In Conversation With Alex Wang, Co-founder of Ember Fund

Anisa Batabyal
| 15 July, 2019 | 2 min

Ember Fund is developed with a focus on increased security, usability, and privacy. Their wallet technology provides state of the art security for users, making control of digital assets approachable by abstracting complex private keys to username, password, and PIN code (plus TouchID & FaceID).

Ember Fund is one of the very first to build the most interesting and powerful property of blockchain technology: decentralization and self-custody. Their vision is to “build institutional-grade fund management technology and give it to anyone with a mobile device and $100.”

Let’s have a look at the candid discussion with one of the co-founders of Ember Fund, Alex Wang:

Tell us more about you and the team. What got you guys together to start Ember Fund?

I was previously a product manager at an AI company where I actually met all of my co-founders. Before that, I built and sold an e-commerce business. We’ve all been obsessed with crypto for the past few years and found the whole thing exhilarating but just really hard to keep up with. Following the market seemed like a full-time job and we wanted an easy way to gain exposure without watching it 8 hours a day. We actually really built this product for ourselves. We’re all personally invested in every fund we offer on the platform.

Previously my co-founders were leads of their respective technical departments (Big Data, Ad Server, Dev Ops) at various venture-backed tech companies. It was a natural fit because we literally covered every main department in a technology company. Plus, we all got along really well at and outside of work. That makes every day, even after 4 years of working together, really fun.

Would it be right to say Ember Fund is the hedge fund for retail investors? Tell us more about it.

It’s useful to kind of think of it that way but we’re not a hedge fund in the traditional fashion where we’re pooling assets together and investing it on the LP (limited partner’s) behalf. Instead, we’re trying to take some of the investment technology and insight from sophisticated investors and make it available to the world. We think crypto is the best medium in which to do that. The difference is that we don’t pool assets.

Why do you think hedge funds are primarily designed for the accredited investor? 

I think this regulation needs to be updated. How much money you have in the bank is simply not the best barometer of whether or not you know how to manage your money. The government’s stance on this has always been that the main focus is investor protection but the net result is a national global crisis in terms of income inequality. Distilled to its core, only wealthy people have access to investment products that make people even more wealthy. It doesn’t really make sense. Crypto is an opportunity to transform this.

What do most people not understand about crypto hedge funds? 

They are more capitalized, have access to better information, and you are most likely going to lose to them if you trade on a short timeframe: buying high when they sell and selling low when they buy.

At the core of any hedge fund lies the portfolios. How did you come up with the portfolios available in your app? Which is the most opted portfolio by users?

All the funds are heavily curated. Our most popular fund right now is the S-Tier fund which is run by Marius Kramer, the #1 writer on Quora for cryptocurrencies. We also have a DataDash index fund that mirrors coins that Nicholas Merten (#1 Youtube Cryptocurrency Channel) owns. More to come soon including a quant fund driven completely on certain technical indicators.

Most hedge funds (even in crypto) are custodial, while yours is completely non-custodial. What challenges did you face while building a non-custodial fund? Do you think there is any aspect of your fund that would have drastically improved, had it been custodial?

It’s just a lot easier to take custody of funds because everything can be abstracted behind a layer the funds completely control. Instead, we’re doing every single transaction on-chain which means a lot more complexity especially with the technology being so new.

We wanted to go through the painstaking effort of being non-custodial because we thought it was really important to preserve the original ethos of crypto, self-custody. In our eyes, this means more security because we don’t hold any assets in a central location, more transparency because you see every single transaction on the public blockchain and also allows us to get past quite a few regulatory hurdles.

How is the traction so far?

It’s been amazing. We’re now processing millions of dollars worth of transactions every month and have executed hundreds of thousands of transactions and growing every week. 

How to get started with Ember Fund? 

Just go to:

https://www.emberfund.io/

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