Meet the Team Solving Phishing in Crypto
Chapter One: The Dave & Jon Story
Coral Protocol is determined to be a part of the solution to this staggering level of fraud — by creating a trust score for every cryptocurrency address. The Anonymous Blockchain Trust Score (ABTS) is the first step, serving as the baseline system of trust on which other security layers can be built, including Blockchain Payment Protection.
In this first installment of our meet the team series, we introduce David Kuchar, CEO, and Jon Gillon, Chief Business Development Officer. We’ll introduce the 4 other founding team members in subsequent posts.
Meet Jon and Dave (two of Coral’s founders):
David is an impact entrepreneur with a broad engineering background and has been a fintech entrepreneur for over a decade.
He holds a master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clarkson University and began a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering before founding his first company, a software sales company. This first venture generated enough revenue to allow him to travel the world and live off the royalties for about a decade.
David has been ambitious from his very first entrepreneurial days, founding multiple companies, including a peer to peer payment and lending company funded by AngelPad and Google Ventures. The four years he spent working on this project left him with a deep understanding of the nuts and bolts of founding and growing a company from the ground up — as well as the intricacies of finance and global payments.
David also took a bit of a detour and spent a year doing growth for a wine startup. He spent almost every day for a year with four sommeliers and became a bit aficionado himself. He’s the go-to guy for all wine recommendations on the Coral team.
Eventually, David became a “CTO consultant” at SVSG (Silicon Valley Software Group), where he built a payment platform for lawyers called Headnote — still in operation today. He left Headnote almost a year ago and has been working in blockchain ever since.
With two ACH payment companies under his belt, Dave has become an expert in payment processes and fintech innovation. He has a deep understanding of how fraud is perpetrated in the payment process.
His decade spent in fintech made him intimately familiar with the nuts and bolts of how fraud actually happens and how it is prevented.
David has been tracking the blockchain since the beginning, bought Ethereum early, and has become heavily involved over the last year and a half.
Jon is a serial entrepreneur. As he puts it, “I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit, and frankly, I’ve been on this path since childhood when I was a major troublemaker.”
Jon’s guiding principles are to stay hungry and create value every day.
He attended Lehigh University where he studied Marketing and Entrepreneurship. He excelled in his entrepreneurship classes, starting four companies during his tenure at the university, and exiting his first company right out of college. Two out of eight companies founded by Jon have had successful exits. Jon was the Co-founder and CEO of Roost (now Spacer), which is essentially AirBnB for storage and parking. He got Roost off the ground by going door to door, asking people if they had extra garage space they’d like to rent out for storage or parking. Then he got creative and found a storage unit that was shutting down, camped outside it, and offered to pay for the moving costs if the people taking their stuff out switched to his service. They filled all their initial spaces.
Jon cut his teeth in sales as Co-founder of Dropertytax. When he was only 21 years old he spent a year traveling the country, knocking on the doors of some of the richest homeowners in America convincing them to give him power of attorney to file their property tax appeals on their behalf. In that year he had an 80% success rate closing deals from cold outreach.
He believes that door to door sales experience is the best way to excel in the world of sales. His secret to success? “I’ve got zero fear of rejection.”Jon follows the Wayne Gretzky/Michael Scott school of thought: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
His humor and resilience make him adaptable and good in a crisis. Jon’s energy and drive to execute on things he’s passionate about is pretty much unstoppable and totally contagious.
Jon first heard about crypto when he was in college, and got really involved in 2012 when he started mining Litecoin in his living room with his roommate. They couldn’t afford A/C and the Litecoin mine, so they woke up covered in sweat but happy they were learning.
Coming Together to Make Coral Protocol
A couple of years into running Roost, Jon and his team had some big technical decisions to make and they hired SVSG. David came in as a consultant to work with the Roost team on their product and hiring roadmaps. They became close friends almost immediately and began talking about finding a way to work together.
When Jon and David finally started working together their project wasn’t Coral. It all started at a blockchain for social impact hackathon put on by Consensys.
Dave had the idea of building a credit bureau on the blockchain, not unlike what Bloom has successfully grown into. Dave, Jon, and the rest of the team came together for a month long hackathon, and after grinding like crazy for 30 days they had a fully functioning prototype and a white paper. However, after an informative though failed pitch at Y Combinator they began to pivot, more deeply exploring what was at the heart of their idea, and they dove into some major customer research.
Their initial pivot focused on the idea of using mnemonics rather than hexadecimal hash for blockchain addresses, but they eventually landed on the idea that is at the root of Coral: an anonymous blockchain trust score (ABTS).
The idea of a public credit score became the foundation for an even more innovative and needed measure of trust and security. A trust score like Corals ABTS would be the first of its kind. A service that is incredibly useful and potentially ubiquitous across all blockchains.
The Coral team believes that if blockchain is going to be widely adopted it needs to be widely trusted. So they are building a system of trust that will work behind the scenes and will, ultimately, aid in the growth and mass adoption of blockchain technology.
As Jon put it, “If we can protect people, and at the same time grow the adoption of blockchain, then that will be how we see true disruption happen. You can’t disrupt anything if there’s only a tiny fraction of society using it.”
This issue of trust is one of the largest problems in crypto. As David put it, “Everyone is complaining about it but no one is actually doing anything about it. Everything we are seeing is reactionary and the problem is huge; it makes crypto look bad. I want to go long on crypto.”
Gaining mass trust is essential to true mass adoption, and Coral Protocol is working to light a fire under that movement toward mass adoption by facilitating trust in the technology and protocol itself.
Interested in staying up to date with and contributing to Coral?
Come join the reef!