Explaining blockchain to the public is a priority for Fintech Australia’s new boss
The new boss of Fintech Australia has highlighted opportunities in blockchain as a key priority for the industry group.
Brad Kitschke, a former head of government relations for Uber Australia, says the group will have a key role to play in explaining blockchain to the public.
Blockchain is best known as the basis of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. But it’s increasingly being used in other applications such as verifying supply chain data and securing digital contracts.
There are about 35 emerging ASX-listed companies that operate — or aspire to operate — with blockchain technology.
>> Scroll down for a list of ASX small cap blockchain stocks
“We currently have around 20 companies within our member base who use that [blockchain] technology,” Mr Kitschke told Business Insider Australia.
“As an industry body, Fintech Australia is supportive of blockchain technology and we see Australia as a world leader in that space.”
Regarding cryptocurrency, Mr Kitschke said there’s been a hold-up in crowd-funding platforms such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) in Australia due to increased regulatory oversight.
An ICO is like an initial public offering — but instead of offering shares in a company, an issuer offers digital tokens that can be traded on cryptocurrency platforms or redeemed for products or services.
“Part of our role in cryptocurrency will be in debunking the myths about use-cases and providing trusted advice to consumers,” he said.
FinTech Australia’s main role is representing startups that operate at the nexus of finance and technology. It has more than 240 members.
“It is a tremendous honour to be able to lead an organisation which has been able to achieve so much to advance the fintech cause in a relatively short period,” Mr Kitschke said.
He replaces inaugural Fintech Australia CEO Danielle Szetho, who oversaw a rise in the association’s membership base from around 50 to more than 200 over a two-year period.
Ms Szetho stepped down in March, with Sarah Worboys working since then as CEO in an interim capacity.
Mr Kitschke said the association was aiming to advance Australia’s standing as a leader in financial technology across the Asian region.
“Part of my role will be to leverage Australia’s position as a fintech leader in the regional marketplace,” he said.
“We’ve already built strong links with AusTrade and the federal government and we want to continue the work done in those areas to assist the region, and for Australia to provide real thought leadership in this sector.”
Mr Kitschke said “one of the great things about fintech” was that many in the sector had worked in traditional financial services companies.
“So the change to more of a consumer focus is really embedded in their DNA. And the findings from the Royal Commission have demonstrated how banks treat the customer if left to their own devices.
Fintech Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which represents, advises and promotes 243 financial services companies.
>> Here’s a list of ASX small caps with exposure to blockchain technology: