SALT’s Crypto Bahamas brought together traditional financial players with crypto companies and industry experts to discuss the future of digital assets.
The crypto community and Wall Street converged in Nassau, Bahamas, to discuss the future of digital assets during SALT’s Crypto Bahamas conference. The SkyBridge Alternatives Conference (SALT) was also co-hosted this year by FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange.
Anthony Scaramucci, founder of the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, kicked off Crypto Bahamas with a press conference explaining that the goal behind the event was to merge the traditional financial world with the crypto community:
“Crypto Bahamas combines the crypto native FTX audience with the SkyBridge asset management firm audience. We are bringing these two worlds together to create a more equitable financial system.”
Traditional finance eyes crypto as regulations take shape
The combination of traditional financial institutions with crypto natives was indeed one of the most notable and noticeable (a number of men and women were wearing suits, while some sported shorts and flip flops) aspects of Crypto Bahamas. For instance, Kevin O’Leary — the Canadian entrepreneur better known as “Mr. Wonderful” for his role on Shark Tank — told Cointelegraph that the people present at the Crypto Bahamas proved to be the most important aspect:
“We have governments from around the world here, along with institutional investors that don’t actually own any cryptocurrency, but are watching the momentum in politics. They are starting to realize that a big change is coming.”
According to O’Leary, recent crypto regulatory frameworks from United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Cynthia Lummis, along with the Stablecoin Transparency Act proposed on March 31, 2022, by Representative Trey Hollingsworth and Senator Bill Hagerty, are now attracting institutional interest in crypto.
“They’ve come to the conclusion that this is an asset class that is here to stay,” O’Leary remarked. While this may be, he pointed out that many traditional financial institutions still don’t own any cryptocurrency and will not own any digital assets until policy is implemented. “I think cryptocurrency will become the twelfth sector of the S&P. We will be paying 20-30% more when institutions start indexing this. That’s the big debate happening at this conference.”
To O’Leary’s point, while some members of the crypto community may find institutional players to be intrusive, Henri Arslanian, senior crypto adviser at PwC, told Cointelegraph during the conference that the crypto ecosystem should welcome the entry of institutions, noting that these centralized players provide the level of maturity and experience needed for working with institutional investors. “This can be beneficial for the entire crypto ecosystem,” said Arslanian.
Scaramucci further told Cointelegraph that crypto is still in its infancy, but he predicts that the market will undergo major innovations in the next five years. “In the long term, I’m excited about where everything is going, but in the short term we will witness headwinds as a result of post COVID-19, the war between Russia and Ukraine, the specter of inflation and supply chain issues,” he remarked. Scaramucci added that he believes FTX will be the most transformational player in the space overall because “their mission is to transform the entire financial ecosystem by tokenizing all markets.”
If you build it, they will come
In the meantime, it appears as if the Bahamas will likely become the world’s next crypto hotspot. While FTX moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in September 2021, it’s anticipated that more crypto companies will do the same. Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis told Cointelegraph that the country has a regulatory regime in place and recently published a policy white paper framework to help crypto businesses understand how to operate in the country:
“This will help companies understand how they can grow and prosper, and what we can expect from them. The policy also takes into account concerns people have about cryptocurrency and the risks associated with digital assets. Policy is implemented to protect consumers and the integrity of the space, and at the same time ensure that we minimize all risks that may be associated with businesses here.”
Scaramucci said that he believes the Bahamas is becoming a crypto-centric region that will be known in the next five years as one of the most “forward thinking and economic visionary countries.” Arslanian added that crypto-friendly jurisdictions seen in regions like the Bahamas and Dubai have the opportunity to become global hubs by attracting top-performing crypto companies.
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