Fred Schebesta, tech entrepreneur and co-founder of search comparison site Finder.com, has announced that he is looking to initiate Australia’s first bank dedicated to digital coin and cryptocurrencies.
Schebesta claimed that there is a market for those looking for an official institution to trade with crypto and that interest in the currency mechanism is continually growing, with no signs of slowing down.
Detailing his thoughts to News.com.au, Schebesta said that the fluctuating price of several cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, is not an issue for him. He said that people have been labeling Bitcoin a bubble since its inception and even when it grew to post values of $10, $100 and $1,000. He is therefore not worried about naysayers being skeptical of its future value to the world of digital trading.
Schebesta also believes that major cryptocurrencies bear the hallmarks of gold at the moment and that when so many investors came on board and quickly dumped stock at a certain price, everyone became “really angry”.
He maintained that the most important aspect of any market development is to watch the story unfold rather than aim for a quick buy and sell to lock in a profit. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies offer additional value as a decentralized currency, and it is likely that its story will have many twists and turns.
Aiming to set up the first crypto bank within 18 months, Schebesta is likely to team up with an existing Australian bank that can provide the Authorized Deposit-taking Institution (ADI) license. He has already snapped up shares in Goldfields Money, the only Western Australian bank with an ADI.
As people begin to take notice of digital currencies and see them as a long-term valuable asset that inevitably fluctuates like many other commodities, the market will see more settled behavior. Schebesta is hoping that the bank will be able to provide key services that would be more of a risk with some online traders, including “custodianship, cold storage, escrow, exchange and spending”.
Theorizing that banks will have to lend in cryptocurrencies in the future, he suggested that many banks are currently “scared” of dealing with digital currencies. He added that crypto is not the “be-all and end-all” but will be able to contribute to a wider and healthier economic ecosystem.
Schebesta’s website Finder.com started offering comparisons on cryptocurrencies late last year and has continued to see impressive traffic growth for the sector, with visits growing at a rate of 10% higher than those to Finder.com sectors such as insurance and credit cards.
In February of this year, Schebesta and fellow website co-founder Frank Restuccia were responsible for initiating “over-the-counter” crypto called HiveEx, which facilitates several million dollars of transactions in digital currencies each week. A service called HiveSpend, which allows users to pay bills through cryptocurrency, has also been set up.
Schebesta is predicting that his move will begin to shake up some of the lending processes from financial institutions in Australia.
“Lending is really what makes the fiat economy work,” he said, referring to government-centralized currency. He hopes that once the practice of lending crypto starts to reach a similar level of intent, “that’s the thing that will basically take this to a whole new level.”