Robert Sharratt is the Managing Director, and co-founder of CrescoFin SA, a regulated, financial technology firm based in Geneva, Switzerland. Robert has 20 plus years of experience in investment banking and technology and is a thought leader in decentralized finance (DeFi). Robert is the new guest in this Dinis Guarda citiesabc openbusinesscouncil YouTube series.
Robert is a former investment banker, with a background in mergers & acquisitions and large corporate financings. He is the author of the book 1%. The book that the financial establishment doesn’t want you to read.: The first ever behind-the-curtain look at how banks really function, and their impact on society, published in 2019.
Robert holds an MSc degree in Finance from London Business School. In his early career, he was an M&A investment banker in London, Russia and Hong Kong, then in private equity, and then moved to Switzerland to invest his own money. He lives in Geneva and his interests include mountain-climbing, chess, piano, programming and distrusting authority.
Robert Sharratt Interview Focus
1. Can you tell us about your background, education and experience?
2. Can you tell us about Cresco?
3. Context on Switzerland and the banking regulatory structure of Cresco?
4. How do you approach the blockchain and DeFi approach on your product?
5. How do you manage the insurance part of the interest-bearing deposit account?
6. You financed the platform and recently you offered a wrapped equity token in a decentralised exchange. Can you tell us about that? And your token?
7. Can you explain how you are tokenising your equity you are offering?
8. You wrote recently about Why do we still use banks? Banks are dinosaurs. And DeFi is the meteor.
9. You wrote a book about fractional reserve banking and recently you wrote about Swiss private banking in the age of Coronavirus. Can you tell us about it and the banking / money industry at large?
10. How do you see the crypto and security tokens at large?
11. Where can people find your equity token and what exchanges are available?
Robert Sharratt Interview Notes
About Robert Sharratt’s background. My background is in investment banking. After graduating from London Business School I went on to work at different financial institutions across Europe, Russia, Asia, etc.
About CrescoFin. Our plan is to replace core deposit banking with code. It is the first time that a technology company has challenged core deposit banking. We do this essentially by using blockchain technology and insurance. Insurance is key to neutralizing the psychological advantage that banks have: a feeling that your money in the bank is safe. With us, everything is insured, whether you deposit $100 or $100 million.
Essentially what we have built is a bank alternative designed for savers. We came to where we are today after we were fed up with today’s banking system and the war on savers that has gone on for the past decade. Nobody really likes their banks. Nobody likes that the bank pays you nothing for having your money with them. So we tried to design a bank from the perspective of savers, really just to use ourselves. We wanted our money to work harder for us. We paid for all of it with our own funds and didn’t really think of it as a business. We tested our systems, also with our own funds, so that no one else’s money would be at risk. It turns out that if you cut out the bank using blockchain, there is a lot of fat margin available for savers. Then, to make the risk comparable with a bank deposit, we arranged insurance with Lloyd’s of London. People started to ask us if they could join us and put their money with us. So, we got the business regulated in Switzerland. We also got an ISIN securities code and had the products listed on the Bloomberg terminal. The end result is that savers earn higher returns for the same level of risk.
About the early days of CrescoFin. We haven’t financed our company using capital from third-parties; we built it ourselves and we paid for everything ourselves. We have tested everything internally, we built all the technology, the KYC and all regulatory requirements ourselves. We first launched the product in October 2019 (just with our own money) and we are still improving our solution. We have opened to selected institutions in Switzerland (family offices) and plan to roll out to institutions and then individuals globally in 2021.
We have tokenized our shares and started to offer them on decentralized exchanges. It is the first offering in crypto by a regulated firm of real equity tokens. The tokens are protected under Swiss law and were built using innovative open-source software designed by the C-Layer Standard (MIT license). Details at c-layer.org. We decided to offer the shares (tokens) on DEXes as part of our interest in decentralizing everything and supporting the DeFi ecosystem.
About Switzerland. Switzerland is the financial capital of the world with a safe and stable environment for decades. Home to one third of the world’s out-of-country wealth, Switzerland itself is built on a decentralized political model. The country has embraced new technologies, like blockchain, and regulation is clear and crypto-friendly, unlike many other jurisdictions.
About CrescoFin SA
CrescoFin is a regulated Swiss firm that offers insured, high-interest savings accounts in fiat and is developing an offer in stablecoins. CrescoFin offers placement opportunities in USD, EUR, GBP and CHF at much higher rates than in a bank. All deposits are completely insured, by Lloyd’s of London. The products have ISIN securities codes and are quoted on the Bloomberg terminal.
Aligning the latest innovation in fintech, CrescoFin uses matched funding + blockchain technology + insurance to deliver the products, with a vision to replace banking with code.
· CrescoFin offers Insured, interest-bearing deposit accounts. For now they offer saving accounts in USD, EUR and CHF.
· CrescoFin will offer stablecoins coming soon.
· For institutions and individuals.
· CrescoFin is powered by blockchain technology and will be available globally.
· It offers an alternative to traditional banking.
Links and sources
You can see Robert being interviewed by Raoul Pal of Real Vision here: https://www.realvision.com/shows/the-interview-crypto/videos/banking-disruptors-and-insured-crypto-yield?source_collection=0126e09d28a049d0abb1f9e9d571a1e1
Talking about the bank alternative that he is building that offers insured savings deposits here: https://exchange.realvision.com/post/the-future-of-banking—crescofin-5f771477d765f1248e2e8492
and speaking on Bankless here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtsQhha41Wc&t=1036s
Overview of CrescoFin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUhP1OPKaB8&t=3s
Interview with Stani from Aave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ThzIT7tqqQ&t=75s
CrescoFin’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn7k6OECkfEeya3T2aqbxoA
You can read some of their writings here:
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