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Australian fintech company, Block Earner, has officially gone live, offering everyday investors a 7% fixed rate investment product by utilizing decentralized finance (DeFi) technology.
Block Earner has already attracted attention from big names in the crypto industry, finalizing a $6.4 million seed funding round in December last year. It was led by Framework Ventures and joined by Coinbase Ventures, DeFi Alliance, LongHash Ventures, as well as crypto veteran Kain Warwick, the founder of Synthetix, an Australia-based crypto derivatives exchange.
Jordan Momtazi, the co-founder of Block Earner, said in an interview to Cointelegraph that Australia’s current economic climate makes products that offer yields on savings attractive, especially when it is practically impossible to achieve similar returns using methods offered by traditional financial institutions.
According to a survey conducted by Block Earner and Sydney-based market researcher Pure Profile, 86% of Australians have noticed the recent effects of inflation and 22% are concerned about how they will make ends meet considering the rising price of goods and services.
Comparing the difference between the benchmark of returns between traditional finance and DeFi, Momtazi said:
“The best returns Australians can get from a traditional savings account ranges from 0.1-0.3% — compare that to a 7% product like Block Earner, it’s easy to see where people are going to end up.”
Momtazi continued to say that the entire point of Block Earner is to make sure that everyday Australians have access to new technology without doing any “heavy lifting” so that they can grow their savings over time.
Block Earner works by converting Australian dollars into a U.S. dollar stablecoin called USD Coin (USDC). Block Earner lends that USDC into two primary DeFi protocols called Aave and Compound, which provides investors with a yield.
It is also worth noting that Block Earner is the first fintech company to grant mainstream integration into Aave and Compound.
While Momtazi promises that investors will receive a fixed 7% return until July of this year, he added that Block Earner’s variable interest rate product could see investors potentially rewarded with up to 18% per annum returns.
The burgeoning and largely unregulated realm of DeFi is not without its risks and companies like Block Earner remain exposed to the issues that occasionally occur in DeFi, such as malfunctioning smart contracts, the lack of demand for lending products and the liquidity pools (Aave and Compound) suffering some form of attack.
Related: Aave launches v3 liquidity pool following unanimous governance decision
Momtazi stressed that Block Earner is a “conservative” company, emphasizing that the company “chose stablecoins like USDC because of its security and its legitimacy.”
We believe being conservative is part of the long-term project. We believe that safety and trust is a fundamental part of a long-term strategy, and we’re just not opting for double digital returns from other less regulated areas.”
Tempering the fears of crypto skeptics, Momtazi continued to state that the continued performance of Block Earner will gradually prove the legitimacy of DeFi over time.
“New things are always seen as scary, and that’s natural — we will prove the legitimacy of DeFi technology with continued performance,”
While Block Earner is registered with Australian financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC and protects investors’ funds with Fireblocks, one of the world's largest digital custodians, the company did not need to apply for an ASIC license.
Speaking on the issue of potential regulation of DeFi products from the Australian government, Momtazi was completely optimistic, stating that regulation is a positive measure for the crypto industry, and Block Earner is ready to fit into what regulatory measures Australian legislators deem appropriate.
“Legislation legitimizes this space in a much better way… and so far things in regards to regulation have been very positive; enforcing standards around the custody of assets, and maintaining bare minimum levels of auditing — to bring that altogether is only a positive thing.”