We talked to Kory Hoang of Stably about his journey and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Kory Hoang: Thank you for asking! My family and I have been doing well during this crazy year. Fortunately, neither myself nor none of my family members have gotten sick due to COVID-19. Our best wishes go out to those who have been affected. May you recover and regain your health.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Stably.
Kory Hoang: I met my co-founder David in 2017 at an algorithmic trading meetup in Seattle. He was working for Amazon then as a Software Engineer, and I was a Private Equity Analyst at PitchBook. We discovered that we both traded very similar strategies, i.e., low-frequency trading of commodities and speculative assets that exhibited high volatility and trend-persistent price anomalies, such as gold ETFs, VIX ETNs, and cryptocurrencies. David and I quickly became good friends, and we continued trading together well into 2017 when the last crypto bubble took place. Our algorithms performed very well that year, and we were able to afford quitting our jobs at the end of 2017 to pursue our startup idea, Stably. We founded Stably because trading crypto vs. stablecoins in 2017 was pretty much dominated by Tether with no other viable alternatives. As a result, we knew that there was a market opportunity present for those who can step in and provide more trustworthy/transparent stablecoins for consumers and investors worldwide. We then wrote and released a whitepaper for Stably, raised $500K of seed funding in April 2018 from prominent VCs like 500 Startups and BEENEXT. The rest was history.
How does Stably innovate?
Kory Hoang: Since Stably’s inception back in early 2018, we have aimed to innovate in a few ways. The first being bridging the gap between traditional finance and the blockchain economy, which enables adoption, education, and improved infrastructure for financial services in the 21st century.
Secondly, Stably has had a keen eye for where the tokenization aspect of real-world assets using blockchain technology is headed. One example is the creation of a USD-backed stablecoin by many prominent institutions. Because of this foresight, Stably has put a focus on helping businesses tokenize such assets as precious metals, oil, real estate, art, etc.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping? Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Kory Hoang: The timing of our move to Vietnam to open up the new office was purely coincidental. Luckily, we closed our most recent funding round in early 2020 before COVID-19, and the global economic recession got worse. As a result, the plan was already set in stone to fly to Vietnam to set up shop in Q1 2020. We actually had to delay our trip to mid-February due to early COVID-19 concerns, but after seeing how Vietnam was relatively immune to the outbreak, I decided to pull the trigger quickly before the situation could deteriorate further. That was another lucky call, I guess, because the outbreak got way out of control in the US only a few weeks afterward, particularly in our hometown Seattle which became ground zero for the US outbreak.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Stably in the future?
Kory Hoang: Luckily, we never relied too much on our business model’s interest income, so the recent drop in interest rates won’t hurt us as much as it will hurt USDC and PAX. We actually want to share interest income with partners and affiliates to incentivize distribution, so interest income has been written off our stablecoin monetization playbook a while back. We now rely more on the market, making profits and revenue from other business channels such as our stablecoin business account (Stably Prime) and stablecoin-as-a-service solution (Stably Enterprise).
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Kory Hoang: Some of our competitors include TrueUSD (TUSD) and Circle (USDC), who have also launched their own USD-backed stablecoins. We plan to stay ahead of the game by building the bridge between real-world assets and the blockchain economy.
Your final thoughts?
Kory Hoang: There is no telling where things will lead, and when the world will pick up it’s “normal” activities again, but we can be sure that it will happen at some point in the near future.
Keeping in mind the ancient saying ”this too shall pass,” I realize that those who will rebound the best will be the companies and people that are thinking about the future and how to create it and bring it about, despite the current limitations imposed on us by governing bodies.
The future belongs to those entrepreneurs who are building it here and now, not to those who only dream, worry, and complain. Decide where you want to stand in your field and then work to make that a reality. Nothing is guaranteed, but nothing is withheld. Good luck, and thanks for taking the time to read my interview!