Caitlin Long, a former Wall Street executive who has helped Wyoming enact 13 blockchain-enabling laws, is taking advantage of the progressive Wyoming legislature to establish a first crypto-native bank in the U.S. The bank’s name is Avanti, which means “forward” in Italian.
Long made this announcement earlier today in a series of 29 tweets. She believes that “a critical piece of U.S. market infrastructure is missing – a regulated bank that can act as a bridge to the Federal Reserve for payments and [offer] custody for BIG institutional money.”
Long thanked Wyoming governor Mark Gordon for making this possible, as Avanti takes advantage of the special-purpose depository institution law “which is the optimal regulatory-compliant structure in the U.S. for providing financial services around crypto.”
Cointelegraph spoke to Caitlin Long regarding the launch:
“There’s not a bank in the US that can custody crypto right now – so this means trust company custodians are the only alternative at present. But trust companies can’t offer the risk reduction benefits of direct access to the Fed.”
However, Long notes that this special-purpose depository law has stringent regulatory requirements. According to this law, all deposits — in the case of Avanti, crypto deposits — must be 100% reserved. Avanti will also not be allowed to use deposits for any financial operations of its own — a practice known as “rehypothecation.” Strict Know Your Customer standard must be applied. “DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT trying to use Avanti for illegal/nefarious purposes!!!!!!!!!,” warns Long in a tweet.
Long stated that she has had many long conversations with Adam Back, CEO and founder of Blockstream and an early contributor to Bitcoin, prior to starting Avanti. She believes that Blockstream is an “ideal partner for serving BIG institutional investors that require regulated banks to deliver them services around bitcoin in USD markets.”
However, she states that Avanti will stay “protocol neutral” and will welcome all cryptocurrencies demanded by clients. According to Long, we can also expect to see:
“STRANGE BEDFELLOWS because it’ll attract the best from the crypto & traditional worlds. I’m comfortable + have deep relationships in both worlds & I am equally comfy in NYC’s concrete canyons as in the wilds of Wyoming.”
Long expects Avanti to open its doors in early 2021. If Long is right that could lead to the influx of a significant amount of new liquidity to the market.
This story was updated at 1.20pm EST/02.25.2020 with Caitlin Long's response