Macrina Kgil became Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Blockchain.com in November 2018. Since then, she has seen the company through several phases of growth and innovation, including series-C funding and reaching a $1 trillion milestone. Kgil has a valuable background in public company finance functions and creating profitable, IPO-ready companies. As Blockchain.com expands to serve tens of millions of clients across the globe, Kgil’s extensive background and leadership skills make her a perfect fit for the job. Macrina Kgil has proven her success leading Blockchain’s finance and risk functions since the day she came on board.
Prior to joining the Blockchain.com team, Macrina Kgil was CFO of Spingleaf Holdings. The company now goes by the name OneMain Holdings. While employed with this firm, Kgil took advantage of her experience as CFO of a public company to increase and improve the finance team.
Under her leadership, the finance team of OneMain Holdings created new processes that offered support to more than 100 entities managed by GPB Holdings. Kgil managed a fund of $1.5 billion dollars while transforming GPB Holdings into the business it is today.
Macrina Kgil has held financial leadership positions with PwC in Seoul, South Korea, and New York City. Her position with PwC Seoul was the first one she accepted after graduating with an engineering degree from Seoul National University.
Kgil advised private companies desiring to take their companies public at both locations of PwC. Her clients at PwC Seoul focused on obtaining IPO guidance specific to taking their companies public in the United States. Once she arrived in New York City, Macrina Kgil provided clients with expert services in complex accounting matters, business carve-outs, public debt and IPOs, and capital market transactions.
Macrina Kgil is enthusiastic about Blockchain.com’s innovation, future growth, and helping clients build a better financial future.
Where did the idea for Blockchain.com come from?
A decade ago, the idea for Blockchain.com was born from a goal of making bitcoin more accessible and transparent. The founding team wanted to make it easier to see what was happening on the open blockchain network when transactions were confirmed, the addresses being used, and more.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day begins the evening before, with a calendar check to ensure I’m prepared for the following day. I then check my priorities first thing each morning, and always build in time to read daily news articles – both world news as well as crypto industry news. It’s important to me to remain curious about the world we live in.
Midday, I always take time for lunch, even scheduling it on my calendar to hold myself accountable. And then weekly, I find that swimming a few times per week helps clear my head. My dinner times are spent with my family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Execution is a skill set everyone should learn. Anyone can get to 98%, but following through on that final 2% is the hard part.
I don’t overcomplicate things — I break projects down to the most simple baseline, and then build from there to bring ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
What excites me within crypto is that people are becoming more transparent about everything — news, payment transactions, security, etc. At Blockchain.com, we support that transparency and openness and are a big part of that trend.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
What makes me more productive as an executive is building physical and mental breaks into my week. For me, that manifests in the form of a dedicated daily 30-min lunch break, and weekly swims to clear my head. Especially as many of us work from home, those mental breaks help prevent overwhelm in our new reality (and also gets me out of the house)!
What advice would you give your younger self?
A former boss of mine once told me to go have lunch with my colleagues and not work so much. That piece of advice has stuck with me to this day and is advice I’d give to my younger self, too.
Everyone should take a step back, be smart about how we use our time, and spend time building relationships in the workplace.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that things often deemed “bad for us” – sweets, screen time, etc. – are actually healthy in moderation. Everything in moderation is better than nothing at all; it’s just very hard to find that balance.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I highly recommend adopting the habit of thoughtful hindsight – meaning, it’s always smart to revisit decisions made in the past to learn from them and course-correct where needed for the future. Especially in the ever-changing startup world, this is a helpful learning exercise that I’ve adopted and has helped me make better decisions.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
At Blockchain.com, we’re incredibly intentional about putting customers first, which means putting product over profit. Everything we do as a company begins with the goal of being helpful to our users. From our non-custodial wallet to our Explorer, we’ve focused on the user experience first and foremost. This customer-first mentality has served our business well, evidenced by our longevity in the crypto space.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In my career, I’ve learned that everyone makes mistakes. One particular challenge I overcame was going from managing a few people to a few hundred in my first CFO role for a previous company that ultimately went public. Coordinating everyone and everything was a challenge, and one that I didn’t feel prepared for at the time. Lucky for me, my team was incredibly patient and helped me get through it. We worked together as a team through hardships, which only strengthened our team unit.
Specific strategies that helped me overcome that challenge were twofold, 1) hiring an executive coach, and 2) really listening to my team and implementing their (often blunt but helpful) feedback.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A business idea that I’d love to see come to life is a crypto accounting tool that works alongside existing tools. Nothing like that currently exists and would be hugely profitable.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on Ethereum. Its use case and simplicity for other protocols to work together is tremendous. Not to mention, the price of Eth is up more than 700% in the last year alone, which you can view on our Explorer.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I don’t use any tech tools for productivity. Instead, I’m blessed with a great memory and innate organization skills – which I’m very grateful for!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recommend reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, which emphasizes the fact that you don’t need to be a natural genius to succeed. Instead, success requires hard work, but anyone can become an expert at anything.
What is your favorite quote?
In both my personal and professional life, my favorite quote is, “No news is good news.” It requires patience to wait for the good news, but no news means there are (hopefully) no emergencies.
- Taking time for mental and physical breaks is so important in our new reality of work. Find an activity that pulls you away from your computer and allows you to clear your head.
- At any product business like ours, putting customers first is always the best strategy.
- Transparency within crypto is one of its most exciting and profound qualities – and one that we fully support at Blockchain.com.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.