An Australian director of a big four accounting firm has left to head up Bitcoin.com.au
Cryptocurrency exchange bitcoin.com.au has announced the appointment of Ben Ingram as its new CEO.
Mr Ingram left accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in March this year, where he worked as a director in charge of digital strategy.
His departure from the traditional world of finance follows that of CBA’s finance chief Rob Jesudason, who left the bank in May to run Hong-Kong based crypto company Block.one.
In addition to working on the bitcoin.com.au’s trading exchange functionality, Mr Ingram’s focus will be on developing crypto-based financial products in areas such as superannuation.
Although the company provides cryptocurrency transaction services, he said bitcoin.com.au differed from a typical crypto exchange.
“Rather than a full exchange, the company offers more of a gateway service,” Mr Ingram said.
“It provides people one of the easiest ways to get into bitcoin — and importantly, get back out of bitcoin. That includes same-day settlement, so cash back into your account as at the date of the transaction.”
More cryptocurrencies on the way
Right now, bitcoin.com.au only provides transaction services for the world’s two biggest cryptocurrencies — bitcoin and ethereum.
Mr Ingram said the company was likely to expand its exchange services to include other cryptocurrencies in the future.
In addition, he’s exploring opportunities to introduce crypto investment products into Australia’s vast pool of superannuation.
“There’s not many tangible examples of crypto-based investment products yet,” he said.
“SMSFs have typically been the preserve of the wealthy. It’s a vehicle where you can manage your own investments, and you also carry the cost of that audit,” he said.
The blockchain technology behind bitcoin and other digital currencies meant the auditing of crypto was “incredibly simple”.
Given the auditability of bitcoin transactions, Mr Ingram said millenial investors who owned crypto assets “may be more inclined to self-manage”.
A hedge against central bank currencies
More broadly, specific crypto-focused funds were starting to emerge which could form part of an investment portfolio, “perhaps as a hedge against poorly managed central bank currencies”.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Ingram waws optimistic about the crypto sector in general.
“We’re in the early-stage development of a new protocol. I think the core premise of distributed ledger technology (DLT) has very obvious widespread appeal.
“Even if the tech capabilities at present aren’t capable, I think humans will prevail,” he said.
“We know this tech doesn’t have a dead-end. While the evolutionary path hasn’t been fully determined, I think there’s enough evidence that there is a path.”