Elsa Qiu – Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019

This article features an interview with Elsa Qiu, Director/Assistant President of Blue Helix, one of our Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019.

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This interview is part of a series of interviews featuring female Fintech leaders globally. LATTICE80, in partnership with Miss Kaya, recently published our Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019 list.The effort reflects our efforts in women empowerment and support in a field where women continue to be underrepresented. Check out the full list for 2018 here as well. 

Miss Kaya is a lifestyle driven financial platform for the modern woman that aims to empower them to carve their own financial freedom through technologically-empowered financial tools. The mission is to provide the modern women globally with the support, resources, and community they need to live the lifestyle that they want.

Disclaimer: The interviews are published on a rolling basis and the order by which they are published by no means representative of any rankings.

This article features an interview with Elsa Qiu, Director/Assistant President of Blue Helix, one of our Top 100 Women in Fintech 2019.

1.Tell us more about what you do and how did you move into Fintech?

After graduating from Nanyang Technological University of Singapore with a Degree in Electrical Electronic Engineering, I started my career in OCBC Bank and mainly focused on investment consultation and asset management for onshore/offshore high-net-worth individuals. As a banker, we will closely follow market trends and keep ourselves up to date. Starting from end of 2016 and early 2017, the news of Blockchain technology, Bitcoin, Ethereum and other assets attracted my attention, I started to study Bitcoin whitepaper which amazed me and I can foresee the disruption of blockchain technology to traditional financial sector. After being referred to by an early bitcoin adopter,  I joined Huobi Singapore as APAC Regional Business Development Manager and OTC Deputy Regional Manager, developed and acquired strategic partners in the South-East Asia and led the OTC market development to establish and grow regionally.

In November 2018, I joined Blue Helix as Director/Assistant President and mainly focused on Business Expansion and strategic partnerships in the Asia Pacific market. Blue Helix is founded by James Ju, the former CTO of Huobi from 2014 to 2017. Blue Helix is an innovative crypto assets financial services provider and our in-house developed Bluehelix decentralized blockchain-based assets custody and clearing system is dedicated to providing world-class professional financial trading and assets management services to worldwide users. Bluehelix uses Cryptography and Blockchain technology to support decentralized association governance capabilities at technical level, realizes trusted and efficient custody liquidation of token assets in blockchain, and solves the core problems faced by centralized trading platform. This innovative asset clearing and custody technology has brought a disruptive innovation to the crypto asset market, enabling users’ assets to be better protected than bank-level security.

Blue Helix also has our self-managed Blue Helix Exchange (BHEX) and Open SaaS Platforms for institutional partners (BHOP). The bottom layer is supported by Bluehelix decentralized asset custody and clearing technology which provide users with currency transactions and fiat currency transactions. The main goal is to achieve secure, open and transparent services through the Bluehelix escrow chain jointly established by global clearing members by addressing the problem of centralized untrust in the circulation and storage of cryptocurrency assets. At the same time, BHEX Exchange has the high performance of millions of concurrent transactions and provides virtual broker functions and BHOP open platform for business partners and end users.

2. What does being a woman in fintech mean to you?

Once again thanks LATTICE80 and Miss Kaya to enlist me in the Top 100 Women in Fintech. It’s my honor to be with so many fantastic lady leaders from JP Morgan, Bloomberg, PwC, UBS, Barclays, ZhenFund, Bakkt and so on.

The blockchain industry is still at early stage where is still focus on building fundamental infrastructures as what Blue Helix is dedicated on. In the traditional financial industry, custodian is fundamental but it’s still lacking in the Blockchain industry. As a woman from the traditional financial sector, I will do my best to voice and broadcast the importance of custodianship. I admire and salute all early contributors regardless gender. It is a disruptive industry and there will be Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman.

3. What challenges do you think women face in Fintech?

At current fundamental infrastructure building stage of blockchain industry, we have to admit and admire that majority talents of developing, architect design, technology are male-dominated. The challenge or let’s say opportunities for women in the industry is to find out the most efficient way to deliver the value of blockchain technology to major adopters in layman term.

The personal challenge I am facing sometimes is the technical terms in Cryptography and Blockchain technology, which was a similar challenge when I started to study Matlab and LabView in my university days. On the other hand, I feel blessed that I have excellent mentors when I transited from the traditional banking industry to the Blockchain field. Also, in Blue Helix, everyone has equal opportunity and all of us are willing to make our best effort.

4. What advice would you give to other women starting out and growing their careers in Fintech?

Welcome onboard ladies. The same idea I’ve shared in my Blockcast interview,  it’s an incredible opportunity to be one of the revolutionists. But before you make the move, you have to be aware that this is an industry with high requirements for comprehensive capabilities where it contains the new ideas of miner, public chain, exchange, projects, wallet, media, contents and so on. You need to carefully choose your entry field where you can perfectly link your existing strength in your current industry to this fast paced new revolution. You will need to be ready to learn the fundamental of Bitcoin and Ethereum, the DAO management, and you will find out the perfect match among the upper steam, middle stream and downstream.

Furthermore, you have to be ready to adapt to a really fast working pace and polish your knowledge and skills always.

Embrace the changes and accept uncertainty!

5. What are 3 keywords to describe Fintech for 2019?

Decentralized Custody:In the current financial system, custodian is the fundamental infrastructure but it is still lacking trust and transparency. The Decentralized custodian solution which built on blockchain technology is the way to solve it, same as our Bluehelix chain.

dApp Adoption: The rise of use case adoption will be the main call in 2019. For example,  Facebook in payment, JP Morgan for clearing.

Exploring by traditional giants: More and more traditional giants will step in blockchain industry with existing use case and customer base to explore further.