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New digital bank Jewel focuses on core planning

Representatives for new digital bank Jewel continue to pave the way for new office space on Victoria Street to meet an ambitious start date in September.

But they have confirmed to The Royal Gazette that their first Bermuda office will not be Victoria Hall, the abandoned insurance building, purchased and then abandoned by fintech business, Arbitrade.

Nick Lepetsos, Jewel Bank CEO, made clear in a recent exchange on the matter that real estate purchase was not on the cards for the bank.

He told us: “Jewel is currently in negotiations on some office space for lease on Victoria Street that will serve as our initial physical location.

“I'm not at liberty to share more at this point but we will let you know when the lease is signed. I can confirm that we are not involved with the Victoria Hall building, nor do we have plans to purchase property in the near future.”

Meanwhile, the bank expects to concentrate on digital assets as a core business, but would not rule out branching out to other businesses as the bank matures.

But when asked about banking services for offshore gaming and legal cannabis, two industries facing difficulties with widespread financial access, there was some clarity on how the bank would respond.

Chairman Chancellor Barnett told us in a recent interview that Bermuda might have a unique opportunity in the development of stablecoins and the bank would explore that opportunity.

There are inherent risks that must be considered banking with and working with global digital asset businesses, he said. They have their own regulatory and risk profiles - great risks and great opportunities.

But he said gaming and cannabis banking would also have their own regulatory and risk profiles that would require deep thought.

He concluded: “Jewel is open to being of service to helping drive up growth for Bermuda and for itself.

“We are going to be focused on our premier business, which is digital assets. We have our hands full with that.

“But we are mindful of the other opportunities and how they might benefit Bermuda. And so, we’re excited to work with government and private parties to see if we could come up with solutions.

“But today, I can say, we are doing one thing that is significant and innovative enough. And that is digital assets.

“I’m not sure we need to add to that immediately and certainly not early on.

“So, we’ll take one high growth, innovative industry at a time.

“I can see opportunities in the future where a generalised set of services on distributed ledger can be useful and impactful in those areas.

“And so as we grow in the digital asset space, I think we’ll take those bit by bit, as they come in. We would want to work with government, regulators and industry to see if it is something that is feasible.

“But I can’t say it is something that we are considering, initially.“

Victoria Hall: the new digital bank Jewel, has dismissed rumours that this was the site of their first Bermuda headquarters (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 28, 2022 at 7:38 am (Updated June 28, 2022 at 7:38 am)

New digital bank Jewel focuses on core planning

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