15 Nov 2022 · 42 min read

Jason Guthrie, Head of Digital Asset Product for WidsomTree, on FTX bankruptcy and Digital Funds | Ep. 178

In an exclusive interview with cryptonews.com, Jason Guthrie, Head of Digital Asset Product for WidsomTree, talks about the FTX bankruptcy, tokenizing bonds, bringing traditional assets on chain, and making crypto more accessible to everyone.

About Jason Guthrie

Jason Guthrie is the Head of Digital Asset Product for WisdomTree in Europe. Guthrie oversees WisdomTree’s digital assets efforts which include bringing new products to market, identifying opportunities to enhance existing products, driving distribution strategies, and leading client education and engagement on cryptocurrencies. He is responsible for efforts beyond the traditional product set and is actively pushing the digital asset agenda by pursuing alternative and strategic projects.

Previously Guthrie was head of Capital Markets for WisdomTree in Europe for 4 years, where his team was responsible for ensuring clients had a smooth trade execution experience. Prior to joining WisdomTree, Guthrie worked at Deutsche Bank’s ETF Capital Markets group as well as Macquarie Bank as an Investment Executive based in Sydney, Australia. Jason holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from Macquarie University in Sydney.

Jason Guthrie gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview which you can see below, and we are happy for you to use it for publication provided there is a credit to www.cryptonews.com. 

Highlights Of The Interview

  • FTX bankruptcy; what this means for crypto moving forward.
  • Asia dominating the crypto exchange landscape.
  • WisdomTree’s crypto and blockchain strategy; WisdomTree Prime.
  • Bringing traditional assets on chain and making crypto more accessible to everyone.
  • Everything will be tokenized and digitized.

 

 

 

Full Transcript Of The Interview

Matt Zahab 
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the crypto news podcast. We're buzzing as always, it's your host Matt Zahab. And today, today, today, we have Jason Guthrie on the Cryptonews pod. He's the head of a digital asset product for WisdomTree in Europe. Guthrie oversees WisdomTree’s digital assets efforts, which include bringing new products to market identifying opportunities to enhance existing products, driving distribution strategies and leading client education and engagement on crypto currencies. Previously, Jason was Head of Capital Markets for WisdomTree in Europe for four years, where his team was responsible for ensuring clients had a smooth trade execution experience. Prior to joining WisdomTree, Jason worked at Deutsche Bank’s ETF Capital Markets Group as well as Macquarie Bank as an investment executive based in Sydney, Australia. Jason also holds a Bachelor of Commerce finance from Macquarie University in Sydney. I think I butchered Macquarie. There we go. Nonetheless, without further ado, I'm very pleased to welcome Jason Guthrie to the Cryptonews Podcast. Jason, welcome to the show, my friend. 

Jason Guthrie 
Hi, Matt. Thanks for having me. 

Matt Zahab 
Pumped to have you on my apologies on the butchering. I've actually never even heard of that. And it's a bit of a weird one almost has like a little French cling to it. 

Jason Guthrie 
It's named for one of the first governors of Australia when the British founded as a colony back in the day. 

Matt Zahab 
I'll get him next time. You can't win them all. Jason, the big news that is out and about this week, which will most likely dominate the Q4 news cycle in crypto. I don't think anything will be bigger than this. The two biggest exchanges have joined and are forming one we don't know what it's going to be. But the news just came across the wire. Binance is acquiring FTX all of FTX not just FTX us all FTX SBF, who sort of shut on other institutions and other exchanges for being insolvent is now part of the insolvency parade. How bananas is this? And what does this mean for the crypto industry as a whole? 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, it's a really big deal. I think, you know, what we've seen to date has been not to say it's not big deals, but relatively fringe kind of players in this space have been acutely affected by this right. Tara Luna is a relatively new coin and pretty experimental for algorithmic stablecoins ends up going under. Okay. We have, you know, retail brokers in Florida, we have a very leveraged lender and Celsius. But, you know, the guys that kind of seemed like more adults in the room were the people that had been running exchanges for a very long time established businesses and cash flows and this sort of stuff. So to see these guys merging, and, you know, a very major consolidation under, you know, rumors of kind of this liquidation potential around SBS businesses. That’s really big news, consolidating these two guys in the space, I mean, look for, for a lot of what goes on out there Binance and FTX, have been the innovators over the last kind of couple of years, at least within the trading and execution space. So, you know, it's interesting to see that they're trying to come together, does that make them some sort of, you know, big powerhouse? Or is this you know, going to constrain the way that the space operates going forward, we're gonna have to see how this unfolds, but very, very interesting stuff. 

Matt Zahab 
Is it, like my first initial thought was Binance already has so much control over everything. And FTX was really its only competitor more specifically, it's only competitor on North American soil. Excuse my ignorance, I don't even know if we the base exchanges in Europe, I probably BitPanda or someone of the like, but on the North American soil side of things, it's really just FTX and Coinbase, Coinbase. You know, after they went public, there's so many rules and regulations that need to follow, they can't really move and groove. But it just seems like China has such a stronghold now with, you know, he will be with Binance. And there's so many others too, like, I can't see this being a good thing moving forward. 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, I do worry about the competition side of things. I think that that's a very reasonable kind of thing to be concerned with here. i They also run very different businesses. And I don't necessarily like to see that disappearing from the market but Binance is a relatively big, sprawling organization, FTX has always remained, you know, pretty lean and focused on where they thought they could add value, and really try to go into that in a clever way. I one of the talking points that you also heard SBF talking about is that they do this with like an order of magnitude less employees than anyone else in the space like three or 400 people something worked for FTX and it's like 5000 at Coinbase. Right? So it was always really impressive that they were running the business in a very different ways. I don't like to see that exit the market. It is sort of a somewhat of a, you know, consolidation toward this big monolithic exchange model, and I don't I don't think that's I'm particularly healthy at this stage I want to see is continuing to build in trying different business models and innovating and growing. 

Matt Zahab 
Jason, do we know exactly why FTX needed this bailout? Like, I know, obviously, there was a big conundrum in regards to users not being able to withdraw their funds. But was there a specific event in particular, besides crypto getting dunked on? And besides the price of many of their assets, you know, having or losing 80% of its value? What was that sort of catalyst that made that last domino fall? 

Jason Guthrie   
I haven't seen anything conclusive coming through, like, as you say, this is still breaking news, and it's still unfolding. So we're gonna have to kind of look at it. You know, there is sort of concern conjecture around the, like, the quality of the assets that they were buying the assets like they've been on this buying spree, right. We've all been to kind of distressed assets and companies over the last several months. That's going to take a toll on the balance sheet. So I think it's gonna be interesting, as details come out about, you know, What, did they buy some things that they thought was salvageable, but it's just turning out that they're not? And how do they aggregate? What does that balance sheet look like? What are those assets look like? But I think we're going to need to wait, wait for that one to unfold. It does feel like it's a bit early to pin it on one thing. 

Matt Zahab 
I bet SPF definitely regrets buy in, like block phi and all those distressed companies. And again, it's like, I never really totally understood his rationale behind that. I it didn't seem like they were good investments. Yes, they got them at an extreme discount, but there's a reason why they got him at an extreme discount, it almost seemed like he wanted to put on his like, you know, Robin Hood, sort of a cape and didn't do his own thing. And just Galavan and, and, and sort of be hero? Like, am I on the line there? 

Jason Guthrie 
No, I don't think so. Look at the, the cynical view is that, you know, it wasn't altruism, it was designed to prop the crypto space up, right? Like if they emerged being strong and people still got faith in it because the word less bankruptcies and more people got their money back then they're gonna profit from the bull run that follows on from that, right. Maybe it was, you know, as you say, more of a Robin Hood type thing. And he felt compelled to save it out of the fact that he that he really likes it. But you know, in either way, he didn't necessarily seem like everything was a was a sound financial investment, right? To a degree, I think we've, if you're going to be in space, you need to accept that it is early, right? And that there is going to be creative destruction cycle, people are going to try new things, those things are going to fail, they're gonna go bust. And if it's not working, probably needs to leave the ecosystem to have a strong one at the end of it. 

Matt Zahab 
Crazy, crazy times, man and one of my favorite parts about these crazy times. And I talked about this all the time on the pod and to the listeners my apologies if we beat the Twitter dead horse a little too much but never in our lives have multibillion dollar acquisitions happened and before it goes live on the legit news wire, and PR teams get to blast it out. And lawyers sign docs, you have these founders, these billionaires just going crazy on Twitter, like it's pretty bananas, seeing how the news wire breaks down. Like, I guess relating that to a company like yourself, at WisdomTree, a multibillion dollar you know, TradFi company, that just wouldn't happen. Like your CEO would not just let it fly. Right up right off the bat. You know what I mean? 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, the PR cons for established companies for listed companies. It's very, very locked down. I guess we are in a bit of a unique situation where we do have these very big, very influential private companies. But you know, even for the private guys in the traditional space, in finance, like if you think about Bloomberg is a really good example of you know, a big influential, powerful but private company doesn't act like this so it is this you it's almost like internet culture being injected into the business. It's, interesting times. 

Matt Zahab 
Let’s keep buzzing on wasn't true for a little bit. A lot of people in North America, at least myself included until I did research for this always heard of WisdomTree. I didn't know how big you guys really were before we really get into it and how you guys are moving and grooving and crypto. Can you just let me know how frickin big the company is and how much you guys have, you know, assets under management, Aum because it is friggin absolutely massive. 

Jason Guthrie 
Yes. So we run about $80 billion, depending on on where the markets liquid. And we're about 75 Actually now given market moves. So we're about $75 billion. We’re very active in both North America in the US and in Europe. We have about 280 people globally. 

Matt Zahab 
So yeah, that's those are some pretty big numbers right there. And the reason why you're on the pod is you are running up the digital asset book, boutique strategy, whatever you want to call it over at WisdomTree. Seems like a lot of TradFi massive traditional finance institutions are getting into the space. Many of them have different strategies. How are you guys sort of paving your way into this and what strategies are you using to really make a name for yourself in the space? 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, sure. So but yeah, Right, like a lot of people are looking at this, I think it's every other week you get a news article about, you know, if it's Blackrock or JP Morgan or whoever is looking at entering the space, but I think there is, you know, a relative spectrum in terms of how how people are looking, it's a lot of guys are coming to the realization that you know, crypto is a real asset classes has been around for more than 12 years that this is here to stay. And it's something that they kind of need to take seriously others are coming at it from Hey, you know, can we use blockchain to maybe simplify some of our automation stuff and looking at kind of internally, where we’re coming at this from is we believe that blockchain native financial services, and crypto is going to form a part of that I believe that blockchain, native Financial Services is going to disrupt the industry, wholesale, right. And that we need to start positioning our business and building kind of solutions and products for clients that help them take advantage of that and help them to live more and more of their financial lives in that blockchain native ecosystem. So we ended with sort of a two fold strategy here, one, it's, you know, trying to bring traditional assets and financial services on chain as well as making crypto more available to the general public. And we think there's a symbiosis between these two activities. As people become more aware of familiar one, they're more interested in activity. 

Matt Zahab 
How do you how do you do those two? How do you bring traditional assets on chain? Of course, there's, you know, a couple, very in your face methods. And I'm sure there's a ton of under the table methods as well. And sort of a caveat to this question I have for you is I'm a big believer that. And again, this is no original thinking, There's no way I could take the credit for this. I've stole this from people hundreds of times smarter than me. But I'm a big believer that almost every single asset will be tokenized and will be digitized at some point right? Where it can be literally anything that we had ever imagined cars, insurance, you name it, where it will be tradable, right. And I also believe that you will be able to go to you know, your everyday grocery store and buy a pint of milk or a pint of, you know, at our six pack of pints with WisdomTree stock, or Apple stock or whatever. And I don't think we're too far out from that. But walk me through walk me through the sort of the whole process and strategy of bringing traditional assets on chain which they are in makes crypto more accessible to everyone.

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, absolutely. So I think the kind of starting point, for a lot of this is to really look at it as you know, an alternative ownership certificate, right? That's kind of tokenization. It's basic footwork, really, if you use the technical terms, like D materialized ownership is nothing new, right? The idea that there was an asset held securely in one location, that you got a reference of that ownership that was more tradable, right, if you think about a paper certificate for like a bar of gold that you have stored in a vault, that was a deep materialist thing that's evolved evolved and evolved over time. And the next evolution of that is blockchain native and tokenization. And that's because it just comes with a whole bunch of functionality that you don't get in, you know, the equities market or in the bond market, or, or anything else out there today in terms of like native peer to peer, much more control and transparency, much more transferability. So sort of features that we know add a lot of value. So this is kind of the very starting way to approach it is to just think about it, like it's an ownership certificate, run it like an asset management product, and make it available to people in that ecosystem. The best example of people doing things like this are the stablecoin providers, right? The fully backed ones anyway, right. So where you've got the Reserve or the cash held in a traditional bank account, and, and a reference of, you know, those dollar holdings that people can then utilize in some way, shape or form. So the practices for running programs like that, super well established, right? It's a big reason that WisdomTree is able to step into this space, is because, you know, running those pools of assets, that's what we do all day long. As I said, We run about $80 billion of product in that way today. And so bringing these concepts, bringing these press practices and putting them on chain is by far the easiest way to start to bring things to market. So we can look at commodities, like gold is a great example. We're working on a project around tokenizing gold, we've also just got approval from the SEC to do tokenized Treasury fund. So this is where we can have like a pool of US government bonds and make it available with a single token on chain and allow people to try that. So again, it's just following patterns and concepts that have existed in asset management financial services for a very long time dematerialized ownership, but using on chain record being a token as the that reference for ownership, right. This can evolve a long way from that that's definitely the starting point. Because this is where you can create a nexus between what exists works well, best practice today. And this new functionality that you that you get from tokenization it can definitely evolve beyond this right native issuance of assets on to blockchain is going to cut there's a lot of projects out there around bond issuances where people were starting, but people issuing equity natively As opposed to going, say, doing your IPO on the NASDAQ, or Kneisel, wherever they might actually issue it, you know, directly on the chain and traded on Coinbase, or Binance, I think FTX. Sorry. FTX is obviously merging Binance now, but like people have been looking at, like that tokenized security directly assurance for a little while now. And I know that traditional exchanges are looking to get into it as well. So that's where you lose some of the intermediaries and do that directly. And then there's sort of the evolution of how people think about value, and what could actually be held as part of a tokenized. Holding, and you mentioned a few kind of things in your intro there. I think it can go, you can really expand the idea of value from beyond something tangible or an investment to something that you use as part of that kind of digital financial life. So if I think about your mortgage, the deed the house is somewhat of an obvious one, people talked about real estate, but how about your credit score? How about your healthcare, your employment benefits, things that would benefit from more transparency, more control, more transferability, these would actually be other really powerful parts of value that interact with people's financial lives that I think would benefit from kind of tokenization as well. But as I think where we start is creating a nexus between, you know, this big financial real world asset ecosystem exists today and the tokenized. One, thinking about it like it's the next evolution in the materialized ownership. 

Matt Zahab 
I think, once again, like traditional Apple stock, or gold or a lot of these assets do no mind you, not the stock, no one actually treats like the friggin paper slips for an Apple stock anymore. But once it becomes tokenized and digitized, and is sort of quantified as crypto or part of blockchain technology, I think that's when the Gen pop will really sort of not be as you know, gray eyed about things, you know what I mean? I feel like that's when they'll be like, Oh, this, this technology can actually be used for assets that we understand and that we believe are for the greater good and can, you know, help us make some money. And I think that will that will really sort of kick off a good thing. But one of the things I want to ask you this, and you brought up a really good point about bonds. You're not the first person who's told me about this, and I never really took a deep dive in. But why are why are people so horny about tokenizing? And digitizing bones right now? 

Jason Guthrie 
That become a much more interesting I think instrument recently. It's there's a few reasons, right? Like a lot of the one of the most liquid most traded assets in the world, right? The amount of government debt, it's also one of the lowest risk ones. And it's something that people look to for generating a yield. 

Matt Zahab 
Isn't it the biggest asset class in the world? Yeah, yes. Right. It's crazy to think of that, because like, I like I don't, I've never traded one. Like, I feel like most people have never touched them in their whole lives. And it's the biggest asset class in the world. 

Jason Guthrie 
So I mean, everyone's heard of like, the government debt. It's a constant talking point in the US, right? They're raising the debt ceiling or the national debts up to X Y, Zed, that debt is raised through bond issuance. So for every dollar that you see in national debt in the US, there's a bond out there that is purchasable and tradable. That's the, that's, that's where that comes from. And it's huge that everybody would have heard of it, they might not have quite connected it to bonds. 

Matt Zahab 
Interesting. I forget the name of the Twitter account, just one Twitter account, it might be Zero Hedge or something like that. And every like two weeks, there's like a Fed instant or fed releases new bond repo. 1.1 trillion, it's like taken by 20 counterparties, including, you know, Goldman, JP, WisdomTree. Bubble. It's crazy. I'm just like, why is there so much money anyways, going back to the bonds? Why is everyone so keen on digitizing and, and tokenizing? All these bonds? 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, for sure. It looks so the bond market is actually, you know, pretty sluggish, it would just benefit from the tokenization benefits generally. But I think why we that's, that's sort of like the functional side of things. But you need to find the demand side of things as well. Right? There is a moment in markets right now, where I think it is a much more interesting asset class in that interest rates are up for the first time in a very long time, you can actually generate north of 2% of government debt. That's not something you've been able to do since well, before the financial crisis in ‘08, right. So this is actually suddenly becoming a more interesting asset class. And I think the idea that people could go and get that yield is becoming increasingly interesting. I mean, that's been the narrative in crypto and DeFi for, you know, the last that 18 months or so was trying to chase this return because it was impossible to get it in the traditional system with interest rates at zero, no longer the case. But I don't believe that you know, those that have gone into the DeFi crypto, whatever you want to call it, Blockchain native ecosystem actually want to leave, they're now just looking for more opportunities, and they want to stay in that space. tokenizing this asset class that is historically incredibly low risk, government debt is a very kind of safe haven asset and allowing them to kind of hold and interact with that and get the benefits of it the yield inside that. So that ecosystem is sort of like a savings account alternative, I think, is a really compelling idea. And this kind of comes back to the point that you made about like, you know, pay paying for something with a with a stock of Apple, right? It's that compressing of this, you know, sort of the silos that exist in the system today where there's like, you've got your spending stuff over here, and you've got your savings here, and you've got your investing over here. These can come together and have high functionality and take out some of the middlemen and some of the friction and rent seeking that we see in this space. So if you can just go and get that base rate directly from the government, that's much better than what you kind of get the savings account, right? If you've put money into savings, if you put money into savings Canada bank, right, just a really tangible example, if you put it in with JPMorgan Chase or whatever, they might pay you one and a half percent right, of interest on that savings account. And they've been lent it to the government at two and a half. And they just click the why. Why can't we just let people go raise money straight in the treasury account? They can have that 1%? That feels like a better system to me. 

Matt Zahab 
But would retail have an impact on the bond market? Like is there enough gunpowder on the retail side to actually move the needle or at least make a difference? 

Jason Guthrie 
You know, in the aggregate usage of it, right? Direct Investment is kind of one part retail puts their money to work through several kinds of avenues right? Now, that might be the money they've got aside for investment. But a much bigger chunk of it comes down through pension funds, IRAs, tax efficient rapids, this kind of stuff. So retails, indirect investment in it is already huge, primarily kind of through their pension funds. I think there's an evolution that can kind of happen there. But if we think about the adoption curve of something like this, the amount of money that you've kind of got sitting there for your savings side of things that we kind of the first bit that I think enters the space, so it's a meaningful number but in the aggregate multitrillion dollar kind of space, short run, probably not long run as kind of more and more of these less direct ways of doing these investments. And to that blockchain native world, it's absolutely meaningful. It's very few actual investments. As far as it's made a not retail at the end of the day, you know, if it's not IRAs, or pension funds, or whatever insurance and endowments are about the true, you know, independent kind of institutional money, sovereign wealth funds, stuff like that, but everyone else is running institutional money. At the end of the day, what we're really talking about here is a reorganization of that system to allow people to just get a bit closer to those investments, therefore less middlemen, therefore, more for the guard yet. 

Matt Zahab 
Very good point there. Folks, we are going to take a quick break. And when we get back Jason is going to tell us about WisdomTree’s prime but until we do that, gotta give a huge shout out to PrimeXBT. You guys know, I love PrimeXBT been using them for a hot minute as they offer a robust trading system for both beginners and professional traders that demand highly reliable market data and performance and PrimeXBT also is not going to be going under anytime soon, and will not be getting acquired by Binance. PrimeXBT is also running an exclusive promo for listeners of the Cryptonews pod after making your first deposit. If you use the promo code CRYPTONEWS50, you will receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. Again, the promo code is CRYPTONEWS50 that is all one word, CRYPTONEWS50 to receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. Now back to the show with Jason. Jason WisdomTree Prime. What exactly is that you guys are moving and grooving in that regard. And me myself, I looked it up. I am very curious to understand how you guys have partnered with some massive, massive partners like Stride, Galileo, Fire Blocks, sick currency, just lets you do a whole lot within the app, sort of everything you'd want within a digital wallet, really? So tell me more about it. And what you guys have planned in the future? 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, for sure. So as you say, WisdomTree Prime is sort of the retail facing direct to consumer mobile wallet that that we're building here at WisdomTree. It's sort of mission is to allow people to live more of their financial life in a blockchain native way, right? I think where we kind of separate ourselves out from what you may have seen with digital wallets in the past is a really high focus on sort of usability and customer service. Right? I think, you know, a wallet is the right description for it. But I think it falls a little bit short of what we're kind of trying to achieve here. Particularly if you compare it to a lot of the self hosted stuff that is out there. Really what we want to do is provide an experience that lets people hold interact, invests pay with digital assets, but in a way that is familiar and comfortable and helps build trust in the space. Right? So really, we want it to feel like an experience that people have today that they're comfortable with, but all built on top of public infrastructure, Blockchain all built on the top of kind of tokenization. But you know, for me, this would be, you know, a huge success if we can help bring in the next wave of adoption, a lot of people in crypto and, you know, perfectly comfortable with Metamask and browser extensions and managing 20 word seed phrases but my mum never going to do that. And if we want mainstream to come into the space, we have to focus on usability and making stuff easy. 

Matt Zahab 
And it has to be through companies like WisdomTree has to be through reputable multinational finance companies that the average Joe and Josephine can look at the logo and be like, Oh, I bank with these guys, or oh, these guys make my money work for me, you know what I mean? It has to be through the traditional players, it has to. 

Jason Guthrie 
Trust is what you're talking about here. And we're at a moment in time in digital assets, and crypto and blockchain where I think trust is at a pretty all time low, right. The bankruptcies that we've seen have been damaging BlockFi. And Voyager, I think were the really big ones. And a lot of that was, you know, really, people misunderstood the kind of risks that were being injected into that company, and that they didn't do a good job of educating people on it. So when these things have gone wrong, people feel really betrayed by the space. And I think this is where we can help to do a much better job of talked about kind of bringing best practice from traditional finance into this blockchain native world. We don't need to tear the playbook up entirely, right? There's huge benefits from doing this. And yes, there's a fringe in crypto and blockchain that wants to see the existing system just completely abandoned. And it's this free for all of, you know, self hosted wallets, and you know, not your keys, not your keys, not your coins kind of stuff. But I think the reality is, is that you want to take best practice, there's been hundreds of years of financial services and risk management, the right ways to do disclosure and client education, the right way is to run a consumer centric financial services offering. And we want to take all those learnings and all that best practice and inject it into this ecosystem with this new technology that we think can give consumers an experience that just far outstrips what they get today. 

Matt Zahab 
Very well said is do you think it could happen though? And if companies like WisdomTree, and I know a lot of the big banks and financial institutions are making similar moves that you guys are making? But could it be possible? Could it? Could there be, you know, fully sovereign, sort of decentralized bankless, be your own bank society? You think that's just a pipe dream? Or could that happen? Without the big boys?

Jason Guthrie 
I think that there is, look, some people are going to want to operate that way. And some aren't, I think the most powerful thing that comes from, you know, this much more interconnected, this decentralized ecosystem that we're that we're trying to participate and build here is that people get more choice. Right? And, and that's what's really going to drive us getting to better outcomes and better outcomes as viewed by the end users of these sorts of systems. Right. And I think it's very hard to sort of generalize for everyone that wants to interact with the financial services system, because that is literally everyone on the planet, right? It's a billion people. So you can't generalize for them. So people have a choice within that system, so that it can organically differentiate for them, I think is super, super powerful. Plenty of people live in parts of the world where like, you just can't and shouldn't trust your local financial services system, or your government or whatever. If you live in somewhere like Venezuela, like having access to this self sovereign universally available, all you need is a smartphone and the internet. That is really, really, really powerful. Right? And I think what is great about the existence of that totally self sovereign possibility is that it kind of forces everyone else, to be honest about it. Like, that's the that's the minimum standard, you've got to do better. So many places, right now, they run a pseudo monopoly on kind of what's going on in that financial services ecosystem, because, you know, it's unique systems or regulation, or something kind of lets them maintain their position. And that doesn't breed a lot of driving these companies to innovate for the consumer. It drives them to innovate to maintain their place in that ecosystem where they continue to kind of extract rent, right, that the really egregious example that I like to use is Western Union and El Salvador, right? Like everyone makes a big deal about Salvador investing in Bitcoin and making it legal tender, a lot of the conversation around that typically focuses on like, Was that a good investment or not for the country. But the real story there was like, why would you want to go into a blockchain internet native monetary system to start with? Well, if you dig into it 30% of the Salvadoran GDP is from cross border remittance. Basically, people working in the US sending money home. People and all Salvador live on a few $100 a week. I think it's like $345 a week, right? Western Union makes $400 million a year off El Salvador on that cross border remittance. That's just if you have a much more efficient system that natively allows peer to peer which is like, what Bitcoin blockchain stuff does. There's $400 million that can nominally go back into the pockets and people that live on $300 a week. 

Matt Zahab 
That's But literally, that's bananas. Also fuck Western Union. Scumbags. 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we can't put them out of business quick enough, right. So this is the sort of innovation that can become more consumer centric. And then, you know, again, maybe being self sovereign is not going to be for everyone. Because you might be in a country that does have a good regulatory regime that can help build trust, and honest companies and trustworthy companies can add value beyond that base. And this is where I think we can get really interesting stuff that Western Union stuff with El Salvador is super egregious. But if you think about, you know, what was the last time you saw a brand new bank come into the market? And if you wonder why, like your experience with banks pretty much hasn't changed in the last 30 years. It's because they've got no reason to innovate, they've got their place, it's a suitable khopoli. No one really enters no one really challenges and that doesn't change. I talk about like financial services hasn't had its internet moment, right? Yeah, you might get an app from your bank. Yes, you might fill a form in online now that you used to do in that used to do in paper. But that's really about it. Otherwise, the business model looks exactly the same. If you compare that to what Netflix did to like, television, or what Spotify did to music, like the business model fundamentally changes here hasn't happened in financial services, watch a native offering is what's going to fundamentally change that. Because if you're much more interconnected, and you get a lot more choice than people need to compete on the things that matter for the end consumer, and that's going to lead us to business models that we haven't thought of yet. But again, it will be much more consumer centric. And there's tons of examples around where competition access, breaking down silos lead to better consumer outcomes.

Matt Zahab 
It is bananas. Your point about the banks are so bang on like, I'm a Canadian, right. And there's four or five banks here, they run the show, no one can ever does a couple smaller ones that have maybe taken half a percent of market share, right. And that's just on the consumer side. On the retail side, nothing institutionally. But one of my favorite things. And I've asked other friends as well, you know, not looking at their numbers, because I don't care about the money, they have just to see the platform they use on banks that I've never used before. When you go into a bank, at least in Canada, all the big five, it's the exact same when you log on write the consumer facing page, before you get into the sort of nitty gritty, where you're making an investment. It's good UX, nothing to write home about, but at least the experience is admirable. And then once you start like clicking around and go to your actual like balance page and jump back and forth, it literally has like 1995 typography, with like, it's like, what are you guys doing? You're worth, like 60-70-$80 billion, and you can't make a nice consumer looking product? Are you kidding me? It's a It's bonkers. I generally don't get it. But then again, if I was, you know, if I was a money printer, I probably wouldn't change anything either. Right?

Jason Guthrie 
It's it really is like if people can't move, because there's four of you guys, and you all do the same things, then it's not something that you ever lose a customer over, why would you make it better. And that's what the reality is like, people need to be able to choose things on the metrics that matter to them. And quite often, in financial services, they don't get that choice. They're stuck with kind of what they've got the bank. Having a bank is not optional, right? You need some of your salary to get deposited, you need a debit card to buy a cup of coffee or anything like this, or transfer cash for rent, whatever, you have to have it. So they just get that for free. You have to deposit with them, you have to use them. And there's only four and no one needs to compete. So given that those financial services that they offer is, like not optional, if you just want to participate in society, they get a free run and getting your deposits.

Matt Zahab 
You, again, you're pretty darn high up at WisdomTree What are in perhaps there's no way you'd bury your own employees. So I know I'm not gonna get anything good out of your here. But is there a lot of friction with perhaps some of the older guys and gals with crypto like, because again, I know people like Canadian banks who are a little bit older than you and I and they just think it's a complete scam. They don't understand the tech. They're so laissez faire about it. They don't want to learn about it. Is that a thing that wasn't true? Or perhaps Are you aware of this being a thing that other financial institutions? 

Jason Guthrie 
It's not? It's not a thing that Western traps? Absolutely not like the companies embrace it now. Does that mean everyone is like a crypto evangelist and they want to invest? You know, in the asset class? No. But I think the firm has been really good in sort of its approach like crypto as an asset class, we're absolutely going to help people access that asset class and invested in in in sort of a sensible way through sensible products. And if people want to choose to allocate to that, that's great. That doesn't mean everybody needs to think the investment thesis is great for it. We do things in commodities, bonds, stocks, thematics, it doesn't mean every employee believes in the investment case for all of those at every moment in time. But we can see the value that people do want it that there is a demand and offering good product is in line with our services. Distinctly from that there is sort of the blockchain technology blockchain enabled financial services and what we've always been really good at. The reason that we do ETFs now, is because for the last sort of 1520 years, that's been the best wrap up the most consumer centric rapper, the most consumer focused rapper, that people could go and get exposures in, right? There's a recognition that like tokenization is the next thing from here. And so yeah, cool. We do ETFs today, but really what our business is about is offering the best possible product for our clients. This is the direction to travel, this is going to be the product of the future. And so this is what we're building to, doesn't mean we're walking away from what we're doing, in fact, like, it's hugely synergistic. I talked about bringing to bear best practice from the learnings that financial services and learnings of asset management that's absolutely what we're trying to pipe into tokenization so there's a synergy there so it works well I think where you do get friction in big financial services is where the management view it as a threat or as you say, don't want to learn about it and then think it's a Ponzi scheme and therefore anything associated with the asset cost crypto is therefore worthless and if you don't dig deep enough and senior management put that through that's where it can kind of cause trouble and I've definitely you know, heard of and seen that it at some big institutions but it's definitely not the case here. In fact, it's the polar opposite. 

Matt Zahab 
I love to hear that Jason We got a segment on the show called the hot take factory we jump in and our guest lets a couple of hot takes fly doesn't need to be crypt or finance related can be sports food country's politics, you name it anything that you believe in most other people don't What do you got for me? 

Jason Guthrie 
What do I believe in the most other people don't all right, wallabies can win the next World Cup Rugby World Cup next year. 

Matt Zahab
I love it.

Jason Guthrie
Pineapple on a pizza is excellent. Don't wanna hear a bad word about it. It's basically Hawaiian pizza is basically the bacon wrapped figs of pizza. Someone find me on Twitter and challenge me otherwise. And if you want to crypto one, I think that getting the next billion people into blockchain Financial Services is going to require good regulation and that regulation is going to be a driver of getting this next billion people in as we've kind of build trust in this space. 

Matt Zahab 
Interesting. Number One in three I definitely agree on number two again, depending on the pizza maker it can either make or break it but you know the sweetness along with the saltiness and sort of the tang of the cheese does it can be a good combo interesting what about what about habits? I'm I love learning about people's high performing or habits rather than make them a high performer Do you have any habits that really get you going are you faster you were no tech no blue light before bed 5k a day keeps the doctor away What habits keep Jason buzzing and keep making you a high performer. 

Jason Guthrie 
Incidentally, I do intermittent fasting typically skip breakfast like I do 60 night cycle every day. But you know not necessarily like routine habits but I think realizing when you are too deep in a problem or too deep in a in an activity and learning to kind of take a step back is something that's always really helped me so if I'm trying to crack away the problem or get lots of work done and we've had a whole bunch of things break in a given day you know taking the dog for a walk stepping away and not thinking about things for half an hour realizing when you're too deep in it to make progress in that moment. I think it's something that's always helped me get to solutions quicker and helped me kind of stay sane as we as we tried to get a lot done. 

Matt Zahab 
Love it. Great advice Jason What a treat man appreciate you coming on the show. Before we let you go can you please let our listeners know where they can find you WisdomTree and WisdomTree Prime online and on socials. 

Jason Guthrie 
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm on Twitter @GuthrieFi. WisdomTree Prime @WisdomTreePrime on Twitter as well. And I would love all the listeners to go and sign up for the WisdomTree Prime waitlist that's available now. So it’s wisdomtreeprime.com Just put your email address in and we'll ping you as we open up we should be you know ready for a full US 52 state launch hopefully early next year. So when this is available now, please sign up. 

Matt Zahab
Love it. Any Canada news? 

Jason Guthrie 
We are looking at international expansion right now we will have some announcements around planning for that in due course again early next year. Stay tuned. 

Matt Zahab 
Love it. Yeah, working with the Canadian regulators is not too fun. So I wouldn't definitely consume a couple of Red Bulls or coffees before you get on that call. But Jason really appreciate you coming on man. What a treat had a blast and looking forward to round two in a couple months. 

Jason Guthrie 
Awesome. Thanks, Matt. 

Matt Zahab 
Folks, what a great episode with Jason Guthrie from WisdomTree Prime, Head of Product over there running up everything digital asset related what a great episode dropping knowledge bombs left right and center folks if you enjoyed this one, and I really hope you did please do subscribe. It truly means the world to my team and I and speaking the team love you guys, Justas, our amazing sound editor you're the man appreciate you and to the listeners love you guys. Keep on growing those bags and keep on staying healthy, wealthy and happy bye for now and we'll talk soon.