It was fascinating to hear 22 year old Adam Norrie speaking about crypto in this week's episode of Blockchain Rock
It has been a pleasure to have worked with Adam over the last 6 months or so on his Astralis project. One of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of my role as an advisor is providing guidance to early stage FinTech businesses from a legal and regulatory perspective. In order to add maximum value, you are required to think outside the box to structure a product in a way that best suits the client, at that particular stage of its business, whilst always keeping in mind the vision of the client and what it wants to achieve.
In this episode, Adam says that his main aim with Astralis is to create a product that makes it easy for the general public, no matter their geographical location or credit status, to acquire and use crypto assets. This, of course, brings with it a number of regulatory challenges which need to be considered and resolved. Cryptocurrencies have been around for a decade and, in that time, we have seen the emergence of exchanges, trading venues, wallet providers, payment processors and other crypto businesses. We have seen how these businesses and their service offerings have grown in sophistication over the years. This, in my view, is in no small part due to the increase in the legal and regulatory clarity that now exists in a number of jurisdictions around the world, as to how businesses that are facilitating the use of digital or virtual assets should be treated.
Cryptopreneurs and enthusiasts around the world are adamant that we are still very early in the adoption cycle but it seems that now, after 10 years of existence, we are starting to see crypto hit the mainstream. A Hollywood movie was released last year titled "Crypto" and references to Bitcoin have recently aired on episodes of global tv shows such as "the Simpsons" and "Billions". Facebook, with its 2.6 billion monthly users, has recognised the value of cryptocurrencies and is attempting to launch its own project and well known personalities such as Elon Musk and J.K Rowling have recently been speaking about crypto on their social media platforms. Perhaps more significantly, American hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones recently revealing that he has invested 1% of his assets in Bitcoin, and separately, the news that J.P. Morgan has opened accounts for two major cryptocurrency exchanges (Gemini and Coinbase) after their CEO bashed crypto as a fraud only a year ago, is the latest indicator that institutional investors are starting to consider crypto as a serious asset class.
Mass adoption has not yet occurred, arguably because there has been a lack of education generally available to the public in relation to distributed ledger technology and the value of cryptocurrencies. However, it is companies such as Gemini, Coinbase and eToro providing trading venues for crypto traders, or Celsius providing interest on crypto deposits, or Tap Global providing custodian solutions and the ability to spend crypto using a Mastercard, that are doing their bit to bridge that gap. With Astralis, Adam's vision is to educate and encourage consumers to see the value of cryptocurrency and facilitate their access to it whilst ensuring that individuals retain sovereignty of their own wealth.
I look forward to seeing the continued growth of this emerging industry over the coming years and to the day that consumers use crypto without thinking twice about how the underlying technology works or knowing that they are using crypto at all.
Originally published 17 May 2020
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