In a recent tweet, venture capital and angel investor Santiago R. Santos proposed several investment opportunities to his followers, questioning which endeavor would have the most significant impact on the crypto industry. Overwhelmingly, 77% of the more than 2,000 votes supported the notion of building a new “crypto-friendly bank.”
The recent collapses of major crypto-friendly banks such as Silicon Valley Bank, Signature and Silvergate have left an open space for industry clients. Santos shared his plans to fill this void on the Empire podcast, while admitting that he’s not necessarily a “good builder,” but he is a “better investor.” In fact, he says that this is likely the worst time to establish a crypto-friendly bank, given the current market condition and the ongoing collapse of many smaller banks.
Despite the challenges, Santos is inspired to create and sees an opportunity for a bank that works. While he has no interest in running a bank, he envisions himself assembling a team and guiding it with his experience from both the crypto and traditional finance worlds. He also believes that building an “everything bank” would service individuals who are on and off-boarding from crypto, as well as businesses and institutions.
Santos acknowledges that creating a bank that caters to these various interests is a massive, Herculean effort and that there are no guarantees of success. His plan to start the venture in Europe will capitalize on his understanding of how banks operate in countries like the UK, France, and Switzerland. The recently established MiCA framework also presents more possibilities for growth and expansion.
For Santos, attracting top talent from both the crypto and traditional capital markets will be crucial for success. By assembling a credible team and obtaining a banking license, the venture can begin to take shape. Although it’s possible to purchase a license from a business in distress, Santos is more interested in starting from a clean slate and building a dominant market presence with “JP Morgan quality.”
In conclusion, Santos is serious about constructing a good bank and a dedicated team for the crypto industry. As interest in cryptocurrencies continues to grow, there’s a significant opportunity for a high-quality, user-friendly, and crypto-focused bank to emerge. While the road ahead is uncertain, these initial ideas and plans discussed by Santos offer a glimpse into the potential for a much-needed asset in the world of cryptocurrency.