Winterstein joins Alphaledger to grow muni blockchain

BY SourceMedia | MUNICIPAL | 06/15/22 03:53 PM EDT By Jessica Lerner

Municipal market veteran Stephen Winterstein has been tapped to lead capital markets at Alphaledger, a growing muni blockchain firm.

Winterstein, who has 30 years of experience in a variety of leadership positions across the municipal industry, including portfolio management, credit and quantitative research, and strategy was most recently head of municipal fixed income at MarketAxess (MKTX).

Winterstein started his new role on Tuesday and reports to Alphaledger Chief Executive Officer Manish Dutta.

Winterstein will lead the origination of municipal debt on the firm?s blockchain platform.

?As we continue to expand our business and our capabilities and engage the large institutions, Steve was somebody that came across our radar," Dutta said. "With his knowledge and deep understanding of the muni market, it was the right fit. It's a great new hire for us."

Winterstein said he believes in the digitization of assets and blockchain, noting Alphaledger will play a huge part in the creation, storage and accessing of records in the municipal market.

?It's fair to say that when you look around, there aren't that many firms that are in the municipal market that are in digital assets,? he said. "Alphaledger is a leader right now, and my hope is that we maintain that position in the marketplace and grow.?

Alphaledger "provides a secure platform to create, store, and access records related to municipal loans and loan transactions," he added. "Our vision is that Alphaledger will eventually help bring that same cutting-edge technology to the municipal market at large. After meeting co-founders [Dutta] and Tammie Arnold, and learning their vision, I am convinced that Alphaledger will be the leader in the transformation of public finance."

With an emphasis on the municipal market, Alphaledger delivers a direct, transparent loan and bond marketplace that streamlines debt financing and enhances direct communication with investors, the firm said. The platform provides a modern alternative to the traditional securities issuing and trading process, thanks to asset digitization and blockchain technology's security.

Winterstein?s hiring comes as the startup looks to expand the origination in the municipal loan space and enter the new visible securities market. Other recent hires include Lisa Takeuchi as head of regulatory affairs, and James Tinker as vice president of platform development.

Dutta said Winterstein is a natural fit, given his market knowledge and connections.

?We are looking at him as somebody who's going to help guide us as to how we build technology and help drive the message to large institutions,? he said.

Alphaledger has been originating municipal loans over the past several years and recently completed the first secondary market trade of a digital municipal loan between two banks on its platform.

"Another step towards creation of Digital Asset Bonds and the democratization of municipal finance," Dutta said on a LinkedIn post. "No more paper, fax, UPS or FedEx (FDX)... ."

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

Before investing, consider the funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact Fidelity for a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this information. Read it carefully.