People of OST: Amulya Chirala, financial product manager

Amulya Chirala is OST’s financial product manager. In the past, she worked with high-net-worth individual portfolios and custodial data feeds. She is a trained quantitative analyst — a “quant” in the field’s colorful jargon — and she is excited about the way blockchain is making complex financial products accessible to a broader market.

Tell us about yourself!

I’m originally from Hyderabad, India. I grew up in different cities around the country. I studied mechanical engineering at Osmania University and moved to the U.S. to further my education. I attended the Georgia Institute of Technology for my master’s in quantitative and computational finance, which really is just a mix of lots of math within the context of finance. Before OST, I worked in fintech and asset management at a startup in the San Francisco Bay Area for about four years. I moved to Berlin about a year ago and started my role at OST.

What piqued your interest in blockchain technology?

I heard about blockchain a while ago, as it was buzzword in the Bay Area. I found blockchain to be very interesting when I heard about large custodial banks beginning to using it. It was an aha! moment for me because these custodians hold millions of dollars for others. They struggle with trade processing, and using blockchain for this is a real-world use case that is hugely fascinating. I also worked with the custodial data feeds. The prospect of having a custodial data feed that wouldn’t get a correction three days later was a very attractive thing about blockchain.

What does your role as financial product manager at OST entail?

Most of my work here is to help end-users and partners interact with blockchain tokens in the same way that they would interact with fiat currency. We’re working on a wallet that our partners can integrate into applications, a wallet that will allow users to start interacting with blockchain, feel safe about it, and not have to write down seed phrases if they don’t want to.. I’m also working on stabilization and the token exchange. The token exchange will give end-users a way to redeem tokens from one economy to any of our other partner economies and potentially non-partner economies or cash-out partners that we sign on. Volatility in crypto is a major challenge and one of the biggest arguments against its acceptance as a currency. We’re working out how we can use portfolio theory to build baskets of assets. Once stabilized, they will be used for staking in order to reduce volatility

What have you learned from financial product management in blockchain?

I learned that blockchain and financial tech actually have more in common than you’d think. They are full of intimidatingly smart people, and everyone harbors a healthy amount of paranoia around data security and privacy. There is a small margin for error because you are dealing with people’s money, and elegant, efficient solutions are more often than not part of the minimum viable product rather than a later optimization. I also learned by reading a lot about regulation in different jurisdictions. The big difference from traditional financial products is that blockchain is a very new technology, so a lot of problems have no known solutions yet. This isn’t helped by the fact that once smart contracts are deployed, you cannot just edit them at will. All of this means that we have take a “measure twice, cut once” approach and do our best to get it right the first time.

Thank you, Amulya!

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About OST

OST blockchain infrastructure empowers new economies for mainstream businesses and emerging DApps. OST leads development of the OpenST Protocol, a framework for tokenizing businesses. In September 2018 OST introduced the OpenST Mosaic Protocol for running meta-blockchains to scale Ethereum applications to billions of users. OST KIT is a full-stack suite of developer tools, APIs, and SDKs for managing blockchain economies. OST partners reach more than 300 million end-users. OST has offices in Berlin, New York, Hong Kong, and Pune. OST is backed by leading institutional equity investors including Tencent, Greycroft, Vectr Ventures, and 500 Startups.