To some, Paula Pandolfino from Malta may seem like a contradiction in walking: bitcoiner and banker. She is now co-founder of the upcoming Founders Bank in Malta, which is scheduled to open in 2020, after personal investment in bitcoin in 2016.

“Crypto will assume control over the world, and we need full financial administrations and We need to be that mainstay of banking for the environment to help how it completes. On the off chance that anything, [we’re learning] how to wean off customary banking and persuading crypto to be that stage.” said Paula.

Paula Pandolfino
Co-Founder at Founders Bank project

Pandolfino said the bank has so far raised $10 million and is looking in the near future to raise $30 million more. The bank’s major investors include the crypto exchange Binance (also based in Malta), the hedge fund Polychain Capital and the Czech firm Carduus Asset Management.

Joe Eagan , President of Polychain

President of Polychain Joe Eagan said the investment was inspired by personal experience since his fund struggled in 2016 to find banking partners. More organizations are serving the crypto sector today–from Silvergate Bank in California to Metropolitan Bank in New York to WEG Bank AG in Germany. But Eagan said suppliers still have a dearth open to crypto projects.

Joe said that many of project portfolio still have difficulty accessing banking partners and its need to bring in new users beyond the original users of bitcoin. So, to do that its need to institutionalize the rails and structures of the space, adding services like institutional custody and banking support.

Changpeng Zhao , Binance CEO

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a press declaration that his business will be one of the first customers of the bank as soon as it opens.

Indeed, Pandolfino said that while her team is waiting for its European Union banking license, they are busy learning from their investors precisely what products and services the sector might need.

Pandolfino said that Having Binance as a seed investor,has enabled us to construct everything knowing what the pain points are within the crypto room for complex organizations and how to fix those issues.

All of this poses the question of which bank shareholder will be the first to transition from crypto entrepreneur to bank chairman. For now, Pandolfino said European regulators are requiring board members have over a decade of experience in traditional finance. As such, former Malta Stock Exchange director Dr. Abdalla Kablan, also a member of the Dubai Future Council for Blockchain, is the crypto-savvy outlier on Founders Bank’s current board.

Eagan said “It seems to me like there will be some overlap between traditional banks and decentralized finance as the space continues to grow ”.

Lessons learned

And yet, the road toward launching a crypto bank has been paved with challenges. Originally, Founders Bank planned to raise capital with equity tokens. That plan was quickly shelved in order to avoid complications during the licensing process.

Pandolfino said the bank may investigate agreeable approaches to work with tokens in the more inaccessible future. All things considered, she was one of the consultants who added to Malta’s Virtual Financial Assets enactment. That procedure took over a year. Be that as it may, it in the long run made an European passage, as Pandolfino put it, for agreeable advancement in the crypto space.

“Our secret sauce is centered around building a know-your-customer, anti-money-laundering platform which is fintech-focused,” she said, describing Founders Bank.

WEG Bank AG shareholder Derek Capo, founder of TokenPay, told CoinDesk he still believes his German bank will have first-mover advantage when it comes to serving European crypto companies.

“Today, [WEG Bank AG] is already operating and has corporate crypto clients with plans for business-to-customer services,” Capo said. “Things always take longer than expected.”

But Eagan said there are still too few crypto-friendly banks to worry about any single player dominating the regional market.

“We are proponents of regulation which will make our industry more successful in the long run,” Eagan said, adding:

“There is still more banking that will be needed as our space continues to grow and institutionalize.”

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