An Australian crypto enthusiast has set plans in motion to open his own crypto bank. Fred Schebesta has decided on a radical scheme in order to circumnavigate restrictive regulations by Australian banks towards anything cryptocurrency-related by opening his own bank and doing what he needs to get a share in an established bank.
The West Australian enthusiast has purchased a personal shareholding in an existing bank, West Australia’s Goldfields Money, in order to obtain an authorized deposit-taking institution (ADI) license to get his plans on the road.
Tiny by banking standards, Goldfield’s Money has a USD 35 million market cap but it does have the much-needed ADI, in fact, the only one in Western Australia to have it. Schebesta explains his reasoning:
“You don’t have your money. The bank has your money. Have you ever gone to the bank and asked for all your money? If everyone did a bank run on CommBank [Commonwealth Bank of Australia] right now, they wouldn’t be able to service it. That’s why I’m so big on crypto. I think eventually people will go, “Oh my god, this is so messed up”, and they’ll move to where they can hold their value. Not all of their money, but some of it.”
The current legal situation that the crypto banker-to-be is clearly attempting to come to terms with is as follows:
“New entrants to the banking industry will be able to apply for a Restricted ADI license, which will have a lower barrier to entry than a full ADI license, to assist their transition into the industry over a two-year period… Restricted ADIs will be subject to an aggregate deposit limit of $2 million and must disclose to all its customers that they are operating on a restricted license.”
Schebesta clearly feels that his crypto bank idea is worth all the paperwork regardless of Bitcoin’s current fluctuation fortunes in the crypto market. He explains:
“At its core, you’ve got to remember, just because the price of Bitcoin has gone down and people feel angry, that doesn’t reduce the interest… We’re living in the future. That’s what I’m all about. I think I’m a time traveler. I travel forward five years into the future, work it out then come back and try to take active steps to make it happen.”
His enthusiasm is reflective of Australia’s current drive towards crypto adoption, with recent deals in the pipeline including a new contract which will allow IBM to explore blockchain technologies and integrate some of the results into the Australian political structure over the next five years.
The passionate crypto-enthusiast hopes to have his bank ready for business within 18 months. If Australia is ever governed by blockchain, Schebesta’s crypto bank will certainly be well placed for business.
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