Meet the head of Israel's first licensed crypto company

Published date15 September 2022
Publication titleGlobes (Rishon LeZion, Israel)
Unlicensed crypto companies, it should be noted, cannot operate in Israel. Other crypto companies that have applied for a license in Israel receive a permit to continue operations. Licensing makes it easier to work with the traditional financial system, as compared with the permit to continue operations

"I'm not your classic crypto type. I'm not a radical young thing, I'm completely mainstream, and my team is relatively mature for a startup, in their 40s and 50s," says HBH co-founder Giyora Ran, who also serves as CEO.

"I don't believe in fighting the banks. I don't believe in fighting at all - you can always find synergies and work together. Also, I come not from the financial side of crypto, but from the technological blockchain side. My team and I mainly specialize in software programming and that's what we do," says Ran in a first and exclusive interview with "Globes".

"The financial institution is the only one facing the customer"

Although cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology undermine traditional banking, and threaten the banking system, HBH - Israeli's first permanent licensee - has developed a system that aims to help banks and traditional financial institutions operate in the crypto world.

HBH's system is designed to be installed at these institutions, and a variety of crypto activities can be executed through it in a "walled garden" model, meaning that money leaves one regulated entity and enters another regulated entity, eliminating the worry over money laundering or terrorist financing.

How does it work? The system is connected on one side to entities licensed by US regulators, such as Kraken or Coinbase, and on the other side, to local financial entities. When customers of a local financial entity want to make a crypto trade, the funds go out from their account, which has undergone Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) verification, identification and authentication procedures as required by law. It then transfers to a financial institution that also meets all these requirements, as do its customers, so that the received cryptocurrency also meets the regulatory requirements. A walled garden system makes crypto trading very easy.

HBH's system facilitates both trading and custody of assets, and provides a technological infrastructure for more advanced activity, such as leveraging crypto. "We're an infrastructure company, we create the system, and the financial institution that implements it will decide what it allows...

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