But later in my career, when I was at Bendigo Bank, I began to realize that the technology underlying Bitcoin had the potential to dramatically transform finance and financial equality. So I started building models to see how cost effective using this technology would be, then I ended up at NAB and started looking at it on an even larger scale.
At NAB, I worked on a few projects including Project Moon, which was about syndicated loans, which morphed into Project Atom, the central bank’s digital currency project with the RBA. But these kinds of projects take many years and never see the light of day, so I’ve been working pretty much in the background.
Then suddenly there was this lovely little company that actually allowed me to develop these models in depth. I really felt like it was an opportunity to bring everything I had been working on together in one place.
Do you invest in Bitcoin yourself?
Yes, we all have our purses and we watched them bust every weekend. I would like to say that since joining DigitalX I have not made any personal transactions. I am in the process of putting all of my investment monies into the fund so all my skin-in-the-game is through the company.
But you have to be involved because understanding these markets is very complex – it takes all my trading skills and market knowledge to understand them, especially as they are unregulated.
So you’ve seen your fair share of crypto market failures?
We were all involved – my biggest rug, TIME Wonderland, was actually recommended to me by a very experienced portfolio manager at a large and very famous fund management company. And we didn’t even see the carpet being pulled until a 24-year-old friend texted me to say, “What’s going on here?” And then everything started to unravel.
If I can go and buy a coffee [Bitcoin] with my Apple Pay, by the time we get to this point, every business is going to need a way to receive crypto.
DigitalX CEO Lisa Wade
But when something is offering 78,000 percent interest a year, you know something is wrong, so it becomes almost like a game that you have to exit before it all falls apart. And imagine it all fell apart before I left. I think I still have something in my wallet somewhere.
But these things show that you have to be very careful. At DigitalX, we weight our portfolios in the same risk-weighted way as in traditional finance. Financial fundamentals haven’t gone out the window just because we’re in a new market. If we look at the risk and find a red flag, we just don’t go there. And sometimes that’s very hard when people are making a lot of money, but disciplined traders will just sit back and avoid it.
DigitalX is one of the few ASX listed companies in Australia with Bitcoin on its balance sheet. Speaking of risk management — especially since the value of your bitcoin holdings has fallen by 50 percent in the last six months — how do you ensure you aren’t putting the company at too much risk?
There is a level of expertise that we have who has access to the wallet and cold storage which is top notch. And then there’s the hedging policy, just like you would manage to have US dollars on the balance sheet. Any bitcoins that are on the balance sheet are also invested in the fund business to build our track record as a fund.
These types of guard rails and hedging guidelines will be essential for any company looking to keep Bitcoin on their balance sheet and I think every company in Australia needs to know how to manage crypto on their balance sheet as everyone wants to trade crypto. For example, I get 5 percent of my salary in bitcoin, which is great for saving, but I don’t really spend it on anything.
But if I can use it to buy a coffee with my Apple Pay, at that point every business will need a way to get and keep crypto without losing exchange fees by converting it to Australian dollars.
Do you really think we can ever buy a coffee directly with bitcoin?
Maybe not in Australia as we have a fantastic payment system. But that is not the case everywhere in the world, for the people around the world who are not like us and unbanked, crypto can bring them financial equality. So yes I can imagine paying for coffee in Kenya before paying for Australia.
There’s also this other part where we have this generation of people who grew up in the GFC and they’ve seen their parents’ financial problems and they just don’t trust our financial system. They see all the fees, all the opacity, so they’re building something else out there.
Just like the birth of the internet, nothing can stop it. Bitcoin is the flagship currency for this movement and the younger generation who don’t want to use our money.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/entrepreneurship/meet-the-asx-chief-executive-who-receives-5-percent-of-her-salary-in-bitcoin-20220714-p5b1jt.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business Meet the CEO of ASX who gets 5% of her salary in Bitcoin