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Blockchain & Crypto With Expert Patti Wubbels

Headlines are filled with challenges around FTX, stablecoins, and crypto in general making it seem like the industry won't be surviving or worth looking into anymore. But does it really mean that these products and block chain uses should be ignored? In this episode, Mark Treichel interviews Patti Wubbels, an Educational speaker and writer on Digital Assets, Cryptocurrency, DLT/Blockchain and DeFi in the Financial Industry, Consulting on Cost Savings, Revenue Growth and Process Efficiencies, and more! When it comes to vendor selection, Patti is the person to look for expert advice. Tune in and learn why blockchain and cryptocurrency products are still very much worth looking into despite the negative headlines about the industry.


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Blockchain & Crypto With Expert Patti Wubbels

I’m excited to have Patti Wubbels here today. She works with Strategic Resource Management. Patti, how are you doing?

Mark, it's so great to be here. Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.

I’m excited to talk about digital assets and cryptocurrency. I’ve got your LinkedIn profile up. We connected on LinkedIn. You work with Brent Lapp. I had Brent on one of my earlier episodes. At the time he said, “If you ever want to do an episode on digital assets and crypto, I know who you need to chat with.” You had posted something on LinkedIn that I wanted to chat about with my audience. When I saw it, I was like it's time now to get on a talk because there's so much going on tied to FTX and the collateral damage of FTX. I thought I would walk through and read what you posted so we can start talking about this exciting arena.

Your post said, “Given some of the details emerging around the FTX collapse, our SRM digital assets advisory team has been fielding comments and questions around additional initial due diligence and ongoing compliance requirements with these third parties. A growing number of financial institutions are seeing this event as an opportunity to win back consumers and offer solutions to protect customers and members who trust them to do, and they're turning to SRM to help them build a safe and forward-thinking strategy. You're going to want to call us on this. Your regulators and customers members will thank you.”

I called you because there's a lot going on. I view a lot of these things as regulators do. I believe if you put all regulators together, I have a pretty broad risk appetite because of the journey I took through NCUA and the positions I held. This whole crypto blockchain environment you know ore in your pinky than I know entirely. Let's chat about the calls you're getting and the things relative to FTX. I read your message to mean this is an opportunity where people who are doing things right can make some positive moves forward. What's going on at SRM in this arena?

I appreciate it, Mark. Where do we start? This is a journey that we've been on for the last couple of years. When I posted that, it was a message to those that were in process of thinking about doing something, as well as those institutions who haven't done anything yet, to not be deterred or scared by it. I understand it completely from a regulatory aspect and from a reputational risk standpoint, and the fact that credit unions have so many other alligators in the pond right now. If you put a reason enough in front of them to push it to the side, they will do that.

Our fear is that by not addressing where this ecosystem is continuing to grow, despite what's going on with FTX, you're always weighing the risks and benefits, but there's risk in not doing anything at all. Just like what happened back in May and June timeframe when we had the Stablecoin debacle that happened, which in hindsight, was helpful because it gave us all the understanding of not every Stablecoin is created equal.

You're always weighing the risks and benefits, but there's also a risk in not doing anything at all.

We were able to set parameters around that. We've had this unfortunate FTX debacle, which is larger than life and larger than it should be. What's unfortunate is it does give a black eye to this ecosystem that's trying to grow up. It's got this baby here and they're trying to get into their toddler and teenage years. We're getting squashed down because of somebody that wasn't doing it in the proper fashion. Everybody in this community agrees that regulations should be put in place.

It will give the necessary comfort for people to keep moving forward if we have some of those regulations, just like we did in the early days of the internet. There was a paper that was put out by the president at that time, Clinton, that said, “Here are some rules to abide by.”

It wasn't reg or law. It was just like, “This is good practice.” I don't think, up until this point, crypto has been a little bit self-regulated. There's a delicate balance between having regulation and stifling that innovation. We want to make sure that we have those regulations, but we also want to make sure that we're not cycling or we have the benefit of having the upside to the internet and the dot-com boom and all of that with some amazing companies that came out it that are headquartered in the United States. We don't want to miss the boat as a country as this worldwide system is growing.

To go back to your question, we have clients already. We have a handful of credit unions already. By the way, credit unions have a huge advantage right now. We can come back to that statement if you want to, but credit unions understand this struggle because you have a group of people that got together in 2008 in the middle of a credit crisis that are like, “There's got to be a better way. We don't trust the people who've been doing it for us. Let's figure out a new way to do it.”

Guess what? Credit unions came from that same philosophy. From a very philosophical standpoint, credit unions understand that. We've seen a lot of our clients who've been working with us over the past year or two moving through that, "Let's learn about it more. We don't understand it. Tell us more. What does it mean? How does it impact our members? How does it impact our business? Who do we partner with? This is something we're creating on our own. We're not writing code. We're not doing this stuff, so how do we partner and how do we go through the RFP process and the contracting? How do we roll this out?” That's what we've been doing for the last two years. When something like this happens, it doesn't mean that everybody goes, “I knew it. This is all a fad and it's going downhill.”

Just like the internet, I go back to this a lot of times when I do my speeches or my education. It has to go through this creative destruction and get to the place where there's a paradigm shift, and there will be a paradigm shift. It's the biggest technological advancement we've had in our human history and it's easy to look back on it. It's hard to figure it all out when you're in the middle of it. That's where the challenge is.

As I said before, these credit unions have all these other things. They got other alligators that are closer to them that they may not see this is one that they need to keep on the radar as well. With that said, what we're doing is making sure we're re-emphasizing the proper due diligence. It is crazy to me that FTX did what it did without any of the smart people involved or any of those people, not questioning what the heck was going on just from a pure business standpoint.

Now we all look at it and go, "We should have seen that. " It doesn't have anything to do with crypto and blockchain. If a business was doing things wrong, they were not being audited the way you're supposed to be audited, and they were not doing good business practices. Unfortunately, the brunt of that is the crypto community. That's where we're at now.

You think about every market that matures, I always compare things back to a bell curve. You got different groups out there, and you got the leaders on one end of the bell curve, and then you got the never do wells or the ones that blow up, don't have accounting records, over-leverage, or do some of the things with customer deposits that lead to all of a sudden, there being many zeroed number of missing assets.

This is a random thought, but one of the ones that blew up in bankruptcy court was saying that the deposits that were put on into them were theirs and not their customers' as it determines under bankruptcy, which wouldn't be the case in a credit union or a bank or an insurance company. It gets to those regulations. It's a little bit of the Wild West. In the end, this is all good because there will be better regulations. There was so much effort from what I understand to try to mitigate and limit the regulation that there will be more now, whether it's SEC or the other agency that FTX was trying to push it towards, which I don't even know the name of.

It'll be multiple agencies weighing in differently because it's so expansive, which is why we've had such a challenge so far. There are little nuances that keep falling under different areas. To your point, this is a good thing. We'll see it. It's hard to see it when they're in the middle of it. The way the headlines read are unfortunate and misguided. It'll be something we'll look back on and go, “This is how we got to where we're at now.”

The point about this that’s important is it's not a fad and it's not going away. Your institution has to ask itself, "Where do we need to be right now? Maybe we don't have to be at the forefront, but we cannot ignore it. We are getting guidance from the NCUA that gives us a little bit of direction and let's look at the numbers.

WFC 60 | Blockchain
Blockchain: Your institution has to ask itself, “where do we need to be right now?” Maybe we don't have to be at the forefront, but we cannot ignore it.

The first thing is we need an assessment. Let's look at your outflows, inflows, and what your member type is. There are different ways that you can look for use cases. Everyone, us included, has focused on crypto. When we first launched our advisory practice, we were a crypto advisory. We changed our name to Digital Asset Advisory because like everybody else, we learned at some point, it's not just about the crypto and it's not just about buy, sell and hold.

In the early days, there were intranet and the internet. There were people trying to figure it out. Some things worked and some things didn't. Here we're now and our internet “now” is very different. When we use our phone and we use apps on our phone, we don't realize we're using the internet. I can't explain 5G, but it definitely changed the way we do things. We don't print off directions anymore. We use our GPS. When you think about the financial community, this is another powerful iteration of doing what we've already been doing. We have deposits, checking accounts, cards, and all these things, but it's going to be a new way to do it.

It’s just like before when we had ATMs, mobile banking, and online banking. All of those things that we use now to do the same basic financial function are going to happen with this next iteration. I don't know what it's going to be called crypto or Bitcoin or defi or blockchain. It may have a whole different name. We don't know. It's definitely not something that an institution should ignore. The challenge is you have all these other things you're trying to pay attention to as well. That's what's hard.

NCUA has guidance on this and is listening to the NCUA board, it's clear they're all very supportive of not wanting credit unions to be left behind. There's a guidance letter out that I believe Vice Chairman Kyle Hauptman was a big proponent of and that he pushed for. When I heard him speak on the topic, one of the advantages credit union has is it presumes that credit unions can play in this market as opposed to the FDIC and OCC where a pre-approval needs to happen. There's this sandbox to "play in" that exists because of the way NCUA has approached it. That links also to the way you're referencing the Clinton administration in the beginning of the internet being started up, not wanting to get left behind.

That's another reason why credit unions have an advantage right now, fortunately, because banks don't have that support coming from their regulators. Their regulators are not saying you can't do anything and NCUA is not saying anything you can't do. What the banks have to do is submit in written form what they plan on doing and then wait to receive a letter of non-objection. From a credit union standpoint, the NCUA has put out these two guidelines. One is saying you can use third-party vendors to explore different use cases and offer different things to your members. As long as you're not breaking any rules, which we know the rules.

When we say sometimes like the Wild West, there are certain parts of it that feel that way, but there are other parts that are from a regulatory perspective. When we take a credit union through exploring use cases and exploring vendor relationships, we are going through all the questions and how it integrates, who's your liquidity provider and how you’re audited. All of these are important questions. By the way, if a credit union has never done this for crypto or digital assets, and everyone is going to be at this point, they may not know all the questions they're going to need to ask. That is why we're trying to help them through those so that they aren't missing anything.

Whether a financial institution does this or not, they are still going to have to talk to their regulators about their position in this space. That can be one of three ways. It can be, “We're not doing anything at all,” and the regulator might say, “What about your strategic plans?” There's a question that has to be answered if you're not paying attention to it. You've got outflows now. Maybe your loans are lower because people are going somewhere else. There will be an impact on it.

You could be doing a third-party application through your core or through your online information provider, and the regulator can say, “Why are you using that vendor?” It's not going to suffice to say, “Because my core provider said that's who they're integrated with,” or “That's who my online banking providers integrated with.” You still have to have that due diligence. You can't just say, “I’m going to wait and see what my core provider offers and I’ll just do that. Now we're doing crypto.” That's not how it works. It's much more complicated than that. It's not just another feature functionality on your mobile banking like a Zelle product or anything. It's not something you're just adding to.

The third scenario is what we've been doing is stepping those credit unions through, "Educate us more. Tell us what the different use cases are." As a group, there are different areas within the institution that look at this and go, "This use case here resonates with our membership and our institution and what we're excited about. Now, let's go find the right partner to partner up with.” Here are the questions we need to ask to make sure we protect our members, protect our institution, and be able to answer our regulators. Now we're ready to roll it out. How do we market it? Those are all the things that we walk them through.

The regulator comes and they say, “How did you make a decision?” You can show them all of the steps that you went through. You went through the due diligence and you went through the RFP. You talked to three different vendors and did all of these exercises to get to the point you were at. The third parties we've looked up that we questioned whether they go through the RFP and do the demos, you're like, “I’m not sure that this is a sound partner that looks all good compared to some of the others.”

We do a scorecard. We're not here to make anyone's decision. We're not here to tell anyone they should or shouldn't be doing it, but here are the questions you should be asking amongst yourselves, and then make that educated decision. If you decide to put things on hold, great. You can decide to put things in a glass box and break it when necessary, you've got it ready to go and ready to roll out.

WFC 60 | Blockchain
Blockchain: We're not here to tell anyone they should or shouldn't be doing it, but there are questions you should be asking amongst yourselves and then make that educated decision.

If you wait too long, you're going to have to do a whole bunch of catch-up. It could cost more and it could take longer if you wait too long. Even if you go back to the internet, you think about where you might have been on mobile banking or online banking. Were you a fast follower? Were you at the very tail end of it? Also, the challenges that would've happened with that financial institution as you adopted some of those other technologies, what lessons did you learn from that, and apply that here in this case as well?

When you explained it that way, one thing that popped into my head was my discussion with your coworker Brent Lapp of Strategic Resource Management relative to how your organization will help a credit union deal with a vendor because you see a lot of the same contracts from a vendor. As a result, you know that there might be some opportunities in your contract that might not be in another contract. The light bulb went on when you said the checklist. You're essentially doing something very similar relative to the crypto-distributed ledger blockchain. It's very similar to what you do with the other types of products.

In use cases, there's crypto, blockchain and distributed ledger. There's the concept of how that's going to be a way to do accounting, send money more safely, and with better systems in there that exist now. If a credit union was listening to us chat here and they were saying what use cases I might want to consider, what would you say are the top 2 or 3 things that are being discussed, if you can share that?

The buy, sell and hold is one of the tops, but that's because everybody is talking about it. It does not mean that's what your institution has to do. When you start to look at the risk and benefits, a lot of credit unions start there because they start to see the outflows, our benchmark show for every $1 billion in assets, $1 million is going out to the crypto exchanges per month. That might be a little bit lower right now because of the crazy environment we're in, but it doesn't matter because whether it's the buyer or the seller, the financial institution could have a toll booth for money that's coming and going out of their institution.

For every billion in assets, a million dollars go out to the exchanges per month.

They could be partnering with a vendor that offers a custodial or a non-custodial wallet that would be helpful for their members to have a space or place to do these types of transactions. That's what we talked to a lot of credit unions about when they're looking at buy, sell and hold. You have an opportunity to offer a better product that you've vetted out. You've got more of a finger on than to have all of this money leaving your institution going out to a Coinbase or a Gemini or Kraken or FTX, and not be able to protect your members.

When you look at it from that standpoint is where some credit unions will say, "It might not be something I would do, but we have enough of our membership that's doing it. There's an opportunity here." It's like they made the decision when they decided to do ATM or mobile banking. It's the same thing. That would be the first one, buy, sell, and hold because that's what a lot of people are talking about. A lot of people are doing it and you look at your data, and you decide if these are the case you want to go with because of the writing on the wall.

The other one that we have a lot of institutions look at is crypto rewards. It's another way to get involved with it and dip your toe into it where travel rewards and money-back rewards are challenging. In any one of these use cases, you're taking a step back and going, "Where can we solve a friction point?" We've gotten used to the way we've done banking. I just bought a house in Florida and it took me two months to close on it. That's not uncommon.

We've all had our stories about buying a house, what we had to go through, and what challenges we had. As a financial institution, how can I make the process somewhere where we have these friction points, maybe they don't have to take that long, cost that much, and be that frustrating and challenging. That's where you start to focus on what use case you want. There are people that are mainstream that may not be buying crypto, but they’d be interested in those rewards because who knows? It's like the lottery. They might end up with more than what they thought that, originally, it's no money in their pocket per se. That's the second one.

The third one that we are excited about that has some time to mature is the lending space of it. The lending side. There are a lot of different ways you could look at lending. It could be where the organization is deciding, "Are we going to acknowledge Patti has $50,000 in Bitcoin and she wants to borrow $25,000 of it to buy a car for her son? Are we going to acknowledge that as an asset and make a loan for her and back that digital asset that she has with the crypto that she has?"

There are so many different ways that institutions can go with this. When we talk about distributed ledger technology and that blockchain, that's when you start to look at some of the use cases that are not maybe retail forward but member-experience positive. When you think about distributed ledger and you're looking at settlement time where you can settle quicker because you're using blockchain, and you don't have 2 or 3 days to wait for something to clear, you've got instant settlement opportunities.

With distributed ledgers, you got visibility into your intermediary so that you know information is accurate and fungible. You're able to make decisions quicker on that because there isn't this pocket of time between something that moves or not moving. When we think about the mortgage and the title situation, there's identity and proof of ownership that will happen. As NFTs are explored in this space, there's no doubt there's a fungible way of proving I own this property or that Mark owns this property and I’m buying that property from him. He transfers that title to me.

We didn't have to have any intermediary to that and hoped that they recorded it at the courthouse and research it and it costs us thousands of dollars. That's another friction point. There's identity management. Think about all of the credit unions right now that have the ability to log into a website and open an account from there. I’m sure that was a topic of conversation at some point about whether that was a risk. What if somebody takes advantage of the system? What about from a reputational standpoint if it goes down and people can't do it? It’s things like that.

When you think about identity, if I go online and I have to upload my information, my driver's license is a typical one. You don't need all that information on my driver's license to prove who I am. There's an opportunity in blockchain with the identity that you're able to frictionlessly open accounts and use certain financial transactions without having to go through this onerous proving who I am. If I'm already a member, we still ask for forms. Every time, we have to fill out those forms. Nobody likes filling out those forms.

It’s not just the financial community, but so many industries are starting to look at things and going, “We could do this faster and better. We could make this a better experience. By the way, it’s lower costs to the company.” For example, in a credit union, think about how much money is spent on cybersecurity and fraud. As people start to learn more about this blockchain, and they're able to reduce the cost to the credit union that they're spending on it, now they get to have higher rates in their deposits.

So many industries are starting to look at things and going: “Hold on a second. We could do this faster. We could do this better. We could make this a better experience.”

Now they get to have better rates on their loans because they've offset the cost of doing business, and they can pass that along to their members. That's why people get excited. I know Kyle Hauptman has talked about the lending side of it. That's why people get excited about where this is all headed. It’s like the early days of the internet and we don't know what it's going to look like. It's so exciting.

Eliminating the friction to be able to log in, not necessarily having to have passwords that you might have to change frequently, yet making it more secure because that's the essence of this. It’s that security side of it. That's a new discovery for me. That's somewhere where this might head. A couple of other things you said that I want to follow up on and make sure I understand from where I’m sitting. The crypto rewards, that's simply instead of me getting an Amazon gift card, I have the ability to go on some platform and buy a small share of crypto?

Somebody is giving you crypto as opposed to you buying it. Some people are excited about that.

I want to talk a little bit about self-custody versus not self-custody. I've got a Coinbase app on my phone because I have a very tiny amount that I purchased to play with.

That's a good point. If anyone here hasn't explored this at all, if you have PayPal or a Cash app, you can go and buy $5 of Bitcoin or Ethereum just to see what people are doing. You can do that just for experiments. If you're adventurous and you open a Coinbase as you did, you get to see what you needed to do in order to open that account. That makes some of our bankers understand that process. It's also very easy to do.

I myself opened an account online with a financial institution and with one of the new banks. I'm telling you, I do it quickly and I'm getting 4% on a savings account and it's not crypto because they've used blockchain to lower that. I apologize for just jumping in there. My point is to experiment with it for the sake of let's put a currency and see what it looks like and how it does. It's not investment advice.

It's playing with the systems and trying to understand them. Self-custody is where it's actually in your name, like registering in your name. Anything short of that is where you potentially get into a little bit higher risk.

Here’s the hashtag. Put it on your bumper sticker, t-shirt, poster, and all over your website. Financial institutions have to make sure that their members understand that this is not FDIC or NCUSIF insured. Whoever owns the keys owns the crypto. When you go out on Coinbase, you are trusting that Coinbase, like how people trusted FTX with taking their money, using it appropriately, and depositing it. It's going to be there if I need it, I can withdraw it whenever I want to. Even though you have your key and you have a public key, you still are trusting that you can access that exchange. That's a public exchange. Even though you have your own wallet, you are putting your money out on that exchange.

When you have your own wallet, you can have a cold wallet. You can have a third tri-party custody situation. This is where credit unions explore these third parties where they can offer custody or a non-custody option through their financial institution. What you're doing is spreading out because there are a couple of different things. This is like when the internet was clunky and cumbersome. You had the dial-up and you had three days to download a picture. It wasn't fun at first. It was complicated. Unless you were computer oriented, you didn't know what to do.

This is like that. There are people who haven't done it yet because it's very cumbersome to do so. Guess what, if I lose my keys, I lose all of the money that I put in there. It doesn't even matter. There are vendors who help distribute some of that risk. There are different ways that they do this, but there's a financial institution, there's a third party so that you still have more control over where that money is sitting, and you're going through that regulatory process.

If a financial institution is sharing that with a third party, they've gone through the necessary scrutiny.The credit union is auditing that third party to make sure that they're not selling the member or using the member's money to go do something else. They're making sure of test stations and that they're keeping up with the different licenses that they have to have. We did a webinar on the state versus federal versus international regulations that are being talked about, bipartisan regulations, and bills that are putting into place right now.

This goes back to my point earlier. If a financial institution has the opportunity for that CEO or anyone on that C-suite to partake in crypto themselves, they have to look at their membership or their potential membership. This can be where you're getting new members in a new market. What are they doing? What are they asking for? As opposed to you being on Coinbase, you could be working with your credit union and buying crypto through a safer environment It’s not anything against Coinbase, just the differences in weighing the risks and benefits.

As you explain it that way, a thing that pops into my mind, and I’m sure a lot of the credit unions you talk to, is capturing the youth market is a big challenge for some credit unions. That's the future if they're playing this game, and you're not.

The example that we give in this is a bank example, but they were one of the first federally insured institutions to offer a buy, sell and hold. It’s VAST bank down in Oklahoma, Arkansas. One of those two states in there. They had 25% net new customers eight weeks after launching their buy, sell and hold. When we sent somebody through a use case, we were saying, "Let's take a look at your strategic plan. Are your strategic plans to go after a younger market? Are you trying to get younger members? Are you trying to engage with your younger members that you already have?"

When you think about it that way, it goes back to maybe something that I would do, but it's something that a certain percentage of our membership, whatever that percentage is doing, do we need to do something about that? That's where it becomes not an emotional decision but let's look at the members, the facts, the data, and the risks and benefits. Let's see what can we do here. It’s just like what they did when they were deciding whether they should be able to let people remotely deposit checks. It’s the same conversation.

That’s a great analogy. On the lending space side, for example if I own crypto of $100,000, I want to get a car loan for $30,000. It's in a strong third party where there is self-custody. Credit unions might be comfortable doing an LTV of 50% with the ability to ask for more collateral if it goes down. I'll let you borrow up to $50,000 or $100,000 and then you set those parameters up to watch that and monitor that. If you have good relationships with the quality of knowing that those assets will ultimately be there, that's one thing versus the other where you might not. Do I have that right?

Yes, for sure. A couple of key pieces in there are looking at the risks and benefits that you are allowing your members to have as they're building their digital wealth. At some point, you have to ask yourself. We're having financial discussions with our members and we're not talking about this growing piece of that pie because people are diversifying. We go through the numbers of how many Americans own crypto, how much they have, how much they're buying, and where they're putting it. They're still doing it. Even with what happened to FTX, it's still happening. That's not going away.

The value has been all over the place, but people are still buying it because of a lot of different reasons we're not talking about now. They're diversifying and you are offering something. If you are offering that loan, you are able to over-collateralize it. As you said, you can decide. Because there are not a lot of people doing it right now, you can set the market in your own market. You can do 50%. You can do 75%, whatever percentage you want to, and then set it.

It's a low-risk and high opportunity for financial institutions. It's income that they're generating. It's the member experience. Another key piece to that will be the importance of the financial institution having access to those keys. That's where you get that tri-party relationship because if they do have to pull it, they've got to be able to access that crypto if they need to take it away.

Sometimes the ridiculous example makes the best point. If someone has $10 million in crypto and happens to have $400,000 in the credit union. For whatever reason, they don't want to use that $400,000 in the credit union and they like to use the millions of dollars they got in crypto to get a better interest rate and you say no, are you ready for them not to be your member?

That's correct. People aren't going to want it. Some people will say, "Why are they not just using their crypto?" You don't want to take that out. It's an investment or you just have it sitting there, and it could be a taxable event. I can walk in and say, "I've got this money." Think about the potential members. When you think about it, it's not even just younger members. It's members who've been disenfranchised for a very long time. This is another philosophical angle on this.

You've got potential members in your community who have been in that vicious cycle of payday lending, loan sharks, and Western Union, where they've been paying an exorbitant amount of fees. They've already gone to crypto because they've seen they can have access to financial products that they didn't have access to before. They've started building their digital wealth. Now you have a new membership that you can target that isn't even in the current union system yet. We're not talking about younger members, but maybe they just got out of prison. Maybe they are a low-income community. Maybe they're immigrants. They're older or disabled.

There are a lot of those individuals who are not banked or underbanked. Credit unions understand this. They're always fighting for the people who are disenfranchised. This is another way where A) they've been building their digital wealth, now they're making a great member, and B) they're maybe a member that's been borderline. They've run into the fees all the time and now they've started participating in this ecosystem and started getting themselves out of that vicious cycle. From a rural standpoint, we love the use case for a member who's sending money back to their family and before we're paying huge cross-border fees, which is another example of a use case.

There are credit unions that send businesses out the door down the street to a bigger bank to do cross-border payments because they only do a certain amount. They don't want to have to go through all the procedures that you have to do it. That's an opportunity for financial institutions to build those members or get new members. Now they can offer something in a safe way where a member can now send money back to their families through their crypto wallet that they weren't able to before because they were doing it through Western Union and all of the challenges and friction points that Western Union would have or any type of wires. Anything like that is a huge opportunity. For credit unions that have that membership, that's a great opportunity.

We could go on for several more hours talking about this and you could help educate me on all the things I don't know. Is something I should have asked you relative to this that you'd like to answer?

I guess the biggest question is should we be putting this on hold right now? To our conversation already, it's not necessarily on hold. What we were actually talking about after what happened with the Stablecoin was this is a perfect opportunity where you don't have to do anything immediately, but that doesn't mean don't do anything at all. It's like the pandemic. You didn't see it happening and yet you have to make decisions right away.

With this, you see it coming. You see the opportunities that are evolving and the use cases. Keep exploring and keep having conversations. Keep doing education and talking about it in the different business units because somebody will come up with a great idea, “What if we did this or can we do that?” It's definitely not doing anything, but there's an opportunity in this space where you good educated decisions as opposed to having a split second. If you wait too long, now you're going to have to do catch. There are risks in catching up when you're at the back of the line.

That's a great way to end this. Patti, if someone wanted to get in touch with you at Strategic Resource Management to discuss anything that we've chatted about, maybe they're thinking about dipping their toe in, maybe they do want to start exploring and educating, what's the best way for them to reach you?

I’m on LinkedIn. Larry Pruss heads our Digital Asset Advisory team. We're both on LinkedIn. is our website. There's theDigital Asset page. We're often doing webinars. We're out on the speaking circuit. I would encourage following us on LinkedIn because we do post information specific to financial institutions and address some of those headlines. We never have time to read into the article or take the perspective of the author. Don't be afraid. It's just like anything we're looking at. Whatever subject you're looking at, don't just believe the headline. Think about it critically, read into it, and take it with perspective on where this environment is trying to go.

WFC 60 | Blockchain
Blockchain: Don't be afraid. Don't just believe the headline. Think about it critically, read into it, and take it with perspective on where this environment is trying to go.

Back to education and seeking to understand so you can make the best decisions for your credit union and your members.

It's exciting though. When I worked at a bank in Lincoln, Nebraska, I loved seeing my president's office when I was a young person before social media came along. I said, “Social media is the next thing. We need to communicate with our customers at a different level." They said, "It's a fad. You can go ahead and leave." I had the opportunity to talk to some students at Austin at A&M University. I said, “I wish I was younger because it's so exciting.” We don't know what it's going to look like. It's messy right now. Traditional finance is being asked to think about this in a completely different way,“It doesn't make sense because we're used to this, but we're trying to do that.” Make no doubt. It's exciting and there are a lot of great things that are coming out of it.

I understand that more now after spending time with you, Patti. I want to thank you for your time.

Thanks so much, Mark.

I want to thank you for tuning in. This is Mark Treichel signing off With Flying Colors.

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