaborations?

Being able to work with Aptos, a brand new layer-1, as they geared up for mainnet was a really exciting process. I had the opportunity to work cross-functionally with different teams, bringing in Anchorage Digital members to help meet specific deadlines.

What excites me about the role is that no one protocol is the same, and Anchorage Digital is here to help support protocols at every step of their pre-launch journey. We don’t only work with mature protocols, but can also provide a consultative approach and best practice support to early-stage teams. Understanding the project from the beginning means we can start work much earlier than mainnet launch, and provide comprehensive support through launch and beyond.

Introducing Ricardo Pinheiro

Ricardo is a Senior Software Engineer at Anchorage Digital, specializing in blockchain. He holds a B.A. in Computer Science. Based in Porto, Portugal, Ricardo has practiced karate for nearly 15 years and holds a black belt.

3. How does your discipline and responsibility to new students in karate play into your role as a member of our engineering team?

Being the longest tenured student in my karate dojo puts me in the position of being a role model to the other members — a mindset that applies directly to my work with Anchorage Digital. As one of the first members to join the protocols team, we were learning as we went, and as the team grew, the knowledge we gained had to be shared in the most effective way possible.

Our work can be complex because it encompasses both the specific blockchain and Anchorage Digital. Each blockchain has different parameters and considerations, so translating what works for one protocol to another is not always a straightforward process. As a senior member of the team, I apply my karate experience and discipline to the way I express myself, share learnings, and lead projects.

4. You’ve been heavily involved in leading the efforts at Anchorage Digital to build support for Aptos. What have been some of the most interesting aspects of your work here?

As a brand-new layer-1 blockchain, our work on Aptos presented some really interesting challenges. Essentially, our team was able to provide feedback and suggestions, with Aptos choosing to implement some of our ideas into the project in early stages. When a new protocol comes out, it has to provide advantages, different ways it operates, to create a unique value proposition — and our team’s experience working across such a wide variety of projects allowed us to efficiently build support for the Aptos blockchain at Anchorage Digital.

Introducing Henrique Marques

Henrique is a member of the protocols team based in Coimbra, Portugal. Henrique’s work focused on supporting custody and new features for Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains. Outside of work, he teaches at Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Coimbra in a software engineering program on operating systems and enjoys late night workouts at the gym and evening dinners with friends and family.

5. What makes a good partnership between engineering and a blockchain at launch?

The sooner this relationship starts, the better. An early relationship and understanding of a protocol’s goals helps us identify pain points early on so we can implement support as efficiently as possible. With Aptos, for example, we held weekly calls with our engineering team. One big win out of this early collaboration was that we started reviewing their smart contracts and agreed on combining the process of creating wallets and adding funds into one action within the Anchorage Digital platform, instead of separating these tasks, which saved time setting up new wallets for our clients.

6. What have you learned about working at Anchorage Digital that surprised you? What’s your job like?

Before joining Anchorage Digital, I thought I’d need an extreme amount of blockchain knowledge. I was worried about the ramp up I’d need to be able to do my work, and fortunately, there was strong training provided as soon as I started. I didn’t need to know it all, and in fact, it’s not even possible to know everything when it comes to such a new industry.

Today I can’t see myself not working in blockchain, or at Anchorage Digital. In prior jobs, we knew the roadmap for what we had to build, it had been done before. Contrast to working in crypto: we feel like we’re always catching up, and we’re engaged. And since we’re often building all-new processes, we’re also learning and collaborating with other teams like legal, compliance, and marketing.

Possibly the most surprising thing about joining Anchorage Digital is that I was recruited to interview before I felt ready! I’d started studying blockchain in my spare time during the pandemic, and was thinking about getting a job in this sector, but didn’t feel like an expert on blockchain yet. Being contacted to work at a company like Anchorage Digital felt like destiny. After joining, I thought I might always work on the same protocol, but I get to work on many. It allows me to really understand how blockchains work, the differences between them, and why they have those differences.

Introducing Gonçalo Pereira

Gonçalo, a Senior Software Engineer at Anchorage Digital, has been with the company since August 2021. He is based in Coimbra, Portugal, and outside of his own work, Gonçalo enjoys teaching coding to children and young adults.

7. In one word, how would you describe working on the protocols engineering team? How has our protocols team changed as it has grown over your time here?

The keyword for our team is having the ability to “adapt”. We work in an emerging field and need to be versatile to deliver new and innovative blockchain-related features to institutions.

We’ve evolved structure quite a bit, forming sub-teams within the larger team. Each sub-team is meant to pool our knowledge about specific assets and features. For example, our fourth and newest “family” builds cross-functional concepts and technology that supports the other three teams. This shortens our implementation speed and empowers people to take ownership over their area of expertise and focus on delivering value.

8. What advice would you give to an engineer looking to grow their ability to drive for quality in processes, monitoring, and testing?

I’d say maintaining a balance between gaining knowledge to improve your skill set, and thinking creatively, is the most important way for engineers to develop their abilities. While engineers should know how people have solved previous problems, it’s also important to have intellectual curiosity and question the existing process to uncover new ways of doing things.The best engineers place equal emphasis on existing knowledge and continuing to learn.

Disclaimer: Holdings of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are speculative and involve a substantial degree of risk, including the risk of complete loss. There can be no assurance that any cryptocurrency, token, coin, or other crypto asset will be viable, liquid, or solvent. Nothing in this communication is intended to imply that any asset held in custody by Anchorage Digital is low-risk or risk-free. Digital assets held in custody are not guaranteed by Anchorage Digital Bank National Association and are not FDIC-insured.