3 Questions with Bill Uliveri of Cenacle Capital Management

FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to our friend Bill Uliveri, founder of Cenacle Capital Mamagment, a longtime friend of our CEO from the Chicago trading floors, and an unabashed digital currency and blockchain advocate. 

NAME: Bill Ulivieri
TITLE: Principal Owner 
COMPANY: Cenacle Capital Management, LLC
WEB ADDRESS: www.cenaclecapital.com

How did you personally become involved in fintech?

I first became involved in fintech while working as a runner for Shearson at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) grain floor in 1980. One day around lunchtime I ran down to the basement, and using a coin operated pay phone, placed a “sell to open” option order in Honeywell at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), whose trading floor was built in a Harry Potter-ish style; on the 7 1/2 floor. The CBOE was a new addition constructed above the towering ceiling of the CBOT trading pits.

Shearson, the trading pits, pay phone and traders are no longer there, but using an electronic method to execute trades is exciting. Futures contracts are generally a simple long or short decision, but derivatives require a tech personality since you’re always crunching numbers. 

Most of my career from 1981 to the early 2000’s was spent as an independent floor trader or equity firm trader quoting options for a market maker firm, using a modified Black Scholes model. My interest in computers helped me evolve into a liaison between the developers and, traders because I could sketch out GUI’s with Visual Basic and hand it off to the developer for coding. I found myself as the go-to “beta” tester for our prop trading software.

After the internet bubble burst, I co-founded a “fee only” RIA with another trader and currently manage self-directed IRA, 401(k) and small business pension plans. We use an option overlay on some accounts to reduce risk and generate income. We started using Exchange Traded Funds from day one, because of their tax efficiency and lower annual expenses.

I have always been a bit of a technology geek, and was building websites with an HTML editor in 1996 and received my ham radio license (with Morse code) in 2012.  

With the help of my nephew Cory who runs an Ethereum Classic mining pool, and my 16 year old son, we’ve been mining Ethereum and other alt-coins since September 2016. I believe Bitcoin, blockchain and the distributed ledger technology is hashing the greatest chapter in modern history; and in order for me to understand it, I need to do it.

What fintech leader do you admire the most and why?

That’s like naming your favorite song from the 70’s!  Bitcoin and the blockchain conversation are driven by a grass roots effort using local Meetup groups. Currently, I’m binge watching YouTube videos featuring bitcoin expert Andreas M. Antonopoulos and reading his book “The Internet of Money”.  Every single page of Andreas’ book blows my mind.

Having attended several “1st annual” blockchain conferences in Chicago recently, I have a lot of respect for the team at Symbiont.io, ConsenSys, Red Chalk Group and Fintech Worldwide, LTD. Having personally experienced the diaspora of market makers and floor traders at Chicago exchanges, I’m enthusiastic about the newly listed Bitcoin Real Time Index (BRTI) at the CME Group under Rumi Morales. We’re also seeing a lot of cooperation from the State of Illinois with the Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technology.

What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?

Fintech will disrupt absolutely every one of the 40 broad industry sectors. As the owner of an RIA, I‘m waiting for regulatory approval of blockchain related exchange listed funds (ETF’s)  thereby green lighting investment for your average retail client. When that happens, we’ll see an explosion in fintech growth just as we did with the Internet in the late- 1990’s.  Cenacle Capital Management is in the process of creating an “unconstrained blockchain” strategy for separately managed accounts. 

I see the insurance industry embracing “smart contracts” and the immutable blockchain to reduce fraud, provide a real-time audit trail, consolidate back office operations and decimate insurance agent commission schedules. Agent sales force teams once considered the lifeblood of an insurance company, in my opinion, are now viewed as a liability and will be replaced by a decentralized blockchain application, or “DApp”. The ratio of premium collected versus claims paid will converge since smart contracts settle claims almost instantaneously. 

The banking industry will need to recognize Bitcoin as the premier transnational, borderless, instantaneous, global payment system. It took me 3 weeks to get paid from a derivatives course I taught in London in 2013, with 4 intermediaries taking a piece of the transaction. Now it can be done in 10 minutes, and costs about a dime.

Bitcoin technology will burst the dam of innovation and efficiency propelling the market higher, and taking along with it, 4 billion people currently underserved, underinvested and unbanked on the planet. It is an exciting time to be alive!

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Bill Uliveri is founder of Cenacle Capital Management, LLC, a Chicago-area Registered Investment Advisor, and currently mines the digital currency Ethereum.