David Washburn

Former nChain CEO David Washburn tapped to lead FRNT Financial

FRNT Financial, a capital markets technology firm focused on digital assets and blockchain, has appointed David Washburn, Ph.D., as its new president. The former nChain CEO brings a wealth of experience and understanding about blockchain, Bitcoin, and its relevance to enterprise in the new technological era.

FRNT is now a listed public company on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) in Canada, catering to institutional investors and other permitted clients. It seeks to find new value and arbitrage opportunities in alternative/blockchain finance while educating investors about existing inefficiencies and the need to build professional infrastructure in the space. 

It is also a regulated derivatives provider and offers OTC trading and treasury management with fully-automated access to P2P lending markets, as well as research and consulting services.

Ayre Ventures has been an investor in FRNT Financial since 2019. The company said it was a “proud supporter” of the firm and was pleased to have backed its growth. Having Washburn as president, with his over two years’ experience at nChain, will bring vital knowledge about nanopayments and the need for proof-of-work blockchains and why they’re essential to enterprise users. 

“Ayre Ventures invested in FRNT Financial in 2019, and we’re very pleased with their progress and strong growth since then. FRNT Financial brings its digital assets expertise to institutional investors, helping them access digital assets (including BSV), whether through OTC services or synthetic exposure (derivatives),” Paul Rajchgod, Managing Director of Private Equity for Ayre Ventures, tells CoinGeek. “FRNT shares our views on digital assets regulation and operates under an Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) exemption to offer OTC derivatives on certain digital assets to permitted clients. They’re now a publicly traded company, following their successful April 2022 IPO on the TSX Venture Exchange.”

Washburn said he was “thrilled” to join FRNT Financial, as he sees it as a young company with “potential for tremendous growth for many years to come.” He also said the team had established itself as a leader in the digital asset world with a robust technology platform. His goal is to build a leading capital market and advisory firm focused on the digital economy.

“I’m impressed by the team’s innovative mindset and dedication to solid strategic growth, and see a lot of potential upside and market share to capture. Throughout my career I’ve been guided by the goal of increasing value for both investors and companies, and I look forward to expanding opportunities for FRNT that will create a positive impact operationally and financially. We have an exciting opportunity to bring industry-leading expertise in digital asset market structure to both institutional investors, and corporate executives around the world,” Washburn stated.

Before his time as nChain CEO from April 2019 to October 2021, Washburn spent 17 years working in public equities, including leadership roles at Macquarie Group and Desjardins. nChain appointed Hakan Yuksel as its new CEO after Washburn’s departure.

“FRNT is a high-growth company with a young, hungry team and we are honored for David Washburn to add his expertise and leadership,” said Stéphane Ouellette, CEO and Co-Founder of FRNT Financial.

“David has had tremendous success on the sell-side, and his deep industry knowledge and institutional tenure makes him uniquely qualified for this position. He has a superior track record for delivering results and creating value, and we are excited to utilize his strategy and guidance as we continue to build long-term value for shareholders and clients,” he added.

As part of the appointment deal, FRNT Financial granted Washburn 800,000 options to purchase common shares, vesting in 12 quarterly installments. The shares are offered at CAD$1.50 ($1.16) each from the date of each vesting.

Washburn’s appointment as President will likely herald a new era for institutional investment in the blockchain/digital asset space. Enterprise users are beginning to look more seriously at data processing using blockchain technology, and they’re also starting to understand that the type of blockchain also matters. 

Bitcoin’s 13-year track record, as well as BSV’s set-in-stone protocol rules and unbounded scaling capacity, all offer the stability and security others lack. This has become more evident in recent years as popular blockchains like BTC and Ethereum have struggled to fulfill their purposes, with network congestion and high processing fees. BSV offers a reasonable alternative to this, and appointing leaders like David Washburn will give important investors a far greater understanding of how blockchain needs to function.

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