Institutions remain risk-averse about crypto, says Fireblocks CEO

Fireblocks recently announced a MPC wallet as a service product

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Fireblocks CEO and co-founder Michael Shaulov had some harsh truths to share for institutionally-minded crypto natives — that is, people who want to see Fortune 500 companies develop blockchain solutions and dive headfirst into Web3.

“The crypto native crowd is a subset of the market that they are interested in going after,” Shaulov said during the Permissionless conference today in Austin, Texas. “Most of their addressable market is actually people that have never interacted with crypto or Web3 before.”

That’s why, Shaulov said, it’s even more complicated for large, household-named corporations to launch successful Web3 ventures. 

Meta’s Diem project is a perfect example of a big company misfiring in the blockchain space. Formerly known as Libra, Diem was Meta’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to introduce a stablecoin. 

But this isn’t something that’s just an issue with Meta, according to Shaulov.

He cited a recent Coinbase survey, which found that 52% of the Fortune 100 have established some kind of initiative relating to Web3 or crypto since 2020. 

Looking at that number in isolation makes the state of adoption look rosy, but Shaulov said he believes that fewer than 50 recognizable brands have launched major Web3 initiatives that are repeatable.

That’s simply because there’s too much risk, which exists mainly on the regulatory front, Shaulov said. The confusion companies deal with boils down to things as foundational as how to structure a balance sheet when crypto is involved.

“If you have [ether] ETH you need to pay for transactions or you’re holding assets for your clients, how do you account for it?” Shaulov remarked.

Additionally, companies may be wary of entering crypto because of all the different licensing regimes worldwide, Shaulov contended. Finally, security concerns linger for companies that might debut wallet-based products.


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