Liam Kovatch has been an enormous talent and influence at Blockchain at Columbia. As Vice President, he helped build the organization into a powerhouse in the New York City community and on Columbia University’s campus. After raising a seed round led by Polychain Capital, Liam has taken a leave of absence from school and [email protected] to build Paradigm, a relay protocol for hybrid decentralized settlement logic, moving to San Francisco with his talented team. I sat with Liam to get his perspective on Paradigm’s technology, founding a blockchain startup, the state of crypto, and Blockchain at Columbia’s role in the DLT ecosystem.
Liam, tell us a little about yourself and how you entered the world of distributed ledger technology?
Hi! I’m Liam Kovatch, the founder and CEO of Paradigm. I was first introduced to DLT as a sophomore in high school through my interest in mining Bitcoin as a way to make some quick money. This was early 2014, pre-Ethereum and when DLT was almost exclusively focused on digital currency. After my parents forced me to shutter my mining operation (the electricity bill became outrageous), I largely forgot about blockchain until a friend of mine, Alex, introduced me to Ethereum in early 2015. The idea of a decentralized world computer fascinated me and I started down the rabbit hole.
In high school, I was lucky enough to attend Arizona State University for some upper division math classes where I became interested in number theory and cryptography. As a result, I became fascinated with emerging blockchain technology, as it is essentially applied cryptography. In many cases, I found the low-level theory that underpins DLT to be more fascinating than use cases. As I became more and more interested in blockchain technology, my main interest became research. Naturally, at Paradigm, one of my primary roles is leading our research efforts...