Alexander Bechtel, head of digital assets & currency strategy at Deutsche Bank
Alexander Bechtel is helping German investment bank Deutsche Bank get digital-asset ready through his role as head of digital assets and currency strategy.
Bechtel’s day-to-day can be anything from answering client questions on crypto to analyzing the impact of blockchain, digital assets, and currencies on the bank’s existing business model.
“Basically partially internal education, partially internal guidance and helping all the divisions, business units, and then our support functions here to get prepared for the future,” Bechtel said.
Before joining Deutsche Bank, Bechtel spent several years in academia and moved to industry, so he could have more immediate impact. But given the job requires a deep understanding of almost every area of crypto, Bechtel still spends time reading academic articles.
He even keeps up to date on crypto through his own podcast, “Bitcoin, Fiat & Rock’N’Roll”.
“The Rock’N’Roll stands for the fact that so much is happening and moving and it’s such a crazy space,” Bechtel said.
In recent weeks, the crypto market has experienced a lot of “Rock’N’Roll” as bitcoin prices moved from highs of around $64,700 to lows near $30,000.
Bechtel expects there will be an end to this crypto bull run at some point and we’ll come into the next phase. He’s particularly interested to see how the down phase plays out compared to previous downturns.
“What I could imagine is that [crypto is] more present in the future because it has become so mainstream now that I can’t really imagine it disappearing completely how it was in the past,” Bechtel said.
He views bitcoin as a store of value rather than a means of payment and sees the next phase of bitcoin’s evolution is even more migration into the regulated world.
‘I also believe that for 99% of the people, it doesn’t really matter, because they do not hold bitcoin because they believe in this fully decentralized ecosystem,” Bechtel said. ” … they simply want to have an exposure to Bitcoin as an asset class.”
He expects that ether, Ethereum‘s native currency, and bitcoin to continue to co-exist as very different types of assets.
“It’s like saying, ‘Maybe JP Morgan will one day become a bigger company than Apple,” Bechtel said. “I mean, that’s fine but they are not really competitors.”
“I do not believe that we need 5,000 different tokens but I believe that there is room for a couple of more than bitcoin and ether,” Bechtel said.
Although Bechtel can form these views on assets, the firm is still limited on what they can do due to regulatory reasons. He’s looking forward to gaining more clarity in that space.
“I would say, for us regulation is maybe even an advantage as soon as it comes because it creates a level playing field because then it is clear what we banks are allowed to do and what we are not allowed to,” Bechtel said.
is getting more and more comfortable with the topic of crypto, Bechtel said.
“I would say [the banking sector is] beyond the early research phase, I think we have understood what crypto is and we are currently starting to build products,” Bechtel said. “But it will take time.”