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Blockdaemon's Demetrios Skalkotos Sees Strength and Growth In Enterprise Blockchain Market
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In January we were fortunate to welcome Demetrios Skalkotos as our new Global SVP of Sales. Demetrios is a New York-based senior executive specializing in enterprise technology solutions, operations leadership, and new product development.He comes to us from his former role as the Global Head of Vault for Ledger, an international leader in securing cryptographic assets and blockchain applications. We took some time to sit down with Demetrios to chat about his background in technology and finance, his predictions for the blockchain industry in 2021, and what he hopes to bring to his role at Blockdaemon.
Q: You have an extensive background in business development and senior leadership in the blockchain industry and beyond, can you tell us about yourself?
As a senior executive and business leader in the technology and financial services space, I have considerable experience in leading high-performance sales operations and delivering successful strategic initiatives in rapid growth environments. Prior to joining Blockdaemon, I was Global Head of Vault for Ledger, where I managed strategy and operations of the custody platform to enterprises and institutions across the globe. A global innovator in securing cryptographic assets and blockchain applications, Ledger serves individuals and enterprises across 165 countries.I also have over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, where I have worked in senior management positions for global entities such as Nasdaq, the second-largest stock exchange in the world with a market cap of more than $9 trillion. At Nasdaq, I led the Global Corporate Solutions division, with oversight of: strategic business development, M&A, go-to-market strategies, and new products. Previously, Demetrios was a Vice President at the Intercontinental Exchange, a network of 23 regulated exchanges and marketplaces, where he managed operations for Solutions and Content Acquisition globally.
Q: Given your background, what do you hope to bring to your role at Blockdaemon?
Given my experience in maximizing company growth in the technology sector, I hope to scale up Business Development and Technical Account Management operations at Blockdaemon, as well as unlock potential for growth in new markets. Demand for secure and scalable blockchain infrastructure is rapidly accelerating, with the adoption of staking protocols that Blockdaemon supports such as Ethereum 2.0, Algorand, Stellar, Celo, Tezos, and Polkadot reaching new highs. The second-generation launch of longstanding crypto heavyweight Ethereum 2.0 and DeFi entering a pivotal year of growth, offers potential for further seismic growth in the sector, with demands for straightforward node management platforms such as those offered by Blockdaemon likely to follow suit.
Q: In your opinion, what differentiates Blockdaemon from other blockchain infrastructure providers?
Managing node infrastructure can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. Blockdaemon’s expertise as the largest independent node infrastructure provider simplifies the process of deploying nodes, mitigates risk, and allows developers to spend time on what matters: innovating and building next-generation networks. With easy-to-use integrations and interoperability at the core of our philosophy, we provide custodians, exchanges, financial institutions, and enterprises with the best-fit node configurations that allow them to rapidly scale up operations. Blockdaemon supports 30+ protocols both in the cloud, or on bare metal, in addition to providing a suite of APIs to access on-chain data to provide the optimal node management solution that best fits the needs of both enterprise and developers.
Q: What plans do you have for Blockdaemon in 2021? Are there any particular protocols that you are excited to work with?
2021 will be a tremendously exciting year for the blockchain industry. Blockdaemon’s easy-to-use node management platform can help ease the transition to the blockchain sector for new market players. Growth in protocols such as Polkadot, Terra, Solana, Stellar, The Graph, and upcoming protocols like Diem will drive significant interest and advancement for the overall ecosystem at large. The journey towards Ethereum 2.0 continues, with Blockdaemon offering comprehensive staking services for users looking to prepare for the network’s transition to Proof-of-Stake. There are also a number of compelling protocol mainnet launches on the horizon, which we are excited to announce our support for in the coming months.
Q: The crypto industry had a massive year of enterprise and institutional adoption in 2020. In your view, what were the most significant moments during the year for the sector?
The institutional adoption of cryptocurrencies was one of the dominant trends of the market in 2020. More institutions and liquidity providers are entering the space, and tend to opt for fundamentally different investment strategies than retail investors. These entities are likely to buy and hold crypto assets, and unlike retail investors will not be spooked by market corrections. This entry of institutional players has strengthened the crypto economy, and has created a feedback loop that brings further players into the ecosystem by legitimizing the space. I expect this cycle to continue in 2021, with retail also likely to follow suit via new global on-ramps such as that provided by PayPal.
Q: Are there any trends or predictions that you see for the sector in 2021?
One particular area of interest for 2021 will be whether the DeFi space can follow the lead of the crypto market and attract greater institutional investment. While DeFi is still in its nascent phase, there are growing signs that it is already beginning to enter a phase of maturation, with an initial hype phase cooling off. Institutional adoption of cryptocurrency has proven to be a significant driver for adoption by retail users. If DeFi can mature and manage to attract similar mainstream investment, there are likely to be huge opportunities for early adopters of the technology in the coming year.