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Pathfinder unpacks its Easy Crypto investment

Pathfinder's John Berry says while the company won't directly invest in cryptocurrencies it is interested in solving a bigger problem - helping the world's 'unbanked' find financial security.

Monday, October 11th 2021, 6:00AM 1 Comment

by Matthew Martin

Pathfinder's John Berry.

On Wednesday last week, New Zealand's largest cryptocurrency retailer Easy Crypto secured the backing of some big names in the finance sector after raising $17 million in Series A funding.

According to Easy Crypto co-founder Janine Grainger, the company was initially looking to raise $10 million but the oversubscribed capital raise of $17 million would help it expand into more overseas markets including Indonesia, the Philippines and other parts of Asia.

Among the funders was Pathfinder KiwiSaver and its parent company Alvarium Wealth.

Pathfinder chief executive and co-founder John Berry says half a per cent of its KiwiSaver fund has been invested into the company.

"Actually, to be exact, we’ve just invested in the infrastructure around crypto," Berry says.

"Why? While we’re not ready to invest in cryptocurrency itself, we’re totally interested in Easy Crypto’s ambition to help solve a global problem.

"The future of their platform is democratising finance for people around the world who lack access to a conventional banking system.

"Incredibly, there are 1.7 billion adults around the world who are ‘unbanked’ - shut out from opportunities for financial security."

Berry says this positive social impact aligns with Pathfinder's wider ethical investment strategy.

"We are not ignoring issues around the energy needs of Bitcoin nor the anonymity that crypto provides, but these need to be balanced against potential positives for an ethical investor from decentralised finance.

"This is much much more than just trading cryptocurrency."

Berry says Easy Crypto is already in Brazil and is launching offshore in the Philippines - both countries have significant numbers of adults without access to banking.

He says the investment also aligns with some of Pathfinder's previous investments - the Women’s Livelihood Bond (providing micro-finance to women in South-East Asia) and Sharesies (a platform democratising investing).

"There’s potential for significant disruption - from leaps in tech and from decentralised finance.

"We’re not buying Bitcoin or the price volatility of crypto – we’re investing in the global growth of New Zealand’s leading crypto player," he says.

"Like all our KiwiSaver’s private asset investments we have ‘right sized’ the investment for risk and uncertainty, but we also recognise the significant investment upside."

In July, Pathfinder was awarded Best Ethical KiwiSaver Provider and Best New Ethical Fund at the Mindful Money Ethical and Impact Investment awards.

Tags: Alvarium Wealth cryptocurrency Easy Crypto Impact investing investment John Berry KiwiSaver Pathfinder

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Comments from our readers

On 14 October 2021 at 10:10 am nzeverydayinvestor said:
So that's an interesting look into the issue of Bitcoin mining energy consumption and the 'social good' it can provide worldwide to the un-banked. Either the 'E' serves the 'S', or the other way around? Can ESG-based investors really proceed beyond this point around Bitcoin without serious cognitive dissonance?

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