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Bragg starts crypto deep dive

Published 19 May 2021

Heath Behncke, our Managing Director and Portfolio Manager spoke to the The Australian Financial Review in the feature “Bragg starts crypto deep dive”, 19th May, 2021.  Below is an extract, the full article can be accessed here.

 

Australia’s policy vacuum in relation to cryptocurrencies and digital assets is finally being addressed, thanks to the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre chaired by NSW Liberal Senator Andrew Bragg.

Bragg and his fellow committee members recognise the danger in being unprepared for the disruptive wave of innovation that will transform entire industries through the use of blockchain-related technologies.

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“We realised we need to do a deep dive into cryptocurrencies and digital assets. We want to understand what other jurisdictions are doing in Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Wave of Disruption

One obvious jurisdiction worthy of close analysis is the US state of Wyoming which is rapidly becoming the “Delaware of digital asset law”, according to Caitlin Long, the founder and chief executive officer of Avanti Financial Group.

Long was at the vanguard of helping the Wyoming legislature draw up the first US legislation on digital assets, which includes the creation of “special purpose depository institutions” as a new form of bank.

Avanti is a privately owned bank that is now at the forefront of creating a wave of disruption that will transform the traditional banking model whereby a bank acts as the intermediary between depositors and borrowers.

Avanti is hardly known in Australia but it is firmly on the radar of Sydney funds management and investment group Holon Global Investments, which has bought shares in the Avanti and will use its custody services for its bitcoin and other digital asset funds.

Heath Behncke, who is managing director and portfolio manager at Holon, says Australian regulatory authorities need to get their minds around the sort of laws passed in Wyoming as well as the workings of a digital bank such as Avanti.

Avanti offers “narrow banking”, which is totally different to traditional banking because once deposits are made, the client retains full legal possession of their assets. This, in effect, removes the need for regulatory capital to be held against loan assets.

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