Crypto and Coffee Q&A With Gemini: Blaine Malone

Crypto and Coffee Q&A With Gemini: Blaine Malone

Welcome back to Crypto & Coffee! In this series we interview members of our incredible team, who are on a mission to empower the individual through crypto. In today’s Q&A we chatted with Blaine Malone, Senior Security Engineer at Gemini, who is working on building secure cryptographic systems to foster wider crypto adoption. Grab a cup of coffee and learn about Blaine’s career, lessons from working in crypto, and his thoughts about the future of the industry. Enjoy!

How long have you been at Gemini? I joined Gemini in March 2020 when New York closed for COVID-19. Luckily, I got the opportunity to spend one day in the office, but I’ve been remote since then!

What made you want to come work here? As an engineer, one of my interests lies in securing cryptographic material. More generally, this means building secure systems to aid cryptocurrency adoption. In my opinion, Gemini is leading the way in this area. Working with great people on these interesting problems was the driving force that led me here. We recently surpassed $25 billion in assets under management in our custody system. This is a testament to the ability of our teams within Gemini to solve the difficult problems that the industry faces. Custody is an extremely important problem to solve, and one which exposes you, as an engineer, to some of the most interesting and challenging work in the space.

What is the most exciting part of your job? Knowing that the work that you do is impactful and it is ultimately helping build what I believe to be the future of finance. History can tell us a little bit about where we are on the adoption curve of cryptocurrencies. In my opinion, we’re still very much at the early adopter stage. With this, we’re given a unique opportunity to have a hand in moulding what the future might look like. As an aside, I think that the rapid pace of innovation is exciting. Recently, we’ve seen the emergence of Decentralized Finance (DeFi). Protocols concerned with borrowing, lending and exchanging value have been a particular interest of mine. To observe these projects achieve feature parity with legacy systems will be truly amazing.

What is something you learned from working in the crypto industry? Apart from all the brightly coloured innovations in the space, I’ve learned about the history of money. Once you begin to scratch the surface of cryptocurrencies, you’ll find yourself questioning existing systems and how they work. You’ll notice how cryptocurrency could fit into today's society. In particular, how it might address market inefficiencies and become an alternative store of value. Even though the problem space is different, all the fundamental problem solving skills still apply. To anyone thinking about a career in this industry, I’d highly recommend it.

What excites you the most about the future of crypto? Including a more widespread adoption, I’m excited about identity based applications. When we see viable identity solutions integrating with decentralized applications, I think we’re in for another surge of innovation. One example of this in DeFi would be uncollateralized lending. Some protocols have already implemented a version of this through credit delegation and flash loans but I think there’s a lot of room for growth in this area. Non-fungible tokens (more commonly known as NFTs) have been gaining a lot of traction recently. I think that this is another area to keep a close eye on. Gemini is doing some great work with Nifty Gateway in this space.

What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained while you’re WFH? As I’ve only recently moved to New York, I’m still trying to explore the city. This is definitely keeping me entertained.

What book/movie would you recommend to our readers? One book that I read recently was ‘The Oxygen Advantage’ by Patrick McKeown. It talks about the science behind breathing and how simple breathing techniques can drastically improve your quality of life. Another would be ‘Say Nothing’ by Patrick Radden Keefe. It’s a book about the recent history of Northern Ireland that reads like a novel. For good measure, I should mention a cryptocurrency book. ‘Anything’ by Andreas Antonopoulos is always worthwhile. I also enjoyed reading ‘The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking’ by Saifedean Ammous. However, if you haven’t read them yet, you should definitely read the Bitcoin and Ethereum whitepapers.

What are you most proud of? Having curiosity instilled in me from a young age. This helped me follow my passions and get my dream job in New York City.

Thank you for reading. Our team is always growing! If you’re interested in joining us — check out our careers page!

Onward and Upward,

Blaine Malone, Senior Security Engineer at Gemini