Ever wonder about all of the creative people working behind the scenes to make Uphold such a dynamic platform? Okay, maybe not but we still figured it was time to give our community a look into how it all works: Introducing our new Uphold “Meet the Team” Q&A blog. This week, we’re kicking things off with our Channel Director for Customer Payments, Nuno. Enjoy!
What do you do at Uphold?
My role at Uphold is to create new utilities for our customers. As you know, people can hold funds with us and right now and it’s mainly for trading and market exposure. We wanted to add new verticals; one of them being able to spend the assets you own, whether it’s to buy a laptop, pay rent or essentially anything! The most logical project to incorporate this was the Uphold debit card. The idea was already floating around well before I got involved. I joined about two and a half years ago and the project was still quite far away from being made available but we’re still the first to do it.
What made you get involved with this project?
I founded a company in 2011/12 called Scytale; we did software development for startups offering a bespoke solutions. Funnily enough, we were then approached by Uphold to acquire our business. When I joined Uphold as the VP of Engineering, I also came with some management experience. I ended up doing one year on the Engineering side of things and then took the lead on some projects, one of those projects was delivering the card solution to the US. I was responsible for delivering and then launching the card, which we successfully did in March last year. There’s a few things we’re working on in the background right now, one of them being more payment solutions and we’ll be announcing some really cool things in the near future!
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was the card. By design, networks are built and supported by traditional financial institutions and crypto can make some of those players feel uncomfortable. One obstacle is getting everyone comfortable from the schemes to the banks. Even with solutions like Apple/Google Pay, it takes additional work on our end which can be difficult. We need to get everyone comfortable with this industry but at least it means we’re pushing boundaries.
What does your day to day look like?
As an Engineer, I’m used to being hands on and in the background. I’ve always been close to the building teams and discussing technical approaches and, until very recently I would build dashboards to monitor the business. I then accepted the position as Channel Director which means I’m forcing myself to go into an administrative position. I’m more focused on building the teams who work on the projects rather than working on the project themselves, the aim is to find the best individuals for the job to get the best outcome. My job is to make sure we follow the company’s vision. It’s a bit out of my comfort zone but I’m always up for the challenge. I really enjoy working at Uphold, the higher management are always pushing to create scalable solutions for all kinds of challenges.
What is the single most valuable thing you’ve learned at Uphold?
Attention to detail. I’ve found that this has a greater impact on all areas of the business here. At Uphold, every tiny detail counts and staff go the extra mile to triple check absolutely everything. Our systems and features can be quite complex, so we have to work twice as hard. Although it can seem like a waste of time, the attention to detail makes all the difference and has a massive impact. Another one that’s not natural for me is risk taking. We’re a risk taking company, we’re open to try new things, new products, work with the most random partners to build the most random features that don’t even always see the light of day. We’re not only open but we’re incentivised to push for crazy stuff.
One example of this was when we were challenged later last year to create a tokenized version of a particular asset class. We didn’t know anything about sustainable assets and we had to come up with a tokenized solution which is now purchasable on the platform (UPCO2). Months of research helped achieve this amazing project which is now my favourite token.
What inspired you to work in crypto?
It’s an interesting space, it’s technologically advanced and as an Engineer, it’s one of the best fields to work in right now. Independent of the industry, the technological challenges are amazing! Like I said previously, Uphold approached me/my company due to our fast and skilled Engineering team because they needed engineers who can keep up with this ever changing industry.
What company values resonate with you the most?
Reliability and protection. We really do go the extra mile to protect our customer’s funds by using state of the art technology. As you’ve seen we’ve had gigantic peaks in the recent past which have slowed down our systems but at least our customers can rest assured knowing their funds are safe.
What do you think is the biggest challenge Uphold is facing right now?
The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is most certainly growth; the growth of the industry and keeping up with it. It takes a lot of time to continue and grow the team in order to keep up with everything in the crypto world; it’s easy to get left behind. We’re expanding the team rapidly so that we can support everyone but hiring is time costly.
Tell us one fun fact about yourself…
I’m pretty fascinated by energy consumption and how it could be more sustainable. With the help of some friends, I recently built a charger for my electric car. The charger’s Bi-directional, which means it takes energy from the car into the home and vice versa using a grid balancer system. I had friends working with the cars interface and I worked on the high voltage software; there were a lot of wires and dangerous situations, even a couple of fuse explosions but it was a fun experience and it works well.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the Nuno’s insight into what it’s like to work at Uphold. Keep your eyes peeled for our next ‘Meet the Team’ segment!