FreedomTrust, a digital asset management platform that provides financial advisors with secure and compliant access to cryptocurrencies, is the first financial technology (fintech) company to be approved through West Virginia’s new fintech regulatory sandbox.
“We are honored to be the first company admitted into the West Virginia fintech regulatory sandbox. It has been a pleasure to work with the West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions,” said Joshua Bryant, partner and digital asset advisor at FreedomTrust. “It feels like West Virginia wants us to be here. It is very exciting to see the state encourage entrepreneurship – especially companies in the digital asset and cryptocurrency industry, which we believe will revolutionize finance.”
FreedomTrust was launched to meet the growing and untapped market of investors who want to invest in digital assets, such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but are unable to do so through their existing financial advisors. The company provides financial advisors with the tools they need for portfolio management, billing, reporting, and compliance. More than 21 million Americans, or approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population, own cryptocurrencies.
In 2020, West Virginia created a regulatory fintech sandbox that enables entities that would normally require licensure in the state to partner with financial institutions and test innovative financial products or services for a limited period of 24 months. The program is administered by the Division of Financial Institutions. In April 2021, West Virginia became the second state in the U.S. to create a process for technology companies to transform the insurance industry (insurtech).
“Outdated regulations intended for a previous generation of institutions pose a significant hurdle for innovation and development in the burgeoning digital assets and cryptocurrency industry,” said Bryant. “By allowing companies to safely bypass these antiquated regulations, West Virginia is on the cutting edge, positioning the state and companies, like ours, to flourish.”
The insurtech process and fintech regulatory sandbox are part of a broader series of initiatives to welcome innovative fintech companies to the Mountain State. Vantage Ventures is leading an effort to provide benefits, such as access to coworking space and potential partners, customers, and capital, to fintech entrepreneurs, especially those addressing the specific challenges facing Appalachians.
“Individuals, small businesses and large institutions in other regions have benefitted from the innovative efforts undertaken by entrepreneurs building solutions that strengthen the financial services industry broadly. It is gratifying to see these same benefits extend to West Virginia and its unique needs. Our state's commitment to creatively and responsibly fostering fintech and innovative entrepreneurship will help us with our vision of improving financial security for all,” said Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures. “I’m very pleased for the team at FreedomTrust, and I’m excited to see what other innovative solutions emerge from West Virginia and its fintech regulatory sandbox and new insurtech process.”