After completing one of the first-ever atomic swaps between two blockchains, Kiarash Narimani, Equibit Group’s development director, breathed a deep sigh of relief. Critical functionality in the company’s network had been proven, and with the first trade on Equibit’s blockchain complete, it was time to focus on other development projects on his list: overseeing ongoing R&D, developing the new Equibit Node-to-miner software and connecting Equibit Portofolio (the company’s wallet) to its end users, amongst other things.
Now, with Equibit set to go live and on the doorstep of revolutionizing the relationship between capital markets and cryptocurrencies, the pace at which he and his team has been working shows no signs of abating.
In our ongoing series profiling the people working to deliver the world’s first decentralized securities network, we chat with Kiarash Narimani about the future of securities, SHA-3 and the growing need for funding opportunities in equity markets.
What did you do before joining Equibit Group?
When I was a PhD student at University of Waterloo, I got involved in a university-affiliated start-up that worked on satellite antennas for moving vehicles. I designed and coded the electrical and electronic control systems.
After graduating I went to go work for Microsoft in Seattle, contributing to the team responsible for security on Windows Phone operating systems. From there, I joined RIM’s device security team back in Canada, then went on to lead the digital lab at American Express for four years. By that point, I was looking for an opportunity to do something that would leverage my technical background in financial services.
When did you first take notice of blockchain and how did you get engaged with Equibit Group?
The open and secure ledger was what first thing that caught my eye about blockchains. As I saw it, the concept of a peer-to-peer network safeguarded by cryptographic protocols addressed a lot of shortcomings in current financial services. It creates a secure environment for interested parties without trust as a central component.
I was following cryptocurrency and blockchain technology closely by this point, increasingly interested in how different peer-to-peer techniques and cryptographic protocols could be put to use. Equibit Group came along and I thought the idea was pretty revolutionary. I made up my mind it was were I wanted to focus the next part of my career.
Why did Equibit Group decide to adopt SHA-3?
We are creating a new blockchain for capital markets, and we had the opportunity to pick, modify, and select all of the code ourselves.
We are creating a new blockchain for capital markets, and we had the opportunity to pick, modify, and select all of the code ourselves. Building on learnings from Bitcoin’s network, we found different adaptations of blockchain functionality, one of which was Proof Of Work (POW) that utilized a hash function. Unbound by legacy, we landed on SHA-3 as the best accredited hash function and the one most likely to be the long-term industry standard.
SHA-3 is the closest thing to a fully adopted cryptographic standard and it’s the protocol of choice for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We picked it for these reasons, but also because it fits perfectly with our security requirements.
Comment on the following: “Blockchain is the future of securities trading.”
Current securities systems are still based on the old ways of doing things. From my point of view, the industry has spent the last couple of decades focused on improving efficiency within the old systems, mostly by using computers and the Internet, speeding up traditional processes. Rarely does this yield an innovative solution that addresses something’s effectiveness, versus its efficiency. The regulatory layer on top has really helped stall innovation further, working against some techniques and technologies we’ve seen from some innovative companies.
Blockchain will bring solutions to securities that completely revolutionize how securities will be issued and traded. Equibit Group’s innovative solution will enable the industry to leap forward in this regard, much like how cellular networks brought phones to everyone.
What’s one thing Equibit must do in order for it to be a success?
Success for any company boils down to adoption. Equibit Group will be a success as more and more people find it useful. From the support we’ve seen to date, we’re confident this is a vision that will very soon become reality.