Feb. 18, 2022

173: Mainstream | Adam Bialy, Fiat Republic and Bridging Banks and Crypto

173: Mainstream | Adam Bialy, Fiat Republic and Bridging Banks and Crypto

Adam Bialy is the founder and CEO of Fiat Republic, the compliance-first, API-driven and highly secure and scalable bridge between banks and crypto. In this episode, Adam and Pete Townsend talk through the Fiat Republic vision, the current state of play between banks and crypto platforms that make Fiat Republic such a strong proposition, Adam’s unique leadership style, raising a $3.5mn seed round…and a little something about Taylor Swift!


This episode of MoneyNeverSleeps is sponsored by Philip Lee, one of Ireland’s fastest-growing corporate law firms and expert advisors at the heart of the Dublin and London start-up, fintech and crypto communities.

Adam Bialy is the founder and CEO of Fiat Republic, the compliance-first, API-driven and highly secure and scalable bridge between banks and crypto.  In this episode, Adam and I talk through the Fiat Republic vision, the current state of play between banks and crypto platforms that make Fiat Republic such a strong proposition, Adam’s unique leadership style, raising a $3.5mn seed round…and a little something about Taylor Swift!

This episode of MoneyNeverSleeps is sponsored by Philip Lee, one of Ireland’s fastest-growing corporate law firms and expert advisors at the heart of the Dublin and London start-up, fintech and crypto communities.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Adam Bialy on the journey to the Fiat Republic vision:

“I’ve been gathering all of those experiences and the different vantage points along the way, and I’m always about the journey, not just the destination. The journey got me to where I'm at right now and the journey is what we as the Fiat Republic team now continue together. That is what matters.

“The destination is important because it sets the vision, but the experience that you get from different vantage points or observations along the way is as important as your destination.”

Adam Bialy on the three components of the Fiat Republic value proposition:

“Looking at the multiple value propositions from different angles and combining them into one is very much the core of Fiat Republic. The first one is banking-as-a-service, which is the aggregation of banking rails and providing them through one single access point, which is an API.

“So, you only connect once to get access to seven, eight different currencies that are provided by eight different banks behind the scenes, but you as a business customer, you don't see this. All you see is Fiat Republic or another banking-as-a-service player who you connect with through one API which allows you to send money through those rails or keep money on those rails. That is banking-as-a-service at its core – aggregation of banking and payment rails.”

“The second value proposition, given that we are essentially a banking as a service player specializing in crypto, is compliance-as-a-service, which is where we’re getting into some really difficult stuff.

“We’re trying to gather the biggest crypto players into this consortium, and while will give them some benefits, we really need their collaboration.  We need you (the crypto players) to play with us in terms of compliance so that we can help you and help the crypto industry change the perception of you and your services with banks and the regulatory community.

“That conflict is so big – on the bank side, it's often based on a misconception, i.e., ‘I think crypto is this, or I think crypto is that’. Then the bank’s CEO says something and suddenly, the entire department says the same thing, and then that results in the internal risk policy that is just banning crypto.

“The third part that is tying it all together is the consortium. Beyond just a compliance play or making crypto more palatable for the banks, we’re also trying to give the crypto industry a voice. This is a voice that has been lacking because this is a nascent industry still in its infancy.

“We're trying to bridge that gap, gather them together, give them a voice, advocate for them with regulators, and join the lobby groups to represent our members. We’re going to leverage the understanding that we have from being in the middle of this to inform the parties that are not necessarily involved in crypto on a day-to-day basis.”

Adam Bialy on the current state of play between banks and crypto platforms:

“In crypto, we're at this inflection point where fiat currency is absolutely necessary for crypto to take off in any meaningful manner because this is where customers come from. They come in via traditional currency, it’s the only way in – it’s the entry port. 

“Without fiat as an entry port, you really can't do web3.   This isn’t even about web2, this is traditional banking, managing your money as it has been managed for hundreds of years. That clash of two worlds, the world of banking, fintech and payments with the world of crypto is creating so much friction right now that it's literally preventing the growth of the crypto industry.

“There’s a ceiling that the crypto industry can’t surpass because the traditional world of finance doesn't want to play. That is the main conflict. Banks are really scared, and this is a very specific type of fear. It's a fear of the unknown. They're scared of something that they cannot understand.

“Fiat Republic is taking what we believe is a systemic problem that handicaps the growth of the crypto industry and we're addressing it with a systemic solution. Putting in place a specific banking-as-a-service API just for crypto but also making sure that it's addressing the systemic problem is harder than just providing an API.

“But it is what needs to be done because otherwise, nothing is going to change in this intersection of the two industries.”

Adam Bialy on finding his unique leadership style:

“It's a silly story, but it actually ended up working quite well for me. As I was advancing in my path of establishing myself as a leader I watched Lord of the Rings, and I tried to look at the different relationships that the members of the Fellowship of the Ring had with one another.

“It just dawned on me that it's almost like a utopian leadership style where you're considering the completely different personalities and skillsets and giving them their own space and then empowering them. Somehow, as a unit, the team just works brilliantly and then ultimately manages to deliver the goal that was put in front of them.”

“It's just a metaphor for appreciating the differences, diverse perspectives and experiences people have, giving them space to shine and pulling it together as a highly diverse and differentiated team that can lean on one another. And we’re all aligned under one vision and one overarching objective – to help crypto go mainstream.”

LINKS:

Episode title inspired by Mainstream by OutKast

Learn more about Fiat Republic and connect with Adam Bialy

Leave a review and subscribe on Podchaser| Apple Podcasts | Spotify| Google| Overcast

Check out our MoneyNeverSleeps website

Subscribe to our newsletter on Substack

Follow MoneyNeverSleeps on Twitter

Follow Eoin Fitzgerald on Twitter

Follow Pete Townsend on Twitter

Get in touch at info@moneyneversleeps.ie

 

--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/moneyneversleeps/support

Adam Bialy Profile Photo

Adam Bialy

Founer & CEO, Fiat Republic