Local media has reported that Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, intends to meet with New Zealand financial regulators to discuss the possibility of launching operations in NZ. Ehrsam will visit New Zealand after having been chosen for the first intake of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship.
Coinbase Has Been Eyeing the New Zealand Bitcoin Markets, According to NZ Herald
The publication has reported that Coinbase co-founder, Fred Ehrsam, will be visiting NZ alongside 23 other entrepreneurs as part of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship. Ersham has a meeting with New Zealand’s reserve bank to discuss cryptocurrency and blockchain technology during the trip. This follows on from his recent meetings with regulators in the US, Japan, and Britain.
Ehrsam told NZ media, “I want to create a regulatory framework for digital currencies that is in line with societal values,” emphasizing the need to balance the confidence of investors and entrepreneurs with developing a legislative apparatus that is complementary to the values of each nation. Ersham expressed Coinbase’s desire to begin operating in New Zealand, but stressed that greater regulatory clarity is needed before it can become a reality, stating that “the rules around it aren’t particularly clear at the moment.” NZ Herald described Ersham’s expectations of the discussions, stating that like many meetings with regulators, Ersham is anticipating the experience to be “a learning process on both sides.”
Fred Ehrsam is a former Goldman Sachs trader who co-founded Coinbase in 2012. The entrepreneur was featured by Time magazine in their ‘30 People Under 30 who are changing the world’ list of December 2013. Since January, Ersham has stepped back from day-to-day operations at Coinbase, seeking instead to promote cryptocurrency technology to regulators, and to advise other startups within the blockchain space. Ersham was quoted stating that Coinbase’s “main goal was to make digital currencies easy to use for the everyday person… Digital currency is this new weird thing that doesn’t fit into a particular bucket.”
Ehrsam Believes That Cryptocurrencies Will Coexist With Traditional Financial Institutions in Future
Ehrsam describes the inevitability of creative destruction born of cryptocurrency disrupting the conventional operations of legacy financial institutions, albeit a future where cryptocurrencies and banks coexist. “I think [traditional financial institutions] will morph, not completely go away,” he said. “At its core, a bank really is a risk management company. I can’t see that going away.” Ultimately, Ersham believes that bitcoin will undermine the ability for banks to extract fees from payment transfers, but expects the banking industry to adapt and grow in response to disruptive technologies.
At the start of September, Auckland University Professor, Alex Sims, urged New Zealand to develop a clear regulatory apparatus pertaining to bitcoin – accusing NZ regulators of having “dropped the ball” with regards to cryptocurrency regulations. Although the possession and use of cryptocurrency is not prohibited in New Zealand, Sims asserted that “businesses aren’t able to accept digital currencies, because if they do, they get their bank accounts closed down,” before advising legislators to adopt a similar regulatory framework that was developed in Australia.
Do you think that Coinbase’s meeting with the New Zealand central bank will spur the NZ government to develop a regulatory apparatus for cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinbase
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Coinbase Co-Founder Eyes New Zealand Bitcoin Market