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Why Fidelity’s Blockchain Incubator Lead Joined a Crypto Startup

Last Updated September 27, 2020 9:35 AM
Gerelyn Terzo
Last Updated September 27, 2020 9:35 AM

Blockchain enterprise software startup Bloq has hired Fidelity alum Hadley Stern for its management team. Stern, who was the architect of Fidelity Investment’s digital assets arm, joins Bloq in the newly created role of chief operating officer where he will spearhead the next chapter of growth for the startup. Stern was the driving force behind Fidelity’s budding crypto business and for the past four years led the firm’s Blockchain Incubator.

Hadley Stern on Leaving Fidelity for Bloq

“Those announcements are most certainly a capstone atop a wonderful, seventeen-year career at Fidelity. In moving to Bloq, I not only seek to not only explore blockchain technology more deeply, but also its myriad applications in industries outside of financial services,” Stern told CCN.com.

Stern couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join a company whose sole focus is “the tokenization of things for every industry,” which he described in a blog post  as “beyond tempting.” He already knew Bloq’s co-founders Jeff Garzik and Matthew Roszak thanks to previous collaborations with Fidelity.

A Fidelity spokesperson tells us, “Katie Chase is now spearheading Blockchain Incubator at Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and has been for several months.” She added that Stern had been focused on the launch of Fidelity Digital Assets. Nonetheless, the shakeup must be a blow to Fidelity, which is currently at a critical time in its blockchain debut with its new cryptocurrency trade execution and custody platform.

“As you might imagine, Fidelity has always been an attractive workplace destination and now that we’re public with Fidelity Digital Assets, we’ve seen a significant uptick in interest from talent in the crypto community,” the spokesperson said.

bloq cryptocurrency blockchain
Bloq, in addition to enterprise blockchain products, has developed a cryptocurrency, called Metronome.

Meanwhile, Stern acknowledged that Fidelity’s new crypto business “will help provide key infrastructure for onboarding the next wave of institutions into this new asset class.” His career move is also a reflection of the type of talent that the blockchain space continues to attract and a reminder of the challenges that Wall Street firms are facing in competing with the decentralized movement. Bloq’s Roszak stated in a press release:

“As the shared surface area between conventional enterprises and the world of cryptocurrency expands, there is absolutely no better partner than Hadley for this role as we pursue continued, rapid growth in our business.”

Moving Bloq Forward

In the new role, Stern said the “initial focus” will be “on growth and the delivery of innovative products and services to the Fortune 50 and the Crypto 50, in addition to the innovations that spin out of Bloq Labs.”

Meanwhile, the blockchain’s disruption of traditional finance continues to gain steam, as evidenced by executives like Bloq’s Roszak participating in this week’s Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas. Roszak is a featured speaker at the event.

Featured Image from Fidelity Labs/YouTube