May 19, 2021
Coinbase adds Tellor, a Frederick-based cryptocurrency startup
Frederick MD – There’s been a lot of buzz about cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) these days, and even small, mainstream investors are taking note, but one Maryland startup is playing the long game. Frederick-based Tellor started in March 2019, founded by Nicholas Fett, Brenda Loya, and Michael Zemrose. Fett’s background as a former federal regulator with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has given him a unique perspective: “The entire field is so dynamic and still relatively new. Most people are only beginning to understand its potential.”
What attracted Fett was the ability to create financial solutions that are “community based, decentralized, and have the potential to be unstoppable.”
In its ideal, cryptocurrency shakes off the yoke of intermediaries who take a cut and can introduce risk into transactions, as well as avoiding the cumbersome processing associated with traditional, centralized banking systems. In addition to these advancements achieved by Bitcoin, blockchain ecosystems like Ethereum have gone a step further - allowing developers to code software on top of blockchain technology. In essence, this allows the creation of self-executing or “smart” contracts, free from outside manipulation.
Fett readily admits to being an idealist. “Because I come from the regulatory side, I see the potential positives and negatives. So, we want to set the bar high with Tellor.” He joined the Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc.’s (FITCI) ranks soon after branching out on his own, taking full advantage of the incubator’s founder-focused programs and mentorship opportunities to build a solid foundation.
The company’s dedication to quality and accessibility captured early attention from Ethereum, an industry-leading platform. Its support enabled Fett and a growing team of developers to refine essential software, inspiring the creation of Tellor. Known as an oracle, this secure network collects data and feeds it seamlessly into the blockchain, tethering trades to information that is crypto-economically secure (the concept of making evil actions cost more for the attacker than what the profitability is.) The network participants who provide such data earn an incentive, a virtual token, which can be saved or traded.
While Tellor’s founding team, Fett, Brenda Loya, and Michael Zemrose, still work shoulder to shoulder at FITCI, the company’s star is rising. As of May 7th, Coinbase, America’s highest profile cryptocurrency exchange, added Tellor tokens (TRB) to its exclusive list of trade options. Theirs is one of a select few to meet Coinbase’s exacting standards.
Zemrose says Tellor is listed on other exchanges, but, “This means a lot to us because it’s the biggest crypto exchange available to US traders. Not only that, the high level of scrutiny Coinbase invests before listing any token places us in an elite tier of crypto projects. We are a small, values-oriented team. So, we appreciate this as recognition that we are doing something right.”
Kathy Callahan Brady is a Tellor fan. As FITCI’s CEO, she’s worked with the company since its inception. She says, “This is a real David and Goliath story. Now that Tellor is growing and garnering attention on a national and international scale, you see the value of that early vision and commitment to doing things right. They are uncompromising in those things and I am really proud of them.”
Coinbase, notable as a “trusted and easy-to-use platform for accessing the broader crypto economy,” brings options to the masses. For new investors, Zemrose suggests a slow and steady approach, with more caution than investing in conventional NASDAQ stocks. “Start with a little bit every month while you learn about the technology behind it. Be skeptical, be curious, ask questions.”
To connect with Tellor, find them online at Tellor.io or via FITCI.org/members. Or catch Fett later this month as a featured speaker with Founder City’s online forum, as Maryland business leaders explore cryptocurrency and decentralized finance as a tool for emerging companies.
Tellor is a decentralized data provider built on Ethereum. We help power smart contract applications in a completely decentralized and censorship-resistant fashion.
Advised, Guided & Governed by CEOs, FITCI meets business founders right where the need is, with supportive, yet critical, advice and connections. The Advisory Board is comprised of the best and brightest, most proven CEOs who are actively engaged in supporting the local entrepreneurial community, ensuring businesses flourish in Frederick. FITCI specializes in strategic business support of early-stage entrepreneurs, especially in the fields of science and technology.