Q&A with Ian Moore, Chief Banking Officer: The digital assets space is here to stay
Ian Moore, BCB Group’s Chief Banking Officer, discusses the company’s strategic priorities for 2023 and its role in bridging the gap between traditional banking and the digital assets space.
What are your key strategic priorities in the next 6-12 months?
In the last few months, we have seen the collapse of FTX, Three Arrows and LUNA, among others, which has had a knock-on effect on the industry. One of the key things to come out of all this is the reaffirmation that there is a real need for regulations that work for everyone. By everyone, I include banks, who are regulated, unlike the whole crypto space which mostly, is not. That is where we are going to be focusing our efforts in the next 6-12 months — looking at how we can protect the industry through a stronger regulatory framework.
Currently, there is a real difference across the market in terms of risk appetite where the digital asset space is concerned. Some banks claim to be crypto-friendly, but when you try to open the door, it becomes clear that restrictions are in place. Others are keen to fact-find to develop their own crypto strategy, and we want to assist them push forward as much as possible to help them with this.
Our objective is to continue nurturing our relationship with our set core banks. We want BCB Group to be recognised as the go-to crypto payment company for anyone coming from the traditional banking industry. We are leveraging our expertise to take them through that journey to support the industry as a whole.
Q: You say you’re looking to expand the banking landscape further in line with BCB Group’s vision. Can you elaborate on this?
One of our visions is to establish ourselves in new jurisdictions for our payments and our FX business. Both of those make up our core proposition. Admittedly, more challenges have come about recently, as crypto winter and the collapse of a number of players have made a number of banks become more nervous. Even those who had the door ajar, have now closed it for the time being because of the situation around the regulatory framework.
The digital assets space, however, is here to stay, and there are going to be many collaborations with traditional providers — not just banks but the likes of asset managers and custodians too. So there is a real opportunity to develop.
We are in the process of gaining authorisation from the ACPR and the AMF to launch our French EMI and DASP – not many other players in our segment can say they are licensed and regulated by two of the strictest regulators in the world. We wear our tier licences as badges of honour, and see them as a testament to the viability of our business profile and our risk management infrastructure.
Our aim within the EEA is to stop IBAN discrimination and support local collections and domestic payments. We want to become the transaction payment service provider specialist for the crypto industry. That is what I am most excited about.
Q: How can BCB Group bridge the gap between traditional banking and the digital asset space?
Ten years ago, the term fintech and PSP were not even in the vocabulary. So, the initial step for traditional bankers was to move into the fintech space. In the gap between traditional finance and digital assets are companies who are now stepping across into the PSP and crypto space. They bring with them the knowledge: the dos and don’ts, and the language to talk to banks and regulators. The result is a marriage between traditional banking and digital assets, with CeFi in the middle. A blend is evolving to ensure the value chain is kept through and through.
Q: What is needed for the connections between traditional banking and digital assets to become tighter?
We need subject matter experts from both sides who understand the banking ecosystems from payments and liquidity to FX. Banking is a unique world. Only a small number of people understand crypto, PSPs, fintechs and traditional banking. At BCB Group, we have that capability. Not only do we want to continue to develop our business, we want to educate those from a traditional background — regulators, clearing houses, banks, banking associations, central banks — that we have the expertise to navigate this highly complex environment and are here to stay.