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Oren Nataf, AllStocks CTO, is one of the most important people in the company as the leader of essentially the entire technological side, including of course research and development. We sat down to an interview with him about his history, his work at AllStocks, and his vision.
When did your relationship with technology first begin?
Since a very young age I’ve been fascinated by technology – where does it come from, how does it work, and where does it go from here. As I’ve grown, I acquired the necessary education and became a software engineer; and I’ve been working in this field for the past 16 years. I’m still just as fascinated by technology as I was as a kid.
Where did you begin your career?
After I finished my academic studies, I started working as a government sub-contractor in the fields of cyber-security and information security. Later on I joined the private financial sector, and started working for the third largest bank in Israel; there, I was responsible for the bank’s integration with the global markets and all sorts of brokerage companies from all around the world. This experience is what actually gave me the knowledge about the technological mechanisms behind real-time trading. My team and I received a lot of recognition and awards for our work at the bank.
And where did you go from there?
After several amazing years for me, I decided to join the high-tech industry, which I was always drawn to. I started as the Head of Infrastructure in a startup company called Zoomix that merged big data with artificial intelligence – we’ve operated complex AI algorithms that could extract viable information from big data in enormous scopes. The company did a fantastic job, and we were all extremely proud of what we had achieved there.
This is when Microsoft entered the picture, right?
Yes. Apparently, Microsoft was also really impressed with Zoomix and decided to acquire us. Then, I began working at Microsoft, and implemented the technologies we had developed at Zoomix within Microsoft’s products. Even though I don’t particularly like to work for huge corporations, I really enjoyed my work there for several years.
And what happened next?
I accepted an offer to lead the research and development team of another startup company, SR Media, that developed technologies of real-time computer graphics and broadcasting. We developed technologies and formats that are currently in use in virtually any place in the television industry worldwide, especially in game shows. After a few years of truly satisfying work, I finally decided that it was the right time for me to build something on my own.
How did you begin your own entrepreneurship journey?
I co-founded a software company, AccountIT, that developed financial tools and applications that provide small business owners easy access and understanding of their finances in order to run their ventures successfully. We’ve built everything from the ground up, and today this company has thousands of active users and small businesses.
These were also the times that cryptocurrencies and Blockchain were first introduced to the world, right?
Correct. But even though I followed it almost from the beginning and was amazed by it, I didn’t feel it was fully ripe at the time. Only after the Ethereum network had appeared, I began thinking about utilizing it for our customers and about integrating it with the traditional world of finance. This is, in fact, how the initial idea of AllStocks was conceived.
Can you elaborate on this initial idea behind AllStocks?
Sure. The idea is to take a traditional financial asset such as a stock or a bond and convert it to a crypto-token whilst keeping its real tradable value; this way, we’re flexible to do what we want with it because it breaks the boundaries of the traditional financial world. Ultimately, of course, we could very easily “bring it back” and liquefy it, and thus realize its real worth.
In your view, what are the main challenges of AllStocks in the foreseeable future?
We presently focus on three circles. The first is user experience with an easy-to-use platform that contain all the familiar buy and sell functionalities; we’ve already developed a prototype for the platform, and we’re always working on improving it. The second is integration with all the major markets, and we’re proud to say that we’ve already developed the basis for the required infrastructure and protocols for that. The third is the connection to the Ethereum network and Blockchain, which is in advanced stages before alpha testing.
This is all really interesting, challenging and exciting. We constantly have new insights about the different usages of this technology, and we’re thrilled about the support of the crypto-community. In fact, we see our ICO as a device to work with the crypto-community in order for us to raise the necessary capital to fulfill our vision and to get our product out to the market as soon as possible.