Interview of Mr. Benjamin Yablon, Executive Vice President and Director of Global Strategy, Salt Lending, Inc.
SALT Technology Ltd has been issued with a Regulatory Sandbox License. Can you tell us about SALT Technology Ltd, and what will be the extent of your operations in Mauritius?
SALT Technology Ltd. (SALT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Salt Lending Holdings, Inc., a United States based blockchain lending platform. The company is the first in the world to create a platform that allows holders of blockchain assets (also known as distributed ledger assets) to use their holdings as collateral for loans denominated in national currencies like the US dollars and the Mauritian rupees. SALT is very pleased by the opportunity to partner with Mauritius as the base for our global expansion. Many jurisdictions were considered for this purpose, but for a variety of reasons Mauritius was ultimately chosen as the best location. SALT is in the process of hiring Mauritians in several roles as we expand. So far we have engaged lawyers and accountants. We will soon be hiring for other positions like customer service and tech development.
Why did you chose the Regulatory Sandbox License of Mauritius to this end?
The Mauritian RSL gives SALT the ability to participate in the Mauritian economy with a single regulatory body as our operations grow. It was chosen above other similar programs for its well-known efficiency. Further, the RSL allows SALT and other Mauritian regulators the opportunity to discuss the next steps along the regulatory path while allowing SALT to begin operations.
Regulatory Sandboxes similar to the one that exists in Mauritius are cropping up worldwide to make the most of the global Fintech revolution, what is your appreciation of the latest developments of distributed ledger technologies and their potential impact on the global financial services industry? What will be the contribution of SALT Technology Ltd in this global Fintech revolution?
The RSL framework is a good way for a company to bring new technology into the mainstream. The popularity of the sandbox license with blockchain (aka distributed ledger) projects is due to the flood of interest focused on the space currently. The impact on global finance is very interesting. It’s comparable to the impact that Uber had on the taxi industry in most major cities. There was huge disruption for many taxi companies, but the taxi drivers themselves made out just fine by adapting to the change and becoming Uber drivers themselves. I think that the disruptive impact of distributed ledgers on financial services companies is going to be similar. Many of the companies that have provided certain services will be left behind by less expensive and more efficient models. The disruption will come from the use of digital currencies instead of national ones to a degree, but also and more profoundly from the impact of the distributed ledgers used internally by major financial entities. Many jobs currently focused on clearing and settlement will be obsolete as will the need for most physical locations of banks. This change is happening right now in the background, garnering little to no mainstream press coverage. Most of the stories published right now focus only on the price of digital assets like bitcoin, but that is not the real story. Bitcoin is merely the first successful example of a distributed ledger. There will be many many more. There is a very important point to make when comparing this wave of disruption to the one caused by Uber: Uber didn’t disrupt the taxi industry, it disrupted the way we as consumers interact with transportation generally. Uber didn’t replace taxis; they still exist. Instead, people now use Uber for things they’d never consider calling a taxi for. For example, SALT does not pay for parking for it’s employees in Denver. Instead, our employees are provided with a daily Uber to and from the office. This is less expensive for the company, allows our employees to carve extra productivity out of their day, and is generally preferred by both employer and employee. Uber has created an entirely new ecosystem of value; consumers benefited, drivers benefited, society benefited. Distributed ledgers are going to “Uberize” the way we interact with all value. The profound impact that they represent cannot be overstated. Value in almost every form - from traditional stocks and bonds to precious metals and medical records - will all be represented on distributed ledgers. Distributed ledger technology will be used to unlock unimagined wealth. SALT is positioning itself as the mechanism through which these new representations of value will be leveraged.
Finally, do you think Mauritius has the necessary ingredients to drive Fintech adoption in the region?
Mauritius is an ideal jurisdiction to drive regional adoption of Fintech. SALT pursued a presence in Mauritius because it is a well-respected Financial center with established ties to Africa, India and Asia. Mauritius is perfectly positioned to compete with jurisdictions like Singapore for top tier FinTech projects because of its educated population and stable regulatory climate. The blockchain world is watching our progress here with a great deal of admiration - and a bit of jealousy over the beaches.