It is a coup that had been planned for some time and now is executed with professional accuracy. Having involved a group of investors in his Digital Asset Exchange Blocktrade, Bernhard Koch made it an even more important part of his emerging ecosystem of Fintech companies.
In this exclusive interview Bernhard Koch, CEO and founder of the Cryptix Group talks together with Bernhard Blaha, the new Blocktrade CEO, about the new ownership structure and the future of the Digital Asset Exchange.
Bernhard Koch, you bought Blocktrade some time ago, further developed it and now you opened it up for new owners, why?
Back then, we have released Blocktrade out of a situation that inhibited its development. As a venture building company, it is our obligation to recognize such opportunities, dock our resources, and thus create added value.
We have succeeded in doing so and we were able to make some of our customers very happy who are now propelling developments, taking Blocktrade into a new phase.
Luka Gubo, the longtime CEO of Blocktrade hands over his role, why?
Within Cryptix, Luka matured into an important and reasonable voice with a broad horizon and decided to stay with Cryptix. He has become an integral part of our organization and leads major projects within our organization.
Nevertheless, Luka Gubo will continue to advise Blocktrade in the future, especially in his core competences of financial technology licensing and the management of legal frameworks.
Together with our investors, we decided to hand over the exciting CEO position at Blocktrade to young but experienced talent. Out of an international field of applicants, I am pleased to have found a new CEO in Austria and to be able to introduce Bernhard Blaha as the new CEO of Blocktrade.
Bernhard Blaha takes over a great responsibility and as much as one hears a very dynamic task by starting a securities offering in 2020. Bernhard Blaha, could you introduce yourself?
Over the last 7 years, I was able to gain a lot of experience as an entrepreneur, since 2016 also very specific in the area of cryptocurrencies in a highly regulated sector. After having been involved with blockchain since 2014, this was the ideal playground for me as an all-rounder to implement innovation in a very tight legal corset under high pressure.
This experience now helps me, along with the great preparation of Luka Gubo and his team, to prepare and develop Blocktrade for a fulminant start in the new setup.
Back to the securities offering, who is allowed to participate, what are your goals and which team administrates this exciting phase?
We can only make limited public statements because the prospectus is still in the approval process. From this, however, you can already hear that we work with a Bafin-regulated broker.
The securities offering is very limited, both in terms of hard cap, as we only want to raise funds that we need, and in terms of the round of invited investors. We are thinking of a further round in 2021, which will then be open to a wider circle of interested investors.
What are your long-term goals with Blocktrade and why did you move from Liechtenstein to Luxembourg?
Blocktrade will be part of an ecosystem that will fulfill several functions of a financial market through a larger circle of partner companies and communities. In this respect, Blocktrade is the most important step into this future, but also only the first of a longer journey.
This also explains the move from Liechtenstein to Luxembourg, which we did at the request of our client. In our view, the EU will become the most important player in the international regulation of crypto assets and their markets.
Bernhard Koch, in what capacity will you and Cryptix continue to support the company and does your group of companies have a place in the aforementioned ecosystem?
We have been entrusted with a number of responsibilities that demand our capacity as a venture building company. This was a result of the close relationship we have with Bernhard Blaha, the group of companies behind him, his investors and the communities concerned.
We want to create a financial marketplace for everyone. Our services and platforms offer a bridge to those who are not evangelists, believers or tech nerds. Decentralization must have a broad impact, otherwise it is elitist and stands in the way of civilization.
In terms of financial literacy, we in the middle of Europe are already behind many parts of the rest of the world. On one hand, this is due to high standards and strict regulation, but it also demonstrates that Europe has a clear focus on quality and security.
That sounds exciting, but could the two of you tell us a bit more about the ecosystem that is emerging here?
Bernhard Blaha: From the Blocktrade perspective, young and old, depending on their level of education and economic needs, are introduced to life as an economically relevant part of society via consultant interfaces with artificial intelligence. No matter how much they know about investment, debt management and passive income, in this ecosystem you will find solutions for their very specific situation.
In fact, this would be the task of the state and educational apparatus, but this is omitted because of the alleged difficulty of being impartial. So we have made it our task to build products and services of the financial market in such a way that the existential, financial aspect of life is stabilized and sustainably secured. An intelligent portfolio, which uses crypto as a protection against inflation and as a hedge strategy for FIAT assets, in addition to the classic asset classes, is central to this.
Bernhard Koch: We are leaning a bit out of the window, but as I said, we have been working on it for a long time and firmly believe that there is an alternative to the widespread age poverty. Educational content and offers that focus on fairness and trust in regionalism play a major role in this.
The idea of a tangible community is central and brings banking services right into the middle of society where they belong. Not only does this make economic sense, but in the long term there is no alternative. Profits can only be made where sustainable work is done and resilient communities are built. It is important that the regulator does not let up and that the law works to ensure that those who are currently left out are also given access to fair financial services.