Monetum had a chance to speak to Julio Ferrón de Jesús, a Senior Consultant, Financial Services – Financial Crime at KPMG Spain. His line of work focuses on driving opportunities within the crypto sector and also acts as a coordinator for KPMG’s European Virtual Assets Group in the area of FinCrime.
It was in 2015 when he first came into contact with the concept of bitcoin and has since been “hooked” by the potential impact it can have on the way people express value. Today, he specializes in helping crypto companies prepare to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.
Read on to learn more about our crypto conversation…
Can you tell us about yourself?
Well, apart from being a total enthusiast of the bitcoin phenomenon and the avalanche of innovation it has brought with it, I am part of the financial Crime team at KPMG Spain and I specialise in advising crypto (and non-crypto) companies on covering their ML (money laundering), Terrorist Financing and Fraud risks. Also I am coordinating the European Virtual Assets FinCrime Tech Group in KPMG, together with Alexander Kloepper from Germany, a guy which knows a lot about crypto too.
When did you first get involved with cryptocurrencies and financial technology?
2015, I read something about bitcoin and I guess like a lot of people, I didn’t give it much thought. Until I started reading Andreas Antonopoulos, who I definitely recommend to understand what it’s all about.
What is your area of passion in this industry?
As I said, I am focused on the AML area, but my interests in this world do not stop there. I believe that the great value lies in the potential to have a huge impact on the way we understand and communicate value to each other, having money that does not depend on central entities can change the rules of the game of the financial system. However, in my opinion, as of today, bitcoin is an asset that is presented as a great option as a store of value (ask Elon or Michael Saylor), but it is not yet ready to be a good means of payment. We will see what happens.
How do you see this industry evolving in the next 3-5 years?
Entertaining. Regulation on all sides. Regulators adapting to a new industry and crypto players adapting to a new environment. A challenge for everyone.
Apart from the Compliance and AML, which is your main line of work, what will happen?
I wish I had an answer to that. I do think we will see a period of adaptation and transition, CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) will arrive, private initiatives will appear (be it Facebook, Amazon…) We live in a tremendously uncertain world, however, the crypto world (or many projects in the crypto world) have the fundamentals to be interesting alternatives to the current financial system.
Will FIAT and cash disappear, and if so, when? Everywhere?
I don’t see too many scenarios in which fiat money will disappear, except in some specific cases of a country collapsing. I do think that cash, as the problem of financial inclusion is solved, will be left for residual use.
It seems that the original purpose of cryptocurrencies is now in the hands of the very players that this industry shunned. What do you make of this to big players?
Well it’s not all black and white. It makes sense that governments and regulators are starting to pay attention to a growing industry that brings with it many challenges. The problem is when the regulator does not fully understand what they are regulating as we have seen in some cases. Crypto needs to be regulated, companies need to avoid being used to funnel dirty money and investors need to be protected.
On the other hand, if traditional players who were previously opposed to bitcoin begin to position themselves in favor (either by investing or promoting related projects), it is nothing but a very good sign for the industry. If anything, it is open to anyone who wants to participate.
DISCLAIMER: This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the person being interviewed, and not necessarily to the interviewee’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.