In our previous “People of OST” post we interviewed the Berlin-based OST Commercial Team, featuring Paul, Jordan and Marina. Today we’re thrilled to introduce Renee Wong, our global Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and GM of OST North America.
Renee has worked with OST founder and CEO Jason Goldberg since 2012 and she’s already had a very successful career as a CFO and business manager in high growth startups.
Renee, tell us more about your role at OST ?
As Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of North America, I am responsible for all the finance, accounting and admin functions for the company worldwide, while building out our business in North America. I lead our finance and legal team in ensuring compliance across all rules and regulations of the cryptocurrency space. And, I work closely with senior leadership in our European and Asian offices to keep us connected as we grow and develop partnerships with B2C and B2B companies and empower their token relationships with their end users.
What are your professional passions?
I love to build and my focus has been at the intersection of finance and technology as a part of teams that bring solutions to the ever changing landscape that digital has unlocked. I have had the opportunity to work at many successful start ups and OST is hands down the most inspiring and technically challenging opportunity to date. At OST we are building blockchain solutions that has potential to transform many industries.
What made you want to join OST?
I saw an opportunity to rejoin forces with a team I trust in the wildly exciting and challenging space that is blockchain and cryptocurrency. When I realized the OST vision was about empowering mainstream companies and their customers through the utility of blockchain and not about being just another coin, I could not wait to dig in and help build the team, the processes and operations, and the brand.
OST’s mission is to help partner companies increase their relevance in the daily doings of consumers, who are increasingly reliant on digital and mobile to transact in most areas of their lives.
What do you consider a big challenge for the American crypto market?
A lack of understanding of what this technology can do for companies in all categories. This is not about replacing paper money or creating a new currency. It is about helping companies increase their relevance in the daily doings of consumers who are increasingly reliant on digital and mobile to transact in most areas of their lives.
There have been calls for stricter regulations, in particular in regard to the ongoing “utility vs security tokens” debate. What are your thoughts?
At OST we are generally pro-regulation, as rules and guidelines help draw clearer boxes and definitions around what is fair, safe, and proper.
From day 1, the OST team has gone above and beyond to voluntarily hold itself to the highest industry standards, and in many cases have set the standard for how a utility token project should conduct its business.
The OST protocol enables any business to mint their own Branded Tokens (e.g. “Unsplash token”) on open scalable utility blockchains by staking OST on Ethereum. The protocol defines a technical process for OST to be staked and unstaked, and for transactions to scale on the OpenST side chains using a new innovation we are calling OST Mosaic. The OST team proved out the OpenST protocol prior to launching its ICO and launched the protocol on Ethereum mainnet before activating any tokens. These elements are just some of the (many) steps the OST team took before my arrival to set a professional standard for utility token project conduct.
The industry can expect us to continue to raise the bar as we go forward as well. We will continue to be transparent and focused on the utility value we are bringing to our partners. We will continue to strive to be thought leaders in a space that requires integrity and purpose.
What would you advise a start-up that wants to launch its own ICO?
My advice is simple.
If you are working on a deeply technical blockchain protocol where having a market-value of a token is essential to the functioning of the protocol, and you have the ability to develop the technology and launch the protocol before you hold your ICO: you may want to go for it. Just make sure you get sound legal advice, follow the required regulations and filings, and be prepared to spend $1M+ on your ICO prep, not including product development.
If you are rather hoping to utilize a blockchain token to further the growth, engagement, and monetization of your business by creating a fully functioning crypto-powered economic ecosystem: Come talk to us at OST. OST technology will help tokenize your business without the technological, legal, and regulatory headaches — no to mention the costs — vs. pursuing your own ICO. Our crack blockchain strategy consultants will also help plan and model your token economy
And, most of all, if you are just looking to ICO to raise money: caution. There are good reasons why security regulations exist and selling tokens is not a realistic path to avoid such worthy consumer protections.
What can we expect from the New York OST team in the months to come?
Growth. Both in terms of the team and the thinking. And maybe an office puppy. Our space is great! Maybe it gets even greater with a four legged strategist…..
Thank you very much, Renee!