Breakout session with David Shafrir

By Glen Ferris

A serial entrepreneur with a history of bringing disruptive technology to market, David Shafrir is the co-founder and president of GDA Capital, an advisory firm specialising in helping blockchain companies to scale globally, with a particular focus on cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the Metaverse.

Where are you right now?
I am based in Toronto. Currently I’m in our offices in downtown Toronto.

Where would you rather be right now?
I'd rather be on my sailboat somewhere in the Caribbean.

Tell us about GDA Capital
Established in 2019, GDA Capital have created a wide assortment of interconnections between institutional high net-worth individuals and family offices to the digital asset class. So, everything from providing advisory and consultative work with different projects to providing investors with information and access to digital assets.

What services can you offer me?
If you're looking to access the digital asset class, there are several different products that GDA Capital can assist you with. From a more traditional outreach asset purchase, GDA Capital has a partnership with Secure Digital Markets of which I am the CEO. Secure Digital markets is a traditional brokerage providing spot trading and pricing access to digital currencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum. It's a very straightforward process - like purchasing foreign currency, purchasing bitcoins is just as easy.

We can also provide introductions to exciting new projects and other more complex product types, including NFTs, and various Metaverse-oriented properties.

And finally, GDA Capital has partnered with an investment advisor in the UK and is working with the launch of a fund by the name of GDA Asset Management. That fund is specifically focused on derivatives within the Bitcoin and digital currency space. It's a multi-strategy derivatives approach to trading with very significant returns, as proven by the past few years, and something that we're very excited to bring to market in early March.

"When one is purchasing digital currencies, volatility continues to drive the market."

What would you advise to Family offices looking to get into digital assets but don’t know where to start?
It doesn't matter how limited your exposure is, everybody's familiar with digital currencies at this point. People's views might differ from person to person, but everyone’s familiar with the asset class. I would always suggest that someone's portfolio should have no less than 2-to-3% exposure to digital currencies, meaning a direct purchase from the top ten digital currencies by market cap - those, of course, are heavily weighted towards Bitcoin and ethereum.

While people see volatility in the market and it scares them, these are long term recommendations for one's portfolio. Volatile markets tend to affect a short-term investor, but the attitude that we take here at the firm – mind you, GDA Capital is not an investment advisor, so please don't take this as investment advice – is that it's important that people look at the industry as a long-term part of their objectives.

When one is purchasing digital currencies, volatility continues to drive the market so, depending on the time of the year and the time in the market, I would advise different strategies in purchasing digital assets. Which includes not just a single outright purchase but a purchase over a fixed period of time, which allows you to dollar cost average your asset acquisition and, depending on what your objectives are within your portfolio, you can make adjustments accordingly from there.

What does a good working day look like for you?
A good working day for me starts at about 7am. I jump on my Peloton; I clear the cobwebs. Then I start on conference calls at about 8.30am and make myself a nice double americano. Then I start in with my emails and syncing up with my co-founders. Then the day starts with an assortment of conference calls, both with potential clients from the brokerage - I serve as executive chairman and president at GDA Capital, so I work a lot with our regulatory strategist and attorneys, as well as various investors in the firm on what the next steps are within the company. Then, in the afternoon, I tend to have a catch up with my team to make sure that everyone feels supported and focused on the tasks at hand within their various departments. In the evening, have a nice gin martini with my fiancé… shaken, not stirred! Then it's off to off to read and head to bed. Typically I'm in bed by about 1am, so 2am shut down. It gets tiring, but these are exciting times.

"I think it’s very important to celebrate the wins."

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think that focusing on immediate tasks is where I used to spread myself very thin. I find that one can achieve a lot, but with a laser focus one can achieve more in a shorter period. It’s also very important to continue to learn about the digital architecture and landscape - everything from programming to looking at how the internet has developed and grown.

I think it’s also very important to celebrate the wins and take stock of the fact that you don't win every battle. I've learned much more from every deal that I've lost than every deal that I've won.

What keeps you awake at night?
Because this company is something that I take a lot of pride and passion in and working in an ever-changing industry with growth constantly painted on the doorstep, what keeps me up at night is not working fast enough to achieve the growth that the firm has the potential for. Being able to meet the demands of our clients in an ever-changing landscape is something that I take a lot of pride in, so I want to make sure that we're constantly evolving. Those are the kinds of things that we focus on as leaders in the industry.

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