Michael Shaulov: "Our Idea Was Dumb

Michael Shaulov, the founder and CEO of Fireblocks, an early blockchain startup that aims to solve a handful of industry-wide issues, describes their efforts at the start ("'people told our idea was dumb'"), discusses crypto security, limitations f[...]

Fireblocks is one of the leading blockchain infrastructure service providers in the cryptocurrency sector. The company was founded by Michael Shaulov, Pavel Berengoltz, and Idan Ofrat in 2018.

In January this year, Fireblocks raised $550 million at an enormous valuation of $8 billion. From a few people in the beginning, an idea that many thought was "stupid and dumb," the company has grown into a team of 500 employees which is working with the most notable players in the industry.

CryptoPotato was able to speak with Michael Shaulov, one of the three founders and the company's CEO.

"My friends were not very supportive of our plan. They said it was a bad idea."

The last valuation of Fireblocks puts the company's worth at $8 billion, a huge and rapid increase from its previous value. The growth was not always so fast, though, and the path has not been without its detractors.

A really funny story I have is that when we actually started, people were telling me that the idea is dumb and stupid. They said people will continue using cold storage and why do we even bother focusing on the hot storage problem or the transfer problem.

Shaulov explained that he hadn't expected the company to grow so quickly, especially in the last 18 months, which he described as "very unexpected and occasionally even unplanned." The CEO noted that they were able to create a product with an "exceptional product-market-fit for where the market was heading and is heading."

Michael Shauluv, Fireblocks CEO and Co-Founder. Source: Linkedin
Michael Shauluv, Fireblocks CEO and Co-Founder.


Despite the fact that it has been a wild ride for the entire industry, Shaulov says that in his view, “the company hasn’t changed a lot, although it did grow from 3 or 10 people as we were in the beginning to about 500 people at this point in time.”

It’s not like we were expecting this type of growth, but we are happy that we’re able to deliver something that’s valuable.

Crypto Trading: The Challenge

The last couple of months have been especially challenging for the entire cryptocurrency industry, which saw trillions of dollars wiped off the total market capitalization. From nearly $2 trillion 60 days ago, the market cap is currently at around $900 billion.

Shaulov sees the current market volatility as one of the biggest challenges facing the cryptocurrency field.

I think that the main challenge right now, and it’s probably the most timely challenge, given everything that is going on in the industry in the last couple of weeks is to really find and empower the real-world use cases.

For the most part, he thinks that the industry has been centered on trading cryptocurrencies.

As we all know, outside of Bitcoin, the value of Ethereum or Solana is the question of how this will actually be used for real-world use cases – will it be used for payments? Will it be used for tokenized assets?

He says that some of the early-stage use cases for blockchain are beginning to emerge, but "we need to see more and more of those across everything, not just in crypto trading."

The difficulty with that, and what makes it hard, is that "you have to go and transform existing industries through innovations."

Bear Markets are for Building: Fireblocks are Less Affected

Shaulov, like other executives and founders in the industry, believes that the current market slowdown is an opportunity to focus on deliverables and continue building.

According to him, their clients were affected by the downturn.

The last set of incients – both from Luna and as of recent – the entire deleveraging in the market from Celsius, Three Arrows Capital, and so on, is definitely imapcting our client base and the continuous expansion of the market.

Fireblocks continues to hire employees in the research and development (R&D) department, despite the turbulent conditions. The CEO said that the slowdown allows them to focus more resources internally on streamlining processes, making them more efficient.

Even though Celsius, Three Arrows Capital, and Voyager are all their clients, the company’s client base is very diversified, including banks and institutions where this type of market volatility doesn't impact them as much because they are focused on long-term real-world use cases.

Shaulov doesn't think that companies having to downsize are necessarily bad.

To learn more about how Fireblocks is handling the current downturn and their entrance into Web3, be sure to check out the full video above.