- Renata Szkoda, an executive with experience in both the cryptocurrency and traditional finance sector, was recently appointed CFO of The INX Digital Company, a holding firm for the INX Group, a digital asset trading exchange.
- As digital assets become more broadly established in mainstream finance, building the financial foundations that allow cryptocurrency institutions to work more compatibly with legacy financial players is a key focus for Szkoda, she said in an interview.
- INX launched the first digital security token to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January 2021. The offering raised $85 million from over 7,200 investors upon its close in May of that year, according to a recent report from CoinDesk.
Szkoda served as the director of finance at Galaxy Digital prior to joining INX last month, according to the INX release on her appointment. She also previously served as CFO of Blue Fire Capital, a digital asset trading firm, for seven years.
Galaxy Digital acquired Blue Fire in 2020. Galaxy is led by billionaire Fortress alum and former Goldman Sachs partner Michael Novogratz, an early investor in bitcoin. Szkoda also currently serves as chair of the Global Digital Asset & Cryptocurrency Association, a global self-regulatory association for digital assets which she founded.
Shy Datika, co-founder and CEO of INX, in a company statement called Szkoda an "ideal fit for INX, especially at this crucial stage in our growth as a company," citing her experience in financial regulation leading finance, clearing, treasury and operations for broker dealers and brokerage firms across multiple asset classes.
Szkoda said building a cryptocurrency company that can “answer and be compatible” with traditional financial players is a top focus for her. “It will be my job to make sure that, from a financial perspective, we have a strong foundation to be able to really execute on our mission to really provide a product and service within the regulated environment,” Szkoda said.
Technology companies often examine the issues or challenges inherent in legacy processes, and how innovative technologies such as blockchain or cryptocurrency could improve these traditional weak spots — but flipping that script could provide cryptocurrency companies with a path to move forward as the digital currency space continues to oscillate between wild highs and crushing lows, Szkoda noted.
“What I am doing is sort of the other way around," Szkoda said. "I am in the middle of innovation, and we're saying ... what are the strengths in financial institutions that we should bring on to this … exchange [or] trading venue built solely on blockchain technology?”
Szkoda said INX's offering last year serves as a blueprint for companies that may be looking to raise capital from alternative assets.
“This is exactly what we want to show as a possibility [for] a capital market to issuers [or] private companies that are looking to raise capital,” Szkoda said of the offering. “It is possible to raise capital by issuing a token in a fully regulated environment.”
Regulators are increasingly paying closer attention to cryptocurrencies. The SEC issued guidance stating companies should disclose the risk of cryptocurrencies held on behalf of customers to investors in April, recommending they also account for these digital assets as liabilities.
The Financial Accounting Standards (FASB) board also announced its plan to prioritize a project designed to improve digital asset accounting and disclosure in early May.
Legacy financial players are also making space for digital assets: Fidelity Investments became the first major retirement provider to allow bitcoin as part of clients’ 401(k) plans this past April, for example, while its subsidiary Fidelity Digital Assets LLC is currently in the midst of a hiring spree, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. The company is looking to onboard 110 new technology workers as it consolidates plans to expand its purview beyond Bitcoin.
The value of bitcoin and other high-profile cryptocurrencies such as one-time Novogratz favorite Luna has plummeted in recent months, notably, leading to sizeable crashes for investors that together total a loss of $2 trillion in value from crypto’s November 2021 high, according to a recent NBC news report.