Trevor Koverko believes in dramatic transformations.
In the world of cryptocurrency, he has been a leader in refining and promoting the utility of security tokens — paving the way for the widespread adoption of Decentralized Finance among institutions and consumers.
In areas of important global issues where people are in desperate need of assistance — places where children lack adequate food, housing, and medical care — he believes in the transformative power of philanthropy, reaching out across the continents to uplift families and communities.
And in his own life, he has seen the power of personal transformation. In 2011 a serious car accident officially ended his career as a draft pick of the National Hockey League. Years of rehabilitation and relearning followed, and with it, a new determination to change the trajectory of his life — and improve the world around him.
Recently, Trevor shared with us insights and lessons learned from his many professional and philanthropic ventures. Below is a partial reprint of our conversation:
Q: How did you make the transition from pro hockey to cryptocurrency? At first glance, it’s not an obvious leap.
Trevor Koverko: After the car accident in 2011, I was in pretty rough shape. They attempted to airlift me to the hospital at the scene of the crash and then sent me straight to the ICU for two weeks. I was diagnosed with a “catastrophic” brain injury and was paralyzed on my left side. My rehabilitation was intense, but it also gave me time to reflect and think about what the next chapter in my life may look like. The experience made me realize how precious and fragile life is and how easy it is to take it for granted.
At the time, blockchain was emerging. The bitcoin whitepaper was released the year after my accident, and modern cryptocurrency as we know it was born. The excitement of being on the ground floor of a once-in-a-generation economic event attracted me, as well as the challenge of mastering a subject that almost everyone viewed as arcane and technical.
In the middle of my rehab campaign, I re-enrolled in The Richard Ivey Business School at Western University to thrust myself back into new challenges. I studied finance and accounting, skills I would use to leverage my entrepreneurial pursuits. I then embarked on a worldwide tour, visiting key business centers, including Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and China. I was so inspired by my travels that I co-founded Polymath in 2017 when I returned. Since then, I have founded a number of startups, including Matador, Tokens.com, FirstCarbon, Layer 2 Ventures, and an early Oculus Rift-based project that became one of the world’s first VR exits.
Q: One of your most iconic innovations is, by most measures, the refinement of
security token technology. What are the benefits of security tokens?
Trevor Koverko: Security tokens are financial securities in tokenized form. They live on the blockchain instead of traditional financial rails. These tokens allow investors to trade securities on the blockchain with a much higher degree of transparency and functionality. The tokens represent ownership in real-world assets, such as stock, bonds, and real estate. In most cases, transfers are limited to verified users as opposed to pseudonymous crypto addresses.
Because they exist on a global blockchain, security tokens have the potential to provide more liquidity to financial markets. Additionally, security tokens are programmable, which can offer exciting new use cases that were not possible before, like DeFi integration and automated back office functions.
Q: You’ve also had a major impact on the lives of children in India, among other
charities you support. How did philanthropy become such a central part of your
Trevor Koverko: As someone who nearly lost everything in a car accident, I am especially aware of the value of life. Brynn Children’s Home in India is a charity that is very special to me. It is a refuge for orphans and abandoned children who have nowhere to turn.
When they reached out to me several years ago, I researched the invaluable work they are doing. The challenges facing this charity are immense. Currently, Brynn Children Home houses 18 children and provides education, food, and health care in a safe and family-like atmosphere. The home itself is rented, and one of the goals of
the charity is to build a permanent home for the kids.
My favorite moment was when I sent the kids some “swag” from Polymath, and they sent back fun pictures of dancing and having fun wearing the gear. They are proudly displayed on my office wall now!
In addition to Brynn Children Home, I am also active with Capes for Kids, which supports kids living with disability, medical complexity, illness, and injury. Each year more than 8,300 young children and teens receive treatments, therapies, and specialized programs and services from this wonderful nonprofit.
I am also an enthusiastic supporter of the YMCA, as well as several missionary outreach charities, including Ligonier Ministries, Africa Inland Mission, and The Bible Project. Faith is at the very core of who I am. I have seen lives centered on material pursuits and have come so close to losing my own life. I have felt the power of transformation and know that every day of my life is a precious gift. To the best of my ability, I try hard to give each moment meaning and purpose and help those in need who don’t have a voice.