Names are important and our name Sienna comes from a long history of financial innovation.
Our company was named after the Italian city Siena (Sienna in English), which played a historical role in banking almost a thousand years ago.
In the 12th Century and as early as 1135, Sienna was an important trade city. To support the trade and economic growth of Sienna, the Bishop of Sienna started to offer loans against collateral and interest to Sienna citizens and the many people who traveled to the city to buy goods and sell their products.
Simultaneously, the world’s original bankers, the Knights Templar, initiated a huge network of money transfer locations so people could deposit money in the Veneto region and travel to Sienna and the port of Venice without the risk of being robbed.
Upon arrival at either destination, merchants could withdraw their money from a Templar location by handing in an encrypted document. The Templars had also invented a unique kind of encryption that would allow people to travel with a document that could only be decrypted by the Templars.
The encryption system was based on the iconic eight-pointed Maltese cross that was the trademark of the Knights Templar and was later to be used in heraldry in the 16th Century.
By today’s standards, the encryption system was straightforward and the algorithm would be broken within seconds, but from the years 1100-1300, it was sophisticated and safe enough to the world’s first industry standard.
In 1185 the Knights Templar built the Temple Church in London as their English headquarters and was consecrated by Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem. The Temple and the influence of the Knights are still felt to this day.
In many ways, if it wasn’t for the Knights Templar, encryption systems would be very different indeed, so that’s why we set up Sienna.
We wanted to learn from the best from the world’s encryption pioneers, a path we are setting on with Sienna to become the de facto standard in privacy-first DeFi.