We are a team of passionate digital professionals with over 75 years of combined entrepreneurial and tech experience who have come together around a vision for a universally beneficial financial paradigm.
We've assembled a talented, passionate team whose resumes include MySpace, Linkedin, Disney, NBC, KPMG, VMWare, Red Bull, the US Navy, and Army. We are proud of the incredible journey we've all taken to get here. We are humbled by the immense opportunity crypto has provided us to do something truly extraordinary together.
My name is David Zhu and I’m a tech entrepreneur from LA. I studied Electrical Engineering at MIT and Business at USC before dropping out to build my first startup. I founded Enplug in 2011, the largest open platform for enterprise SmartTV applications, which is used by companies like Wework and Marriott. I founded Urbanflat in 2013, a network of boutique apartment hotels in California, built off of OTAs like Booking.com and Airbnb. I’ve been investing in the crypto space since 2011 and have invested as a venture capitalist in companies like Instacart and Coinbase.
I first learned about crypto in 2011 through my poker friends that were using Bitcoin as an alternative medium to move assets around. I realized the possible implications of the distributed ledger technology and have been following the space since.
I believe that what we require most at this point in society is transparency and accountability in our systems, government and corporations. Blockchain is an anti-corruption tool that allows us to decentralize the power that these entities have on humanity and allow individuals the infrastructure to capture the value of their work and data for themselves. I believe the distributed ledger technology is the next phase of the internet era, allowing not only information but value to be exchanged by strangers online, governed by the law of code. Blockchain technology provides the ability for anyone to maintain financial sovereignty and control, regardless of what region or jurisdiction they fall under — this is a basic human right and I’m passionate in facilitating the access of this to every individual.
Arcana was incepted when I realized the value of digital assets over traditional assets, especially given digital assets are supported by a 24 hour liquid market. However while digital assets are encrypted and secured by distributed ledger technology, safe-keeping and usability in its current form are only accessible to the technology-savvy. After discussing this with our CTO, Benjamin Tse, we decided to embark on this journey to create the infrastructure necessary for true mainstream adoption and usage of digital assets.
As CEO at Arcana, I am in charge in our overall strategy, product direction, market positioning, fundraising, and compliance. Having built a number of venture backed businesses prior to blockchain, it’s my job to navigate the evolving climate of venture capital raising for Arcana with compliance in mind. It’s also my job to determine that the features and products that we build will be applicable and usable in the future of the crypto space based on fundamentals and not speculation.
I believe we are experiencing the end of the first era of blockchain and digital assets where mostly enthusiasts and collectors have been involved. These participants have embraced the opportunity to hold digital assets in self-custody and inter-person transfers without intermediary, given their enthusiasm and technical ability of digital asset safekeeping. As more digital assets emerge and use-cases become more relevant to the mainstream, I believe that the current paradigm of safekeeping digital assets will evolve from self custody towards trusted third party custody. The main reasons are the numerous points of vulnerability due to human negligence in dealing with digital assets and the value that’s unrealized in our current form of safekeeping. I do not see a future world of mass crypto adoption where everyone is handling long alpha-numeric phrases just to invest and use their digital assets. In fact, a core reason why some spectators are on the sidelines is because of their distrust in their own negligence of handling this technology. Furthermore, because digital assets are susceptible to cyberattacks, the industry standard in safekeeping these assets is by disconnecting them from any network exposure. By doing this on an individual level, the individual can not prove ownership of these assets, which excludes it from value generating opportunities like earning interest. We are excited to be part of the movement of ushering in the next era of blockchain by providing the tools for everyone to access these digital assets and all the of value that come with investing in digital assets.
I believe blockchain technology will allow most industries to reinvent their infrastructure and discard their legacy systems for additional transparency and accountability. I am a digital asset maximalist and believe that many current day assets will be linked to a digital asset, which provides superior liquidity, traceability, and access. Ten years from now, blockchain will be impactful enough where people realize that upgrades to legacy systems may not come in the form of improvements or adjustments but reinventing the underlying architecture. Distributed ledger technology is the necessary innovation that supports upgrading of the legacy systems that were designed prior to the Information Age.
I am a digital asset maximalist, betting on Arcana is betting on the future of digital assets. We are agnostic and independent of any specific blockchain, but aim to support the ones with fundamentals that we believe will be sustainable in the future. Arcana is building the infrastructure of a digital asset bank, where we provide digital asset investors a safe home to see their holdings portfolio and allow them access to all relevant functions of their assets. We also serve as a platform for financial enterprises to build their desired fintech services directly for the crypto market without each having to deal with their own security infrastructure when dealing with digital assets.
The opportunity in vesting in Arcana is capitalizing on the transition of initial early adopter exuberance to mainstream real world application. There is a shift happening in terms of how safekeeping practices of digital assets are viewed and we are poised to accelerate and capitalize on this transition. Although most technically able people today value the self controllable aspect of crypto assets, it’s important to point out the reason behind this is because otherwise there will be exposure to country party risk of trusting a third party custodian. With that in mind, we’ve architected our systems not only with utmost security in mind but also in a way where we can distribute the risk of being a third party by allowing insurers to evaluate this risk and provide optional insurance for that biggest fear.
14 years in tech and entrepreneurship. Total value of ventures valued at over $50M. Co-founder of crypto fund Blockstar Asset Management, 8 figures in digital assets under management. Advisor and entrepreneur-in-residence for Rokk3r Labs, publicly-traded VC fund. Founder of Enplug, largest enterprise smart TV platform in the world, clients include WeWork, Zara, Marriott, Porche, and Dodger Stadium Jumbotron. Founded Urbanflat, chain of boutique serviced apartments serving corporate clients such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and the NFL.
Over 12 years in digital product development and design. Started web development company in high school at the age of 15. Served over 100 enterprises including Starwood, Shanghai Film Festival, and Swire Group. Award winning product design. Previous company featured on Dragon's Den and National Geographic. Boston University.
Backend web programmer since 1999. Winner of NIFTY Hackathon’s 0x Protocol challenge. Open source contributor. Studied Economics and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. Alumnus of the Programming Blockchain program by Jimmy Song. 10 years of internet entrepreneurial experience - founder of Cocoon and UM! Brands, an e-commerce manufacturing company designing, producing and marketing products sold at major retail points around the world. Customers include Home Depot, Walmart, The Container Store and Nordstrom’s.
Private equity associate at New Alliance Capital in Shanghai, China. Market launcher at Rocket Internet-backed startup from Berlin to Chicago. Networking & Security team within VMWare in Palo Alto. KPMG auditor in Hong Kong. MBA from INSEAD, Boston University undergrad.
Over 10 years in software and mechanical engineering. US Air Force veteran with a Medal of Valor, disarmed IED's during Iraq tour. Served as robotics software engineer at iRobot and government think tank Mitre Corporation. Designed, built, and managed distributed systems for Red Bull TV. Founded LA Blockchain Meet-up: over 600 members. Built own Ethereum miners.
Worked for Department of Defense and medical imaging. Hand built home-run LTC mining rig and developed algorithms for automated crypto trading. Developed and deployed private blockchain for the supply chain industry, including proprietary inventory tracking framework. Musician with a masters degree in Computer Science. Vanderbilt undergrad.
Over 15 years in full stack development. Senior software engineer for Disney, NBC, MySpace, and Linkedin. Designed and developed Emmy and Webby award-winning website for hit show Heroes when working for NBC. US Navy veteran with 3 achievement medals including Meritous Unit Awards and Command Naval Fifth Fleet Letter of Commendation. Re-engineered proprietary CMS at Linkedin. Engineered own Slack chat bot for maximizing admin efficiency in NodeJS.
Ryan founded Experience Legal because he enjoys turning concepts into companies, applying his unique blend of legal, finance, and business strategy skills. Ryan's legal experience stretches from every kind of technology transaction to IP and M&A. He has been a trusted advisor for dozens of companies since his years practicing with the global law firms Orrick (in the Technology Companies Group) and Morrison & Foerster (in the the Capital Markets Group).
Navdeep is the Co-founder and CIO at Enplug. He is responsible for Enplug’s global network of SmartTV applications, ensuring constant software and hardware uptime via remote access for major retailers all over the world. Navdeep previously architected and implemented consumer facing web strategy for NVIDIA hardware manufacturer ZOTAC. He has been honored by Colorado Technology Association's APEX awards & the Los Angeles Business Journal's CTO of the Year awards.
15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, advisor, and strategist. Finance and Legal Coordinator for Holo.Host/Holochain which raised 30K ETH.