William J. Barhydt ’90: Cryptocurrency Innovator
What does it mean to innovate in the 21st century? Stevens alumnus William J. Barhydt ’90, who has pioneered technological innovations from infrastructure to support the internet to cryptocurrency apps, knows.
In 2012, Barhydt gave the first-ever TED Talk on the virtual currency bitcoin. As founder and CEO of Abra, which enables users worldwide to transfer funds, invest in different classes of assets, and hold cryptocurrencies through a Bitcoin-based app, he has innovated in the space for years.
Abra offers a smartphone app that is democratizing access to financial services in more than 100 countries, allowing users to send money globally, invest in different types of assets such as stocks, ETFs and forex, and hold cryptocurrencies, all in one place. His ultimate vision is for an open, global financial system easily accessible to everyone.
Barhydt is a self-described serial entrepreneur whose decades-long career includes varied experiences in finance, homeland security and internet technology. After beginning his career with the CIA in its Office of Scientific and Weapons Research, then moving on to NASA’s Ames Research Center. Barhydt worked in fixed-income trading at Goldman Sachs. Then, as one of the early team members of Netscape, he was involved in building some of the core infrastructure that helped grow the consumer internet as we know it.
Barhydt has presented at more than 100 conferences and agencies including the World Economic Forum, the U.S. State Department and the Mobile World Congress.
Prior to Abra, he co-founded Boom Financial, where he still serves as chairman. He serves as an advisor and mentor to Boost VC, a bitcoin-focused incubator fund, and won the Technology Pioneer Award from the World Economic Forum in 2000 for his work at WebSentric, the first online meeting service requiring no software installation. He has advised federal and international regulators on the impact of digital currencies and decentralized transaction systems.