Coinbase CFO Alesia Haas Discusses Crypto Challenges at Brainstorm Finance 2019

Virtual currency is appearing on the balance sheet of a growing number of companies, including traditional retailers and financial institutions. Yet cryptocurrency’s rollercoaster volatility means new challenges for handling everything from payments to taxes, and more. The CFO of America’s biggest virtual currency exchange and a blockchain-evangelizing e-commerce pioneer offer an inside account.

Patrick M. Byrne, Founder and CEO, Overstock.com
Alesia Haas, Chief Financial Officer, Coinbase Global Inc.
Moderator: Adam Lashinsky, FORTUNE

What is a Privacy Coin?

This video outlines the basic premise of privacy coins and why they’re important. It also touches upon some of the mechanisms they use to keep your transactions private, referencing ZCash and Monero. Think of privacy coins like the digital equivalent of cash.

What is an ICO?

What is An Initial Coin Offering? ICOs are basically blockchain crowdsales, the cryptocurrency version of crowdfunding. The ICOs have been truly revolutionary and have managed to accomplish many amazing tasks: They have provided the simplest path by which DAPP developers can get the required funding for their project. Anyone can become invested in a project they are interested in by purchasing the tokens of that particular DAPP and become a part of the project themselves.

The Blockchain/Crypto Path Ahead

Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK/Cardano, speaks about the path ahead for the crypto and decentralized industry on March 14, 2019 as well as the decline of global financial markets.

Hoskinson believes that we can solve the world’s financial problems with open source technology.

He outlines parallel futures whereby we can have truly private, decentralized, financial transactions vs hierarchial, centralized control, such as we are accustomed.

Western Union Exploring Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Western Union is exploring the use of blockchain and cryptocurrency to help connect the cash and digital worlds.

They have access to over half a million retail locations as well over a billion bank accounts through the banks themselves. In that regard, they consider themselves as an on- and off-ramp for global money movement.

Western Union President, Odilon Almeida, discusses three things that need to be solved to establish a broadly accepted digital currency:

1) volatility
2) governance
3) compliance

They are running a pilot program with Ripple.

Almeida says they consider it would be just an additional currency. They already operate with 130 currencies. He says it may simply represent one more option they offer customers.

Malta as ‘Blockchain Island’

Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of less than 500,000. The island is a speck in the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa.

Malta gained its national independence from Great Britain in 1964.

As a small country with limited natural resources, they have the willingness and ability to move quickly to adopt new opportunities that can grow their economy.

Malta has made itself very welcoming to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies by establishing friendly regulation and low taxes for such businesses.

Hence, capital, start-ups and talent are leaving less friendly jurisdictions to set up shop in Malta.

So far, the welcoming hand has benefited Malta with a new influx of revenue for the country.

The above video includes interviews with the Finance Minister of Malta, Edward Scicluna; Changpeng Zhao (Binance); John McAfee; Tim Byun (OKEX ); Alexandre Dreyfus (chiliZ); and Marc Taverner (Bitfury).