Bitcoin and Life Insurance: CEO Zac Townsend’s Unique Perspective
Bitcoin (BTC) is the perfect financial asset to form the foundation of a life insurance product, according to Meanwhile CEO Zac Townsend.
In a recent interview with Axios, the executive explained how and why his life insurance company uses BTC as its sole currency and unit of account rather than fiat currency.
“We accept all our premiums in Bitcoin. We pay all our claims in Bitcoin,” Townsend said. “Because all our assets and liabilities are in Bitcoin, the price of Bitcoin doesn’t matter.”
Bitcoin is notoriously volatile compared to dollars or euros, making it risky for many businesses to use as their internal currency, or as a balance sheet asset.
However, Townsend believes that a life insurance product might strongly appeal to the Bitcoin community thanks to its “culture of HODLing” which encourages holding BTC through volatile period and using it as a long-term savings vehicle.
Indeed, following Bitcoin’s rise to $36,000 on Thursday, new data suggests that saving in the asset over the long term has proven profitable starting at almost any point in its history.
While all business is done with BTC, Meanwhile’s clients still offer tax advantages that typical in the world of estate planning.
Broadly speaking, Townsend said a customer that gives Meanwhile 10 BTC can expect a beneficiary to receive 20 BTC upon the customer’s death – though that’s a ballpark figure. Right now, customers must buy-in with a minimum of 5 BTC (~$183,000) for 5 years.
The company runs a credit risk of 3% – 50% more than is actually needed to cover death benefits. According to Townsend, users are able to borrow against their benefit tax-free over time.
Valuing Bitcoin Life Insurance
Meanwhile announced a $19 million raise in June across two funding rounds – the first of which was co-led in part by Open AI CEO Sam Altman. After Bitcoin-focused fund Stillmark joined the raise later, it reached slightly over $20 million.
Townsend has previously claimed that the raise valued Meanwhile at $100 million.
“The way we talked to them about it was, ‘We’re going to build a boring life insurance company,’” he said, regarding the raise.
The firm is currently run by just seven people, though its CEO is confident that it can scale with low overhead by leveraging artificial intelligence for certain jobs, such as customer service.
“We have already worked on policies right now that are going to outlive me,” said Townsend.