Jeffrey Berns Buys A Small Community Bank In Las Vegas
Jeffrey Berns, the eccentric founder of blockchain incubation and investment firm Blockchains.com, purchased a small community bank in Las Vegas, Nevada in order to secure financing as he manifests his decentralized dreams, according to The Nevada Independent.
Berns said his ambitions are not compatible with the current financial system and he has the fear that the banking complex would cut off his supply of capital for his project. The 56-year-old attorney earlier announced plans to construct a Reno-sized, blockchain-centric smart city and e-sports arena in the Nevada desert.
His $28 million acquisition of the Kirkwood Bank of Nevada is reported to be a small but critical step in helping the young company to achieve its wildly ambitious goals, by The Nevada Independent. Additional to finance his own projects, Berns hopes Kirkwood Bank of Nevada will become a leading bank for the blockchain industry.
According to him, he made this acquisition to create an environment where the blockchain ecosystem, the legitimate businesses out there who are trying to build projects that are going to empower the individual and create a better future for the world would have a bank that understands what they’re doing and isn’t fearful.
“Banks are hesitant to this kind of step because if this takes off, you don’t need banks anymore. They become obsolete,” he said.
Berns made the purchase of the bank via a separate holding company to mitigate the reporting and ownership responsibilities. Moreover, he also mentioned that he planned to decentralize his companies in the future, turning power over to users of the system.
He doesn’t think the regulators would have ever been comfortable with that, he also added that he may attempt limited integration of Blockchains with the bank to create a sandbox to test his financial technology and blockchain ideas.
According to him, this will provide him with a playground to experiment and also he needed a place to do proof-of-concept with regulators to show that loans can be done in such a way that if one has $1,000, he could invest 10 cents in 10,000 loans and, it would all be done on the blockchain and micropayments would be made possible, and there’s no funny business.
Berns’ negotiation with Kirkwood began in February 2018, after he spent a year searching for a banking partner. He paid $25 million for the bank and invested an additional $3 million to it.
The president of the bank, John Dru said there were no immediate planned changes for banking operations except for the name and a branch opening in Northern Nevada. It is still not confirmed what the bank’s new name will be.
Berns also said he plans to buy or create a 3D printing company to print a portion of his blockchain city. He’s considering using an undervalued building material – hemp – during this process and may cultivate hemp on 67,000 acres of land owned by Blockchains.
It’s environmentally friendly, it absorbs carbon out of the air, it helps in regaining important nutrients in the soil and it’s overall an amazing product, Berns said. They had planned to do it on a smaller scale and after hemp was legalized, they intend to go much bigger.
The company recently partnered with slock.it to further its integration within the Internet of Things.