Meet the Team: Alexander Leishman


1. What made you decide to pursue a career in Bitcoin?

When I was an undergraduate student, I became fascinated with the idea of non-governmental currencies. My dream was to someday build an institution that provided financial services using a sound alternative to government issued fiat currency. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to bring this dream to life. Would I issue my own currency backed by a basket of commodities? What would the business model be?

Shortly after graduating I discovered Bitcoin. After reading the whitepaper and spending a few weeks wrapping my head around it, I realized that this new decentralized currency was the answer. It was neither private, nor government-controlled and it was already attracting quite a bit of attention. That’s when I decided to leave my job and move to San Francisco to get involved in Bitcoin related work and haven’t looked back since.

2. What’s your role at River Financial?

I’m the Founder and CEO/CTO.

3. What did you do before joining River?

Before River, I was an engineer and investor at Polychain Capital where I built asset management infrastructure and focused on Bitcoin related ventures. My first job in Silicon Valley was a Software Engineer at Maicoin, which was a Bitcoin exchange focused on the Taiwan market. After that I went back to graduate school where I completed an MS at Stanford focused on Computer Security. I also TA’d the first Bitcoin class there with Dan Boneh.

4. What projects or advancements do you think are most exciting in the Bitcoin space right now?

I’m very excited about the Lightning Network, Schnorr signatures and Discreet Log Contracts.

5. Where do you see Bitcoin in 10 years?

I think Bitcoin will be recognized by most countries as a fixture of our international economic system. It will be the norm for individuals and institutions to hold some percentage of their wealth in this asset with unprecedented portability.

6. Describe Bitcoin in 5 words or less.

Digital gold.

7. What are some of your favorite hobbies or interests?

I like exercising, shooting, fishing and traveling.