Validator Spotlight: Interview with Hex Trust
As a part of our Validator Spotlight with Hex Trust, hashport’s Jesse Whiteside participated in a video interview hosted by The HBAR Bull. We were joined by Hex Trust’s Head of Customer Success, Giorgia Pellizzari. In case you missed it, watch the video or read the transcript below:
Brandon Hargreaves, HBAR Bull: Welcome back. I’m Brandon the HBAR Bull. I do some work for the HBAR Foundation, but for this interview, the opinions expressed are just those of my guests tonight. Today we have Jesse Whiteside back from hashport and Giorgia Pellizzari from Hex Trust here to discuss network interoperability and crypto custody. Thank you both so much for coming.
Jesse Whiteside: Thanks for having us, Brandon.
Giorgia Pellizzari: Thank you for having us.
HBAR Bull: Yeah, my pleasure! So Jesse, we’ll start with you. Can you give us a quick recap on what hashport is and what issues it solves?
Jesse: Yeah, sure. hashport’s an enterprise-grade interoperability solution, and it extends the functionality of digital assets by allowing them to be moved between distributed networks in a fast, efficient, secure manner.
HBAR Bull: I gotcha. I gotcha. So, Giorgia, moving on to you. Can you explain what Hex Trust does? , what’s your business model?
Giorgia: Sure. So Hex Trust is an institutional-grade digital asset custodian, actually, the leading one in Asia. Of course, custody is only just the very core because we definitely bet on an infrastructure-first approach, but on top of that, we offer DeFi, brokerage, and financing solutions to a broad range of clients — primarily institutionals, funds, family offices, high net worth individuals (HNWIs), as well as digital asset issuers themselves, like blockchain foundations, for example.
HBAR Bull: I gotcha, and you’re also a validator node for hashport, what made you become interested to become a validator for hashport?
Giorgia: That’s a great question. Yes, of course! We’re a validator in hashport, and, I think, in line with our vision that we’re all in it together, believing in the same future for digital assets, we think it’s important to be part of larger ecosystems, where what we do is actually put to work for others, especially the whole concept of multichain and interoperability, it’s very important to us. We’re chain-agnostic in our infrastructure approach. So for us, it was kind of like a natural move to become part of the hashport ecosystem, contribute by not only being a validator, but also through governance. So we do our part in supporting, in our opinion, a much bigger picture, a vision of the digital assets’ future.
HBAR Bull: Okay, understood. So, currently, Jesse, who are your main users for hashport?
Jesse: Yes, that’s a great question, Brandon. Right now, the main users are both retail and developers. We’ve seen, so far, quite a bit of interest in retail users moving their individual tokens between networks, as well as several dApps showing interest in potentially migrating their main basis of operations between networks, and as a result moving some of their non-circulating supply in order to satisfy different promotions or projects that they’re running, such as having staking rewards for their project.
HBAR Bull: So that’s right now, who do you have your eyes on? Who’s your target customer in the future?
Jesse: So, maybe backing up just a bit. I think that hashport presents a great opportunity for the rest of the DLT ecosystem to be introduced to Hedera the network. One of the things that I have noticed, in the short amount of time is the interest, when developers learn of the ability to now have smart contracts on Hedera, and, also pairing that with the inherent performance benefits for Hedera. I think, over time, users or developers are really going to migrate over to the network and be, I think, pleasantly surprised with what they’re going to find in terms of the overall performance of the network. At the same time, being able to expand into another network and find new resources in terms of performance is, I think, incredibly important for the long term viability of dApps. They need to be able to move around and pick from where they can find the best performance in… whatever that might be, right? It’s not necessarily that any one network solves all the problems. I think it’s going to be a world where we have many different networks doing many different things, but we’re just excited that now users are also going to be able to, and developers are going to be able to use Hedera, along with all of these other great networks.
HBAR Bull: Yeah. So I mean, with Hedera, of course, we have a highly performant network, a very efficient network. But you also serve Polygon, and of course, that gives us access to the Ethereum network, and they have tons of users and tons of developers. So it’s great to have that bridge between the two. I’m sure you’re looking at all kinds of enterprises as well. Hedera’s really focused on enterprises, especially with the Hedera Governing Council, but you’ve attracted some really impressive validators. Do you want to just run through who you have as validators, in addition to Hex Trust?
Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you mentioned one of them just there. The Polygon network is also a validator for us… they’re amazing.They’ve been so collaborative with us from the very beginning on the long term vision for the entire space. I really enjoy being a part of hashport because it’s been a far more collaborative process than in the years past. And I think we’re all better served going forward when we all realise that this space is so nascent, and there’s the ability to work together on interesting new use cases and functionalities is really awesome. But yeah, we have Polygon network, the HBAR Foundation, an incredible supporter, pretty much the reason that hashport is here in the first place, so gotta give them huge shout out.
Calaxy, the new social media, decentralised social media platform that’s been created by Spencer Dinwiddie, Dallas Mavericks fame, shoutout to Spencer. (Great game last night!).
So moving on, we have BCW group, which is a multifaceted strategy and consulting firm out of Asia, touches pretty much every part of the industry, incredibly exciting company. Hex Trust, obviously, with Giorgia here, a leading digital asset custodian in Asia. Wonderful working with them as well. We also have Worldpay from FIS, one of our governing council members on Hedera. They’ve been wonderful so far to work with as well. They handle and facilitate most of the world’s traditional transactions, financial transactions behind the scenes, which is one of the main things that I’ve had for, we’re really looking to over time, build out robust functionality to allow potential for use cases that that leverage, more traditional B2B use cases as well. That’s something that we’re looking looking to get into, in a big way moving forward.
We also have StableNode, which is a sister company of MakerDAO and the DAI stablecoin. Animoca Brands, one of the, if not the biggest, decentralised gaming companies in the entire space. It’s been great working with them. And to round things that we have LimeChain, which is the main technical architect for hashport. And we really work with them on an ongoing basis to bring the vision of hashport to life.
HBAR Bull: It’s an impressive list for sure. So, Giorgia, are you just serving as a validator? Or do you have plans to use hashport?
Giorgia: Yeah, absolutely. Well, besides being a validator, we follow really closely as a governance member as well. So we regularly meet up with the rest of the validators and really discuss and bring our perspective to the whole group, I think we can, we are interfacing different types of clients. So I think it’s important that we can kind of offer different windows on the market, hoping that our perspective can actually help developing the hashport ecosystem further. But absolutely, we follow closely on the developments. We’re very excited each time we meet, and finding angles where custody, which, let’s face it, it’s going to be more and more important, even though the role of custody, of course, has changed a lot from the one back in the day. (Custody) was very unsexy, if you allow me the term, right? Are you just kind of holding assets, just sitting there. And now, we see demand for web 3.0 connectivity from your old cold wallet. You want to connect exactly like with a bridge, you want to connect to the metaverse, you want to connect to an NFT marketplace. So this has changed and it’s changing so fast that we believe it’s very important to be part of hashport and bringing that experience, as well as kind of collaboratively helping to build this ecosystem so that we can actually offer more to our clients as well.
HBAR Bull: Sure, absolutely. So, Jesse, I have another quick question the cryptocurrency assets that you can transfer, which ones can you transfer between networks? And which ones are transferred the most?
Jesse: Yeah, great question. There’s quite a few so far that we have. HBAR, obviously, being one of them. You can have both representative versions of HBAR on Polygon and Ethereum now, and there’s actually some on Polygon and Ethereum. Iin the opposite direction, you can have wrapped Ethereum, as well as wrapped MATIC come across to Hedera. Right now, DeFi is just coming online on Hedera, so there hasn’t been much of a need to move those assets across, but I think as things start to ramp up, that will pick up in a big way. We also have DOVU’s DOV token is being migrated across from Ethereum into Hedera. We just recently added Calaxy to the list and Calaxy’s HTS token can now go to both Polygon and Ethereum. In terms of the most activity we’ve seen so far, it’s overwhelmingly been DOVU with their DOV token. I think, as of today, there is at least over 130 million tokens that have come across out of a billion supply from Ethereum to Hedera,. They’ve got a great staking program that they’re they’re running, I believe that they’re really having a lot of success with, which is great. I think it’s a precursor for a lot of what is going to happen in the future in terms of legacy dApps and dApps that got a start on Ethereum that expected certain performance metrics that just haven’t been there yet. I know that The Merge is coming and hopefully that will alleviate some problems. But I also think that developers, dApps, and use cases are going to take a strong look at networks like Polygon and Hedera going forward just because of their inherent performance benefits over a network like Ethereum. Tokens that are coming, we’ve got another announcement, I think, before the end of this week, maybe early next week for another token that we’re going to be adding, into the future. A couple quarters from now, we’ll have a whole host of the most popular tokens that you would typically want to bring across to new networks. So I’m really excited for that and I can’t wait to share more.
HBAR Bull: Yeah, I’m excited about DOV. They’re doing a fantastic job, the environmental ecosystem that’s growing around Hedera is pretty impressive. And certainly we want to see ETH 2.0 come to fruition, but they’re still not going to be nearly as performant and carbon negative as Hedera is. So it’s going to make a lot of sense to take those tokens over to Hedera and do those swaps there. And you can’t have an environmental use case like DOVU and not have that carbon negative or carbon neutral footprint, so I’m looking forward to it.
The other thing that I wanted to touch on. Giorgia, I know we’re here for hashport, but this is a Hedera-focused podcast, what services do you offer for HBAR holders?
Giorgia: That’s a great question. So actually, let me just take one step back, that is also something to do with our approach with foundations in general. Once we integrate a network, a platform, we really come close to the people that develop it, so we really have an approach of closeness, togetherness. Working closely together with the blockchain foundation itself to really understand what can we offer to our clients, how can we get the most out of that network, and exactly the same happened with it there. Obviously, the custody… that’s a given. Some brokerage services, equally, so we can offer that as well. Any financial product that can be of interest for Hedera and for an HBAR holder, we can offer that too! An interesting use case that I feel like sharing, that actually came out in the press… Around the end of last year, we were actually the custodian for a tokenised bond issuance, an unregulated one that was actually based on an HTS token. So we’re very, very excited to do that, together with one of the Hedera Council Members, so we’re very stoked about that experience. Security tokens, there you go, another use case. I’m definitely very excited about the smart contract and the staking. So absolutely planning once the staking is ready and out to offer to our clients. They’re already asking, so everybody knows, and we’re really looking forward to that.
HBAR Bull: So that security token that you mentioned, is that with TOKO and DLA Piper?
Giorgia: That’s correct!
HBAR Bull: We’ve interviewed them before they’re doing a fantastic job bringing these products to market. So can you give us an idea of what the minimums are to use Hex Trust and fees and things like that?
Giorgia: So, yeah, that’s a good question. At the same time, because all of our clients, there’s a B2B approach, so we do kind of offer tailor-made solutions for each client, since the set of services can be quite different. So I would rather not discuss fees purely because they might be inaccurate. It would really depend on a case-by-case basis. But definitely, we’re not a retail business. We’re talking about professional investors or above type of clients.
HBAR Bull: Understand, I gotcha. So, Jesse, what’s the long-term goal for hashport? And what are the big picture things that it will enable?
Jesse: Yeah, interoperability is… it means so many different things to different parties, depending on who you ask and what you’re looking to do. In the short term, obviously, we want to get all of the users’ favourite assets up and running, so that they can move them seamlessly. We just had our NFT functionality come online, whereby whitelisted NFTs can now be moved seamlessly between the networks as well. That’s something that, moving forward with decentralised gaming, there’s billions of gaming users out there that slowly become onboarded into the space. I think gaming NFT’s are going to be a big thing, and I think interoperability between platforms may ultimately be a very large components of what we do. We just also had a governing council meeting where the members voted on a whole host of new functionality that we have in development. A lot to do with enhancing convenience for retail users, but also enhancing the ability for institutional and enterprise-grade use cases to come online for the platforms to use a robust set of tools to create new and interesting business architecture for themselves. So we’re really excited about working through that with them. If anyone out there is listening that has a use case that they’d like to try with an interoperability solution, if you’d love to hear from me, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can reach out to us at our Twitter handle through the messages.
HBAR Bull: I gotcha. So another thing that we’re all looking forward to is DeFi on Hedera. So, we talked to some of the DeFi platforms that are planning on building… We have HBARSuite (HSuite Network), we have Saucerswap, and the pairs that they want to put together are native tokens, right? They’re gonna have USDC, they’re gonna have HBAR, they’re gonna have their own native tokens, $SAUCE and the HBARSuite token. Have you been in any talks with them about getting some of these other assets over like Ethereum and Bitcoin? And some of the ones that you see on normal centralised exchanges?
Jesse: We’re in talks with most of them, if not all of them right now. And yeah, that’s one of the other things I want to touch on. With the creation of the API and SDK components, a lot of what hashport does can bleed into the background now for a lot of these dApps and platforms whereby they can leverage the hashport services natively through their own through their own dApp and offer that to users. We’re really excited about working with all ecosystem partners, to be able to offer them that additional functionality.
HBAR Bull: Alright, so before we go into our final thoughts here, I wanted to offer Giorgia an opportunity to let us know. If people are interested in your services in your custody, how can they get a hold of Hex Trust?
Giorgia: Absolutely, thank you for that. Really appreciate it. Visit our website, you can find a contact form over there and only the necessary email addresses so that would be hextrust.com. Very, very simple. You can reach out to us via social media as well, we have an amazing team over there that will definitely welcome any message and inquiry. The email actually would be email@example.com,, so feel free also to reach out to our team over there. Looking forward to hearing from anybody interested in custody.
HBAR Bull: All right, very good. Jesse, do you have any final thoughts?
Jesse: Yeah. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world right now. People are concerned, obviously, one of the silver linings being in the space and sort of having a view behind the curtain, is seeing that every day, from a development standpoint, what is going on, and interesting new things that are being created and leveraged. Things like that, Hedera adding the MetaMask RPC components and… there’s always exciting things from a whole host of spaces within DLT. I just think that these times that we’re going through right now are times where people have their heads down, and they’re building. And I know this personally from what we’re doing right now, and I’ve never been more excited. So I can’t wait to show all the things we’ve been working on in the coming weeks and months. I think we’re gonna all be better for it in every way shape and form when it comes to the space and its development.
HBAR Bull: Yeah, there’s all kinds of great building going on, and I’m really excited about it. Giorgia, is there anything else you’d like to pass on before we let you go?
Giorgia: Actually, I think Jesse’s words are really, really meaningful and important, and they apply to us as well. I think, a time in the market where things are, let’s just call them quiet, right? It’s really the time to build, it’s the time to prepare for what’s to come. We are here in it for the long term, right, we believe in a long-term vision, and that’s the beauty of being part of hashport and collaborating with organisations such as HBAR Foundation and Hedera. Because we’re all aligned, we were looking at a sustainable, environmentally-friendly ecosystem where we can reinvent the financial system. Another financial system that probably will coexist next to the traditional one, but that will really make financial services democratic and more inclusive for everybody. So, I think that’s what gives strength in a time like this. Absolutely, this gives motivation and energy to have own heads down and build what we’re going to be needing tomorrow. So I’m very excited about that as well.
HBAR Bull: Yeah, I’m excited as well. Jesse, Giorgia, thank you so much for swinging by and giving it some time.
Jesse: Always a pleasure!
About Hex Trust:
Hex Trust is the leading fully-licensed, SOC2 compliant, and insured provider of institutional-grade digital asset custody in Asia. Led by veteran banking technologists and award-winning financial services experts, Hex Trust has built Hex Safe™, a proprietary bank-grade platform that delivers custody, DeFi, brokerage, and financing solutions for financial institutions, digital asset organizations, corporations and private clients. Hex Trust has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam and is expanding across Europe and the Middle East.
hashport is the enterprise-grade public utility that facilitates the movement of digital assets between distributed networks, extending their functionality in a quick, secure, and cost-effective way. In order to remain platform-neutral, hashport functions without the use of a proprietary token. The network is built on a robust and performant architecture, secured and operated by a group of industry-leading validator partners from around the world. hashport has passed a rigorous security audit and follows industry best practices; regularly performing comprehensive network tests to ensure the integrity of the network.
Disclaimer: The information provided on hashport’s website does not constitute investment advice, financial advice, trading advice, or any other sort of advice. You should not treat any site content as advice.