One of Australia’s original crypto exchanges, Independent Reserve has hit the 10-year mark and is still going strong. Stockhead spoke with its founder and CEO Adrian Przelozny about the crypto industry past, present and future.


‘The best years are ahead of us’

Hi Adrian. Good to chat to you again and congrats on 10 years in the crypto sector. Reckon you’ve got another 10 left in the tank personally in the industry?

Thank you. It’s been an incredible journey in the crypto sector, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences it’s brought. As for the future, I’m more passionate than ever about the crypto industry and its potential for innovation and transformation.

Yep, I firmly believe there are many exciting years ahead for both myself and the industry. I’m committed to continuing my involvement, driving positive change, and contributing to the growth and development of the crypto ecosystem. Here’s to the next decade and beyond.

What’s exciting you about being involved with Independent Reserve and crypto at the moment?

The continued innovation and adoption. Whilst we’ve achieved a lot, it still feels like we’ve got so much more to do. The crypto industry is evolving rapidly, and we’re at the forefront of this transformation. When you think about what it looked like 10 years ago to now, the change has been seismic.

There’s no doubt in my mind the best years for Independent Reserve, and more broadly the industry, are still ahead of us. We’re working on exciting partnerships, new products and further expansion. I’m optimistic about a robust regulatory framework being introduced in Australia and I remain positive that this will eventuate soon.

When you consider that about a quarter of Australians have invested or participated in crypto and blockchain it says so much about how the sector has evolved from fringe to mainstream – and I’m certain that number is going to continue growing for many years to come.

Additionally, we’re seeing increased interest and participation from institutional investors, and the growing recognition of digital assets as a legitimate asset class.


Current concerns?

What has you concerned, if anything? Some de-banking concerns have arisen here in Australia ever since Binance and Coinbase have come under the SEC’s microscope in the US…

Maintaining healthy banking relationships has been an important part of how we operate Independent Reserve. Corporate governance, security, fraud prevention and doing things the right way has been core to our business from day one. As a result, we’ve been able to provide an uninterrupted onramp into crypto for our customers in Australia and Singapore.

The recent banking issues that exchanges have faced, has elevated counter-party risk into the consciousness of retail investors. And that’s evident by the public discussions we’re seeing on social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit. Additionally, we’ve seen a spike in new customers as a result of banking concerns, because of the solid reputation we’ve built over a period of time – and that’s something we are very proud of.

When it comes to regulations, is there a growing worry among your peers that the Australian government is not only moving too slowly, but that they also may not get the balance right and simply look to copy the US?

Rgarding regulation, it will play a crucial role in fostering a healthy and sustainable crypto industry. But it’s essential for regulators to take into account the unique characteristics of the crypto market and avoid simply copying the approaches of other jurisdictions. We have been working closely with the Australian Government, particularly with Treasury, in the current industry consultation process.

While there are obvious concerns about the pace of progress, we are confident that Australia is on the right path towards sensible pragmatic crypto regulation.


Top 5 crypto highlights

What have been some of the highlights from the past 10 years in the crypto industry that stand out for Independent Reserve? Can you name five? 

1. Witnessing the evolution: Seeing the crypto industry evolve from its early stages to aglobal phenomenon has been remarkable. We’ve witnessed increased awareness, adoption, and recognition of Bitcoin and other digital assets as a legitimate asset class.

2. Regulation: Independent Reserve has been at the forefront of advocating for responsible regulation. We were one of the first exchanges in Australia to register with AUSTRAC and the first licensed exchange by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). We believe that regulation is essential for building trust and protecting investors.

3. Building trust and security: Establishing Independent Reserve as a trusted and secure platform has been a priority. We’ve implemented stringent security measures, obtained ISO 27001 certification, and formed partnerships with reputable banks to ensure the safety of our customers’ funds.

4. The ecosystem: The local and global ecosystem has evolved immensely. We’ve seen the rise of alternative blockchain technologies, Web3, DeFI and new use cases. Moreover, the faces of the blockchain community can no longer be stereotyped. Men, women, young and old, everyone is engaging with the technology and in the communities.

5. Nurturing mainstream adoption: We’ve been dedicated to bridging the gap between traditional finance and the crypto world. Through education, user-friendly interfaces, and a focus on compliance, we’ve worked to make crypto accessible to a broader audience and encourage mainstream adoption. But there is still so much more to do.

Overall, the crypto industry has matured significantly over the past decade. We’ve witnessed increased institutional interest, a greater push for regulatory clarity, and the recognition of the transformative potential of blockchain technology. It’s an exciting time, and we’re proud to have played a part in this positive transformation.


Top 5 crypto lowlights

And what would be some of the lowlights for the industry in your opinion?  Again – can you name five?

1. Market volatility: The inherent volatility of cryptocurrencies has been a challenge, with dramatic price fluctuations impacting investors and the industry as a whole. This volatility has taught us the importance of risk management and educating users about the potential risks involved.

2. Security and mismanagement: The industry has experienced several high-profile security breaches, leading to the loss of funds and damaging trust. These incidents have highlighted the critical need for robust security measures, ongoing audits, and continuous improvement in safeguarding customer assets.

3. Regulatory uncertainty: The lack of clear and consistent regulations in various jurisdictions has posed challenges for both the industry and Independent Reserve.

Navigating regulatory landscapes and adapting to evolving compliance requirements have been essential learnings, emphasising the importance of proactive engagement with regulators.

4. Misinformation and scams: The prevalence of misinformation, fraudulent projects, and scams in the crypto space has been a concern. This underscores the need for enhanced due diligence and user education to help individuals make informed decisions and avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities.

5. Public perception and misunderstanding: Despite significant progress, cryptocurrencies still face scepticism and misunderstanding from the broader public and traditional financial institutions. Addressing these misconceptions and promoting awareness about the benefits and potential of cryptocurrencies have been ongoing challenges that require continuing education and engagement from the industry.

Through these lowlights, we have learned valuable lessons about resilience, adaptability, and the importance of building trust. They have strengthened our commitment to security, regulatory compliance, and fostering a transparent and responsible ecosystem. We remain dedicated to overcoming these challenges and driving the industry forward with integrity.


How will crypto change the world?

Can you think of five ways in which you believe crypto assets/tech and/or the crypto industry will change the world for the better?

1. Financial inclusion: Crypto has the power to provide financial services to the unbanked and underbanked populations worldwide. By leveraging blockchain technology, we can create inclusive financial systems that enable individuals in remote areas to access and manage their finances securely.

2. Transparent and efficient transactions: The decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies allows for transparent and immutable transactions. This transparency can reduce fraud and inefficiencies in traditional financial systems, leading to more secure and efficient transactions globally.

3. Democratising investments: Cryptocurrencies enable people from all walks of life to participate in investment opportunities that were previously inaccessible.

4. Web3: We are witnessing the rise of new possibilities, which provide creatives with innovative ways to grow their following, engage their audience, and monetise their work. NFTs allow artists, musicians, and content creators to tokenise their creations, establishing verifiable ownership and providing a direct connection between creators and their fans.

5. Driving technological innovation: The crypto industry serves as a catalyst for technological innovation. As more resources and talent flow into the sector, we see advancements in areas like blockchain scalability, smart contracts, decentralised applications, and more. These innovations have the potential to reshape industries and drive progress in sectors such as supply chain management, healthcare, and renewable energy.


What happens next?

Finally, can you offer five predictions about how you see things playing out for the crypto industry in the coming years (or even months if you’d prefer to zoom in)?

1. Increased institutional adoption: We’ll continue to see more institutional players entering the crypto space, with major financial institutions and corporations embracing cryptocurrencies as an asset class and investing in Bitcoin and Ethereum. This will bring further legitimacy and stability to the market.

2. Regulatory clarity: Governments around the world will establish clearer regulations for cryptocurrencies, bringing more certainty and protection to investors.

3. Rise of Decentralised Finance: DeFi will continue to grow rapidly, revolutionising traditional financial systems. We’ll witness the emergence of decentralised lending, borrowing, and trading platforms.

4. Integration of Central Bank Digital Currencies: Central banks will accelerate their efforts to develop and implement CBDCs, leading to the coexistence of both private cryptocurrencies and government-backed digital currencies.

5. Continued innovation and adoption: The crypto industry will witness ongoing technological advancements, such as scalability solutions, interoperability protocols, and improved user experience. As these innovations address current limitations, we’ll see wider adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology across various sectors, including finance, supply chain, healthcare, and more.


This Q&A was edited lightly for clarity. Independent Reserve is not a Stockhead sponsor and none of the information presented here, or anywhere on Coinhead, should be construed as financial advice.