Updated: Feb 15, 2021
If I told you one of the most innovative fintech (financial technology) companies in the world was in Murray, Kentucky, and employs almost 100 people, and has more than $20 billion in assets under management would you believe me? A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have either. But it’s true. Kingdom Trust became a pioneer in the fintech space when they were the first in the United States (and probably the world) to legally custody Bitcoin for their clients. This means their clients could own bitcoin in their retirement accounts alongside other assets. Their innovations didn’t stop there. They are now building a platform called Choice that will be the FIRST IN THE WORLD to handle any asset in a retirement account.
The story of Kingdom Trust is about as pure a startup story as you can possibly have. Matt Jennings and his team have built an amazing business by listening to customers and staying on the cutting edge of the technology and finance communities. With no technical background, Matt and the Kingdom Trust team have been the envy of tech billionaires and innovators around the world. “Have you ever had a guest on your podcast that doesn’t know how to use a keyboard?” How did this happen? How did a man with no tech background from Murray Kentucky build such a success story? The short answer is they kept pushing and listening to customers. The long answer can be found on our podcast episode with him below.
Here’s another question for you… Why the hell doesn’t anyone know about Kingdom Trust? It’s not out of a lack of media appearances. Matt has been featured in Wired Magazine and on several very prominent podcasts and media outlets outside the state. So what the hell has local media been doing all this time? As much as I love finance and technology, if anyone in Kentucky was going to know about Kingdom Trust, it would have been me, but I didn’t. We say it over and over again at Middle Tech and it is our driving motivation. If we want Kentucky to continue to be relevant in the years to come, we need to be celebrating innovation. Not just basketball and horses. We need to elevate culture in the Bluegrass and start seeking media that motivates us to become something more.
I watched JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix the other day… Do we want that to be what people think about when they think about Kentucky? Absolutely not. As the new Executive Director of SOAR, Colby Hall, said, we need to control how people perceive our own state by telling the stories ourselves and not letting other people do it. Prominent Bitcoin promotor and host of the wildly popular “Pomp Podcast,” Anthony Pompliano, basically laughed out loud on his podcast when he asked Matt what it was like building Kingdom Trust in Kentucky. The only way we will ever avoid the stigmas given to us is by pushing harder to change the narrative.
We’re much more than basketball, bourbon, and horses. We are innovators in the space economy. We are building some of the world’s biggest greenhouses and becoming an agtech hub of the world. We are pushing healthcare forward. We need to start celebrating that more. We’re doing our part here at Middle Tech. That’s for damn sure. Hat’s off to Andy Beshear and his team for trying as well. But where are the other media outlets? I’ll tell you where they are. They are covering murders. They are questioning why a bunch of 18-year-olds can't win a basketball game and they are covering out of touch politicians.
This is a screenshot of the Herald Leader's home page of their website. It's just sad.
There are many more Matt Jennings out there in Kentucky. I don’t mean there are other people building cutting edge fintech companies. I don’t mean there are other great, successful founders out there. I mean there are other potential founders out there that could do what Matt is doing. We need to elevate the culture in Kentucky for them. The future.