Jack might have the perfect job for a guy who loves to talk crypto. Sure, he’s one of the hosts of the FCAT Crypto Brief podcast, but that’s only for 30 minutes a week. The rest of the time? He’s still neck deep into crypto as a researcher with Avon Ventures, which invests in startups that are innovating in the crypto space.
“We get to talk with interesting founders every week,” says Jack, who has worked over the last few years to transform his passion for digital assets into career opportunities.
A native of Massachusetts, he and his wife are newlyweds and live outside Boston.
Q: How did you originally come to work for Fidelity?
A: My dad spent his career at Fidelity, in an operations-style role. He was a Fidelity lifer, right out of the University of New Hampshire. He worked 30-plus years for the company. My dad obviously had an interest in finance, and growing up, I was always interested in data and numbers. As a kid I started following baseball statistics, and later, as Moneyball-style analytics started to seep into sports, I developed an interest in data-driven decision-making. That eventually carried over into finance.
Q: So you majored in finance in college?
A: I did, at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. I minored in economics. I’m the type of person who gets hyper-focused on whatever the thing is that I’m thinking about. So once I decided on finance, I immediately gravitated towards, “what are the smartest people in finance doing?” Then I started reading classics like The Intelligent Investor and One Up On Wall Street. These books focus on value investing — where you work to understand the fundamentals of a business, then figure out the true price of the business in comparison to its trading price. You’re trying to buy a dollar for 50 cents. From there I got into quantitative investing, and the ideas of people like Joel Greenblatt.
Q: And that led to crypto?
A: I started to learn about Bitcoin toward the end of college. That’s when the light bulb went off — here is a community trying to design a monetary system from scratch. By my senior year I was super interested in digital assets. I had interned at Fidelity during my college summers, and by the end of school I knew I wanted to work at Fidelity. I ended up being offered a rotational role in Fidelity Capital Markets, where I would do four, six-month stints with different teams. I tell people that I flunked out of the program, because I only stayed with it for nine months and I was with the same team the whole time. I liked the team I was with, but it was TradFi and I wanted to work with digital assets, and I basically wouldn’t shut up about it.
This was in 2020, during Covid. Eventually someone was like, “hey, you should really go talk with some people I know on the digital assets side.” So, I connected with them and not long after a role opened up on the research team for Fidelity Digital Assets.
Q: So, what kind of research did you do?
A: We worked a lot with traditional Fidelity clients on education and sell-side research. These were clients who were considering putting positions on Bitcoin or Ethereum. So, we answered questions like, “why would potential investors want to own it? What are the risks? What about energy consumption? Volatility?” I did that for more than two years and I really liked it, but I was interested in moving a layer deeper, or really, two or three layers deeper.
Q: Let’s switch away from work. Among your friends, are you known as a crypto expert? Do you get bombarded with texts?
A: Yes! I don’t even have to check the price of Bitcoin on my own. I get enough texts to keep me in the loop. People know me as Jack the Bitcoin Guy.
Q: When you’re not working or answering texts from your friends, how do you like to spend your time?
A: My wife literally asked me last week: “What are some goals you’d like to accomplish in the near future?” I told her that I needed to find a hobby.
Q: So it’s all crypto, all the time?
A: More like finance in general. Crypto is definitely a major piece, but finance is just fascinating to me. It’s filled with never-ending challenges. I do like to go to the gym, and my wife and I enjoy taking hikes with the dogs. Both of our extended families are nearby, so we spend a lot of time with them.
Q: You told me earlier that you married your high school sweetheart. Does she share your love of digital assets?
A: Not exactly. We wrote our own wedding vows and kept them secret from each other. When it was her turn, among all the romantic sentiment, she included a reference to my job: “And I still don’t know anything about Bitcoin, other than it is decentralized.”
Q: Did it get a laugh?
A: A big one.
Tune into the Crypto Brief every Tuesday to hear Jack and co-hosts Ryan, Jason and Parth dig beneath the surface and analyze the latest crypto news and trends. Now available on Apple, Google Podcasts and Spotify. Connect with Jack on LinkedIn.