Two Ngāpuhi entrepreneurs have launched a company that could prevent millions of dollars of cryptocurrency from becoming inaccessible each year as people die unexpectedly without revealing their passwords or just forgetting their passwords.
Cryptocurrency accounts require users to know their passwords and seed phrases (12 to 24 words long) to access them, as there is no option to change passwords or any other option to access crypto wallets once an account or wallet is set up.
Crypto estate planning start-up Everlasting is the first digital currency self-custody service in Australasia, and is run by Luke Ryan and Paul Salisbury.
Speaking to teaomāori.news today, Ryan says Everlasting is the solution to a growing problem for anyone who has difficulty accessing crypto funds.
“What this means is it offers an alternative option for people to have better security and actually maintain their legacy and not keep it to themselves as individuals,” he says.
“For this to continue, we need to work together to keep it growing for our whānau.”
With over half a million New Zealanders owning crypto assets, which can range from thousands to millions of dollars, New Zealand’s market is still small compared to the rest of the world.
“The way it would work is we would say to you: 'Which lawyer would you like to work with to ensure we can have the right instructions for your estate in your will?' Once you actually choose someone you feel comfortable with, we would go and set them up on our platform.
“What we do is essentially set up a vault. That vault then has your assets, your cryptocurrency in it. That’s yours. You use it day to day. But when an end-of-life event occurs, we would then work with your lawyer to ensure your wishes were carried out.”
Around the world, billions of dollars in cryptocurrency has been lost forever due to owners either dying or having forgotten their keywords. Ryan says the amount in New Zealand is in the millions.
“That is a significant amount because we’ve had people without the right foundations in place. Because of that, they’ve lost that value for their whānau.”
Interest in Everlasting is growing overseas, with moves being made in Australia and Singapore, but potential expansion, Ryan says, means knowing the right people to work with.
It’s not the first business within the crypto area for both Ryan and Salisbury, as they are also co-founders of Titan Tiki which helps to protect a unique NFT (non-fungible token) collection, particularly Māori NFTs.
“From where we’re going, it’s around what we can share with NFTs in the blockchain or metaverse while respecting te ao Māori.
“We are recording some kōrero of what we can share, which we’re excited to share with the world. We’ve been spending a lot of time with kaumātua to say ‘hey, how does this feel? Is it okay to share this? Is it okay to connect this overseas?’
“We’re taking our time but we’re excited to share the energy of what we are doing here too.”