The fintech and crypto leader for Asia at PricewaterhouseCoopers says, “There are a lot of exciting things that the crypto ecosystem is looking forward to in 2019.”
Henri Arslanian, the crypto lead for Asia at PwC, the world’s second largest professional services network, with roughly 22% of its workforce in Asia, leads the company’s crypto efforts in the region and advises crypto exchanges, crypto funds and ICOs, as well as traditional financial institutions and regulators in relation to their crypto initiatives.
Moving into 2019, Arslanian says the crypto markets have cleared out the noise in the sector, paving the way for the entry of institutional players, whom he says are key for the struggling crypto economy.
The influx, he says, will come in different forms. Key players, such as Fidelity, will launch their own solutions and institutions will partner with crypto companies, as Nomura did with Ledger. Some will also opt to invest sizable amounts of capital into crypto-related companies, as Goldman Sachs did with BitGo.
The institutional entry is expected to go hand-in-hand with a critical development in the sector: regulatory clarity.
“If you look at 2018, a number of jurisdictions provided more regulatory clarity than we had before. Countries from Hong Kong to Switzerland from Gibraltar to Malta. And I expect many of those to take place as well in 2019, and that will give more comfort to some of these – not only institutional investors – but institutional players as well.”
Regularly named one of the most influential individuals in fintech in Asia, Arslanian is also the chairman of the FinTech Association of Hong Kong.
He recently mapped out the new regulatory framework for crypto funds in Hong Kong.
He points to the rise of stablecoins and security tokens backed by real, live assets as a rising sector in 2019.
“For example, real estate. In those areas it allows us to bring liquidity in a space where, especially for large real estate projects, there’s not that much liquidity. But also, it allows us to streamline a lot of the corporate action and dividends, and that is actually very exciting and should help the broader sector.”
As the 5th-largest privately owned company in the US, PwC’s reach extends into 158 countries with 743 locations. The company offers accounting and professional services to 422 out of 500 Fortune 500 companies, plus 100,000 entrepreneurial and private businesses.