Polymath Founder’s Derailed NHL Dream Led to Opportunities in Blockchain

A major collision in 2011 left Trevor Koverko (then in his 20s) with life-threatening injuries, including brain damage and immobility on his left side. The aspiring hockey player, drafted by New York Rangers, abandoned plans for NHL career and instead focused on crypto, software, investing, and game theory. Photo credit: T. Koverko

“Accept the things to which fate binds you,” wrote Marcus Aurelius 1,900 years ago.

For Polymath founder Trevor Koverko, fate almost meant dying in car accident while in his 20s. Eight years ago, Koverko’s vehicle got smashed by fully-loaded truck, a major collision that led to brain injury and disability.

Destiny — he believed at the time — involved playing for NHL’s New York Rangers, which drafted him in 2005. But with temporary paralysis on left side of his body, such hopes were dashed on that fateful day in 2011, and portended an uncertain future.

“At that point, I was forced to reinvent myself and find a new purpose,” Trevor Koverko tells Hacker Noon. “And that’s when I discovered entrepreneurship and later crypto.”

A Shift in Focus

Relentlessness can find different ways of expression; such as intellectual pursuits.

The Canada native spent time in Silicon Valley and Wall Street, learning about software, investing, and monetary policy. Economic discussion at the time involved moral hazard of financial institutions, as well as, regulators’ failure to prevent the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Cryptos are at intersection of computer science, economics, and game theory. Koverko began to embrace decentralization and programmable money — attending cypherpunk gatherings that increased awareness for a budding revolution led by anonymous entity Satoshi Nakamoto.

It was also an opportunity to acquire digital assets. During this time, he founded, participated, and invested in online businesses — and used proceeds to start a private equity fund.

(The story continues below.)

Polymath founder Trevor Koverko is considered an early participant in blockchain industry, and speaks frequently at conferences. Photo credit: T. Koverko

Operator and Investor

“I love private equity,” says Koverko. “I prefer investing in high margin, high yielding businesses. I discovered website investing and become hooked. We would purchase small tech companies for 1–3 times trailing EBITDA and sprinkled in some leverage (debt). It was a fantastic business and a lot of fun.”

The Polymath founder says his personal roadmap became clearer with emergence of Bitcoin (BTC).

“I bought my first Bitcoin in 2012 on eBay of all places,” says Koverko. “That was my gateway drug and before I knew it, I was tumbling down the crypto rabbit hole. I became plugged into the early crypto ecosystem and had the opportunity to angel-invest in some pretty amazing, foundational projects like ShapeShift via my friend Erik Voorhees (ShapeShift’s founder).”

(The story continues below.)

In December 2012, 1 Bitcoin (BTC) traded for $13 — having risen steadily in value throughout that year. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Tokenizing Physical Assets

These experiences would later inform creation of Polymath which Koverko founded in 2017. It’s securities token platform that makes it convenient for companies to tokenize real-world assets.

The firm’s ST-20 token standard helps ventures launch security token offerings (STOs). Compliant security tokens represent partial or complete ownership of real-world assets, and these digital assets are secured on blockchain. It also shows gradual shift from physical ownership (such as paper-based company shares) to digital-based ownership via compliant security tokens.

“Most of the regulations we need to operate exist already,” says Koverko. “We think many tokens are financial securities and issuers must follow the existing rules and frameworks. Luckily there are many advisors to help business navigate through the process of registering with the SEC and managing complex compliance considerations like secondary trading restrictions.”

He adds, “By being complaint, you open your business to trillions of dollars of institutional capital that only participate in investment-grade securities.”

Alibaba founder Jack Ma said last month at World Economic Forum, “There are no experts of tomorrow; only of yesterday.”

Polymath is blazing a trail that digitizes ownership of assets. It wouldn’t have existed had NHL’s Rangers signed Trevor, the hockey player.

Polymath was founded in 2017. The platform helps ventures digitize ownership of assets.

Polymath Founder’s Derailed NHL Dream Led to Opportunities in Blockchain was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.