Get to Know Our Head of Product: Kelvin Ting

Get to Know Our Head of Product: Kelvin Ting

October 10, 2022

Hi Kelvin, can you tell our community a bit about yourself? 

Hello! I was born in Australia but moved to Malaysia with my family as a child. I started writing code at the age of 9 and represented Malaysia in international robotics competitions. It was here that I found my first love in programming. I eventually went back to Australia for high school and university, where I did a degree in mechatronics engineering, as well as another in mathematics and computer science in parallel. I started my career on projects for the Australian Department of Defence, where I worked on military simulation software.

I eventually moved to Malaysia for a year, joined an options trading platform as a quant, tried to start a crypto exchange (almost successfully so!), and eventually was picked up by Crypto.com to move to Hong Kong where I built a very scalable deposits system from scratch in its early days, essentially automating their systems back when their deposits and withdrawals required 3 days to process. I eventually moved on to several other exchanges such as Eqonex and BitMEX where I led research teams where I published reports on Bloomberg and built custody products prior to joining Hex Trust.

What initially got you interested in the digital assets ecosystem?‍ 

I first heard about Bitcoin back in my early days as a student, but never really fully grasped the opportunity until 2016. I was fortunate enough to have a boss who was a visionary and showed a lot of active involvement and passion in the Bitcoin community, and it was from here that the proverbial fire in me started. Interestingly, it was at this point where my training in mathematics and computer science kicked in, and I was able to grasp the implications of a system which is decentralised and does not require a central party, yet maintains privacy. I then delved further into this world and the next layer of abstraction - programmable blockchains via smart contracts making it possible to settle monetary transactions without a centralised party. 

My boss asked if I was interested in helping the company build a deposits and withdrawals system for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and ERC-20 tokens and run an ICO - and there was no way that I would say no to that opportunity. Little did I know that this set the stage for me to work in crypto in the long term, and would pave the way for me to work on a variety of projects and on various exchange tokens such as CRO, EQO, and MEX. The speed, innovation, and growth of crypto far outpaces traditional finance, and they say that one year in crypto is like 10 years in the real world. It is the intellectual stimulation from this field that keeps me here, and I’m learning something new every day.

What was it about Hex Trust which made you want to join the team? 

I heard about Hex Trust in 2020 and am aware of its position as the leading digital assets custodian in Asia. To this end, I believe in the product and its positioning in the industry, as well as the leadership of the executive team. After joining, I have been more convinced that it is one which treats its greatest asset -  people, with respect and integrity.

To the non-technical people out there, it can seem confusing between the different ‘Heads’ of the technical teams. As ‘Head of Product’, what exactly does that mean you do, and how do you collaborate with other tech departments? 

As a Head of Product, I am responsible for ensuring that our product strategy is competitive, in line with the market if not better, and most importantly, keeps our customers happy. When delivering a product to the market, we always ask ourselves three questions:

  1. What are we building?
  2. How are we building it?
  3. Why are we building it?

As the Head of Product, I am primarily responsible for the “why” and the “what”, and work with the engineers to determine the “how”. The “why” is what drives customers, and is what keeps them here with us. My role is a collaborative one where we coordinate between multiple stakeholders including the client-facing teams, customer success, designers, and engineers to determine the scope of what we build, all while ensuring usability, and security. Using this, my team and I drive the vision of the product and features which will be rolled out in the times to come.

How would you describe a good ‘product’ in the crypto world?

A good product in the crypto world would ideally be one which allows the user to participate in various activities on decentralised applications and perform trades in multiple venues, all while maintaining safety and security of their funds. This is to say that an ideal product would allow flexibility for the user and the freedom of choice to trade and open up positions or interact with smart contracts that they want, as well as to combine a high amount of security and safety of your funds. 

What are you most excited about in blockchain today? 

There are so many developments in blockchain, where do I start? I see several fronts in the crypto space which are ripe for development - be it on the application front or the scalability/infrastructure front. From an application perspective, I’m interested in the further growth of the financial application of NFTs, such as NFT fractionalisation through sharding and the ability to obtain yield from them via liquidity pools, similar to how we treat fungible assets. From an infrastructure perspective, I’m excited about the Ethereum roadmap beyond The Merge which will include scalability increases through sharding, Verkle proofs, and more!

Tell us something interesting that you do outside of work and which not many people know about you!‍ 

I’m passionate about music - I play guitar, the bass, and keyboard, as well as dabble in street photography. I love languages, of which I speak 6, and can also speak English in multiple accents. I also really love badminton, although I have been quite unsuccessful at booking courts in Hong Kong... 

Finally, here are some quick-fire questions!

Morning person or night owl?

Definitely a night owl.

Favourite sports team? 

None

Dogs or cats? 

Dogs

Sweet or salted popcorn? 

Sweet caramel popcorn!

Coffee or tea? 

Coffee. A flat white is my default option which always hits the spot.

What scares you? 

Living a life without purpose or impact

Favourite film? 

Not a film but a TV series… I really like The Serpent

What would you eat for your last meal? 

Char kway teow

Bitcoin or Ethereum?

Ethereum for sure. It’s programmable, scalable, and is a growing ecosystem.

Hex Trust
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