Welcome to True Digital Group

True Digital
Share this post

True Digital co-founder Patrick Sells on his love of–and vision for–community financial institutions.

Welcome to True Digital Group. We believe that community financial institutions are integral to America, historically, in the future, and in this moment. Therefore, our mission is singular in its focus: to provide support, leverage, and innovation to accelerate the growth and impact of financial institutions through culture, capabilities, and capital. By doing so, we believe we can impact the world for the better.

First, a little more about me.

I am, and always will be, a banker. Five years ago I entered the banking industry by becoming the first Chief Innovation Officer at Quontic Bank. All credit goes to Steve Schnall, the CEO/Founder of Quontic, for introducing me to the work of banking, where I found a magnetic pull that's propelled me forward ever since.

At Quontic we created the first ever Bitcoin Rewards Checking account that allowed customers to earn 1.5% back in bitcoin instead of points or cashback. It was and remains a revolutionary product made possible through innovation in technology and compliance, plus an amazing partnership with the brilliant professionals at NYDIG. Just that launch would have been enough to mark my time at Quontic, but in 2020 I was also honored to be recognized by American Banker as the Digital Banker of the Year and by ICBA as an emerging 40 under 40 leader.

What we had done (bitcoin+banking) was so novel that I was spending almost two hours a day on calls with other community financial institutions looking for support in similar journeys. I was also able to partner with many of the trade associations in the industry and increasingly engage in public speaking opportunities. The more people at community financial institutions I met, the more I knew I wanted to help them grow their businesses. 

So, I joined NYDIG to take what we had done at Quontic with bitcoin and bring it to the industry at large. I was ecstatic about the opportunity, not specifically because it was about bitcoin, but because I saw the role NYDIG could play in helping the banking industry.

While at NYDIG, I developed a deep understanding of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and strengthened my relationships in the banking industry. In our journey to bring bitcoin to banking, I realized that for me, it wasn’t really about bitcoin after all. It was about helping the banks and credit unions. It turns out that I’m not a bitcoiner who loves banks; I’m a banker who loves bitcoin (and innovation more generally).

So here we are. 

I want to help banks and credit unions unlock innovation, and I think the formula for doing so is culture + capabilities + capital.  If we are able to bring innovation to local financial institutions and help them thrive, then what we’re doing is help the communities that depend on local financial institutions thrive. 

With that backdrop, I’m so excited to announce that my business partner, Ryan Afred, and I are launching what we believe to be the first-of-its-kind firm in support of community financial institutions called True Digital Group. 

Our first product at True Digital Group is the MindShift Summit. MindShift Summits are once-a-month experiences for leaders, executive teams, and boards in the banking industry. The desired outcome is to catalyze a permanent shift in your mindset. A shift that takes everything you know as a professional but brings you to a different point of orientation. By shifting even one degree, everything else can suddenly look different. Different ways of executing, thinking, and working can become apparent. 

True Digital Group is about getting into the trenches with bankers across the country to unlock innovation across every facet of a financial institution. Are you in?