The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: How Impact Investing is Influencing Blockchain and Web3.0 with Lisa Wade

Season 2: Episode 2

In this episode,  Jason & Paul sit down with Lisa to discuss the environmental implications of blockchain tech, her incredible work in inclusion – having recently won a Blockie Award for Gender & Diversity Leader of the Year – and NFT rhinos!

Lisa is a leading advocate and activist in the impact investing space,  having led NAB’s Digital Innovation & Sustainability and now as CEO of DigitalX.

Everything has two prices: the price you pay and the price it costs the environment, says Lisa Wade, but how can we effectively measure impact? In what she calls the ‘Race to Authentic Investment’, Lisa believes blockchain technology can bring granularity, stop the greenwashing and propel impact investing into the mainstream through tokenisation.


Lisa Wade

CEO – DigitalX – Finance for Impact – Web3.X – Blockchain for Impact – Transition to a Low Carbon Economy – Equality – Accelerating Climate Finance – *de-Fi*

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Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Welcome back to season two, episode two of that digital village podcast. The show all about the latest tech trends influencing business today’s episode is all about the impact of investing, influencing blockchain and web 3.0, Jason and Paul are gonna be joined by Lisa Wade. Who’s the CEO of digital X, which is a technology investment company focused on the communication of blockchain in digital asset funds. Lisa has also done some incredible work in the L G B QT I plus community, including gender and inclusion in the workspace for which she recently was recognized by winning for earning her block award. So sit back and enjoy today’s episode.

Speaker 2 (00:43):

Hi Jason. We’re back in the room doing a podcast. It’s been too long.

Speaker 3 (00:46):

Yeah. In person

Speaker 2 (00:48):

In person as well.

Speaker 3 (00:49):

It’s good to be here. You’ve done a few online, which have, um, good to keep the ball rolling, but it’s actually nice to be back in

Speaker 2 (00:54):

Like keep a hand in,

Speaker 3 (00:55):

You know, and it’s nice to have, um, an actual guest in person as well. Makes a

Speaker 2 (00:59):

Difference. Welcome, Lisa.

Speaker 4 (01:00):

Hello. And you we’ve brought out the sunshine.

Speaker 3 (01:03):


Speaker 2 (01:03):

Have. Yes. For our listeners. We’ve been in rain actually drenched in rain for the last two weeks. Um, but it looks like it’s finally stopped. So look, today’s, um, subject is, uh, this is episode seven of our podcast series. Um, we’ve been focusing on a lot, lot of different areas to do with, um, the environment, climate change, blockchain security,

Speaker 3 (01:26):

The use of technology in, in, in, um, in society. Right. And people and it’s application to business. So

Speaker 2 (01:33):

Yeah. Yeah. And now we’ve got somebody in the room who knows about all of that. Yeah. So we can cover all those subjects in one go. Um, so episode seven, how green is your block chain? So how impact investing is influencing blockchain and web 3.0. So just as a better context here, Jace, um, hardly a day goes by without papers referencing another green initiative or blockchain business venture. For many, there is an era of obscurity and ambiguity about these stories. Um, when will it make a difference? What will they cost? What happens if jobs are lost? And if power stations are replaced by wind farms, is there a killer application out there which will catapult blockchain into the mainstream while many have formed investors think so, Larry Fiker BlackRock famously told invest in 2020, the fund would not invest in any business that didn’t have a conscious and action DSG policy in his own words.

Speaker 2 (02:33):

What are you doing to disrupt your business? How are you preparing for and participating in the net zero transition as your industry gets transformed by the energy transition, will you go the way of the Dodo or will you be the Phoenix in simple terms? He’s saying, I guess every business needs to consider the impact it’s making. So we’re joined today, but one of the countries leading advocates and activists in the impact, investing in sustainability space, Lisa Wade. Lisa, lovely to have you here. Thank you. You’ve built your own impact investment, uh, fund you’ve led NAB’s digital innovation, sustainability arm. And now your head of digital X, which we’re looking forward to hearing about here in Australia. Uh, you’ve been recognized for your tireless in the G BT, Q I community. And you continue to play an active role in promoting gender equality in society, in the workplace. And you’ve just won a blocky award.

Speaker 4 (03:29):

I did,

Speaker 2 (03:30):

Yes. What was that

Speaker 4 (03:31):

For? Uh, for in gender and inclusion leader of the year.

Speaker 2 (03:35):

Congratulations. That’s fantastic. Do want

Speaker 3 (03:37):

To, for people that don’t know what a blockie award is, do you wanna,

Speaker 4 (03:41):

Yeah, it’s a, it’s an award, um, voted by the blockchain industry, um, by, out by my peers. So, um, it’s a little trophy, very heavy trophy. And, um, it’s, um, you know, I basically, out of all of my peers in the blockchain industry did more work in the L G B T and inclusion bay.

Speaker 2 (04:00):


Speaker 4 (04:00):

Somehow I want it against some very good company. So all a lot of my work at national Australia bank yes. And some external work that we do with rainbow women. And, um, I do a fair bit as well. Um, inclusion work in mentoring, younger women, especially L G BT plus women and bringing them through, into finance and technology.

Speaker 2 (04:20):

Fantastic. That’s great. Well, when really Jason and I were putting together the, uh, the list of questions of today, we kind of stopped when we got to 30, how we gonna 45 minutes. So we we’ve had to be fairly ruthless in how we’ve cut this down. Um, but I do hope that we’ll be covering subjects, which I know that you are have.

Speaker 4 (04:41):

I’m very

Speaker 2 (04:43):

Good. Great. So let’s get started. Um, so let’s talk with the basics. I mean, there are gonna be people listening to this who don’t understand what impact investing really is. Can you give us a definition?

Speaker 4 (04:52):

Well, broadly speaking impact investing is investing with more than financial returns in the crosshairs. So what we look for is the social impact of the investments that we make, as well as the financial returns. There’s different types, there’s social first, which means you investors don’t care so much about returns. They just wanna get the social return. And then there’s finance first, which is still caring about returns more, um, but also wanting to have the positive social impact. There’s very many, uh, definition. And my passion at the moment is what I’m calling the race to authentic investments and really using technology to bring granularity into impact investing and stop the greenwash and stop all of this talk. And I, um, you know, probably about five years ago realized that blockchain technology was perfect for that. And the moment I could see it and unsee it. So we’ve been doing a lot of work in that space to, um, to, to build and create, um, tools and systems that can measure impact. And tokenization is one of the tools that we’ve been using so that we can start to get some granularity in impact returns, which I believe will actually make impact investing mainstream. And I’m really excited to be doing this work in the space, um, right inside of NAB. We started with project carbon, which was tokenizing carbon. Yep. And I also have a little passion project called Naomi where we’ve worked out how to tokenize impact and you’ll see some exciting things happen through that over the next couple of years.

Speaker 2 (06:20):

Great. And just for the uninitiated tokens, how, how can you explain how tokens fit into

Speaker 4 (06:26):

This? Well, I can explain how about I simplify tokens?

Speaker 4 (06:31):

Uh, so tokens are basically, uh, in the way that we use them taking the rigor, that side of financial instruments and programming them into computer programs that then, um, create, um, a digital version of the financial security or a digital twin. If you like at its simplest level at its most complex level, say in renewable energy plants, we can digitally originate, um, securities tokens by using the data on site from great projects. However, the world is not ready for that. So we just keep it simple. We do digital twins, we take the financial contract, could be your home loan, could be the title to a building. Uh, we take all the, the details inside of that. Like all of the maths inside of that, we do a little computer program and that computer program represents the loan or the security or the investment.

Speaker 2 (07:22):

Right, right. Okay. So, so you are now see digital X. I am. Yes. Um, and I was just reading their latest interim and financial statement. Um, and they’re saying they’re putting a big emphasis on sustainability and ESG. It’s no coincidence then they you’ve just become the CEO. That is not

Speaker 4 (07:40):

A coincidence. No. Um, as I said, my campaign at the moment is the race to authentic investments. Yeah. And digital X is an incredible company, uh, and very active in blockchain. And I think it would be fair to say, um, that there are concerns about the E the environmental impact of blockchain. I am. One of those people is concerned about the environmental impact, not only of everything, but also blockchain. And so, um, part of the reason why I’ve come on board at digital X is for digital X to actually become a good company, as well as a great company. So the first thing that we’ve done, um, is we have signed up to the world economic forum, sustainability framework, which is a, a, a framework for reporting for corporations so that we can actually all, um, report the same data points. I don’t know how deep you go into sustainable finance, but there are so many surveys, so many different things we could do. Um, what, what we are doing is we’re saying the first step towards sustainability is to measure. Yes. And then obviously me being me, there’ll be lots of initiatives where, um, you know, where the digital X will, uh, transform into a sustainable company. And, um, I’m really excited about that journey we’re going to take yes. And, um, you know, very committed to being, um, you know, we’re throwing around words like green crypto and, um, you know, really leading in that space.

Speaker 2 (09:02):

So Jason, you, you and I have spent some time with people in the ag tech area, uh, doing carbon sequestration projects and, and looking at, uh, carbon capture. Yeah. And one of the problems they faced in that area was how do we measure this stuff? That’s right. Yeah. Because, you know, the end of the day, they’re not gonna get carbon credits. Yeah. If they can’t measure it accurately.

Speaker 3 (09:23):

That’s right. I mean, if there’s, I mean, following any, any kind of framework, it’s as good as the information that it starts with. So, um, you know, how can you validate or verify the effectiveness us of a project if you can’t effectively measure the actual impact itself or the, where you’re starting from, which is a, a huge challenge. And I was, it was actually, I was keen to see, understand, um, in, you know, what your experience had been with that of actually being able to have like, measuring impact in, um, yeah. In some of the projects that you’ve been involved in.

Speaker 4 (09:56):

Yeah. Yeah. Look, I mean, you may have tapped into one of my favorite topics of all time. So, um, we’ve been doing a lot of work in that space. And one of the things that excited me about going to digital X is digital X has a little, um, governance business called Drawbridge, which has been built across the ASX chess system. Another piece of work that we’d been doing was with KPMG, um, in a project called origins, which, um, they’re, they’ve got that they were the first ever pilot onto the ASX blockchain. And, um, in that project, um, what we brought it to the table at NAB was, um, the digital origination of the carbon and experimenting with that for per carbon. So, um, I passionately believe that if we start originating data at source in ag projects, then it’s cheaper, faster, and smarter to verify the carbon and verify the activity.

Speaker 4 (10:50):

And so we can measure it and also record it. And if we create the data inside of that as an asset that is saleable, whether it’s impact or carbon or whatever that may be, um, then that can create the financial framework that we need to monetize carbon to create the value that we need to, to have the impact. Because what we have right now is, um, and, you know, we were talking about Microsoft earlier. Microsoft are a great example. If I measure the total impact of their company over the generation and the impact that they they’ve had, it’s enormous. But what they’re saying is they, they wanna neutralize that for the history of the company. Yeah. And how do they yeah. How do they do that? You have to measure, and then it has to be paid for. So if I’ve got a price of carbon, that’s a dollar a ton, then that doesn’t really mean anything because they, I can pay, you know, a few hundred thousand dollars of all of the hundreds of billions.

Speaker 4 (11:43):

I mean, they might, might have even made a trillion dollars. I don’t know. Um, but they wanna pay that bill, but if there’s not a great price on carbon, then, um, that bill isn’t very big. And right now, once you start to think about the world like this, everything I look at, I see two prices. I see the price I pay and the price that’s cost the environment. Yeah. And once we start thinking like that, you can’t, unthink it. And you start to realize that we really need a price for carbon to be able to start to pay the world back. I mean, there are companies which I want at name that technically speaking, if I looked, if, if I had to, if I charged them, if I sent them a bill, uh, for the carbon emissions that they’ve created on this planet and destroying, uh, you know, rainforest, Palm oil, all of those things, then they would, it would actually bankrupt those companies. And they’ve been making money from doing that. Yeah. And

Speaker 3 (12:31):

I mean, the cost has gotta come from

Speaker 4 (12:33):

Somewhere around, well, we’re paying the price. Yeah. I mean, and, um, you know, I don’t wanna be one of those table thumping climate changes here, but look at what we were talking about before two years ago, we were sitting in the middle of bushfires. Then we had a global pandemic, which if you read all of the research pandemics, a part of the impact of climate change, and now we’re sitting here, there are fly in new south Wales. It has rained continuously in Sydney for two weeks. And there were people surfing at Bemo beach. Yes.

Speaker 2 (13:00):

Yeah, yeah. So there’s, there’s definitely a consequence to these things, but from, from where you sit in digital X, how much of an impact can you have to bring about change?

Speaker 4 (13:12):

Oh, so much. I mean, this change, I really think needs to be driven from technology technology is the game changer. Um, you know, there’s so many cliches about, you know, if you wanna be crazy, do the same thing over and over definition of insanity, do the same thing over and over again. And I believe that’s attributed to Einstein. Um, literally technology is the, the stick in all for that. And, um, digital X is a technology company and we will invest in, we also have a ventures, um, and we will invest in those technologies and we will be part of the conversation in transforming what we’re calling web 3.0. Um, I call it finance 3.0, but literally money is the oxygen that funds all of the good and all of the bad. And, um, you know, I’m excited to be part of a listed company, a great little company located in Perth. Yes. And, um, and you know, with a really good focus and we will make a difference

Speaker 2 (14:06):

And now you can go there

Speaker 4 (14:07):

And now I can go

Speaker 2 (14:10):

The Republic of Perth. Yeah. So just coming back to the blockchain thing. Yeah. Um, Lisa blockchain’s being described as the kind of backbone for web 3.0, but the climate change lobby draws attention to the energy consumption, demands of creating blockchain. So what’s your response to that? What do you think can be done? Well,

Speaker 4 (14:33):

I often get asked that question, uh, obviously given what I do and, um, you know, the truly geeky answer is that, um, the energy that Bitcoin uses is half a percent of world energy and us house households are 11 and a half percent of world energy. So you do the maths. You know, I think the average mat in the street is, has more impact than blockchain. And I really think it’s important for technology to own their environmental impact. And that is a lot of the work that we’ll be doing as a business, um, to be transparent about our energy emissions. And, you know, all of the leading corporates in the world are talking about nets. It’s too early for me to talk about that with digital X, however, there’s this huge opportunity in, in, you know, like tokenizing, carbon tokenizing impact, um, really owning the, um, emissions for blockchain, um, to have more renewable energy.

Speaker 4 (15:26):

Like we know the maths, if we can fund solar and wind, we can reduce our emissions. If we use renewable energy to mine, Bitcoin, then, um, effectively that it’s carbon neutral Bitcoin. And there’s lots of projects starting to do that. Um, you know, off the record, I may or may not know the CEO of a renewable energy company based in Melbourne that their largest client is a bit Bitcoin minor. Like there’s many, many things we can do as technologists to create. Um, you know, we play around with grain crypto and, you know, we joke around about it, but, but why not? I mean, web 3.0 has this amazing opportunity to rebuild finance from the good up and, um, and to, you know, really focus on know carbon emissions, our impact on the world, not solve one problem whilst creating another. Mm. Um, but to actually, you know, embrace this new world that we need to move into and, um, do it in an, in a way that’s profitable for everybody, including not destroying a planet anymore because we’ve done a good job of that so far.

Speaker 2 (16:30):

So we had Rob Allen in a few months back,

Speaker 4 (16:34):

One of my favorite people

Speaker 2 (16:35):

And Rob obviously works with Hadera hash graph. Yeah. Now they have a different approach to creating the distributed ledger, which uses a fraction of the energy required in blockchain. Do you think that’s gonna become a, sort of a competitive advantage that all organizations will start looking for distributed ledger suppliers who are kind of low energy consumption sources?

Speaker 4 (17:02):

Oh, absolutely. I’m a huge fan of Hadera and a huge fan of any green, um, blockchain. So even in Naomi, um, it was originally built on a theorum I say it like that, cause that’s a Joe Luin says it. Um, he knows, but Ethereum, as some people would call it, um, but we built that on a theorum and then we pivoted onto polygon, um, because it had a lower environmental footprint. And, um, and I’m in deep talks with Hadera to also build on, on that chain. And I think we all need to be conscious of, of the impact of the chains. And I do think it will be a competitive, competitive advantage, um, and people really need to look at what they need from a chain when they’re developing, because every chain has, you know, pros and cons and different impacts and, um, you know, Hadera is great.

Speaker 3 (17:52):

Yeah. And I, I, I was just gonna say, I mean, I suppose it’s, you know, in terms of the impact of technology and blockchain technology, that’s evolving quite rapidly and, you know, whereas Bitcoin, um, it probably might have a bigger impact than, um, many others. Um, you know, there’s a, of progression towards and being more sustainable and more efficient anyway. So it’ll probably become less of an, an issue as time goes on.

Speaker 4 (18:15):

Yeah, absolutely. And even a theorum is moving to, um, proof of state versus proof of work and, and that, that reduces the carbon impact and the environmental impact dramatically. So there’s lots of evolution happen and I mean, let’s face it. Blockchain is just a whole lot of servers and I can guarantee you, I haven’t done the maps and maybe I will. The, all of the banks in the world with all of their servers would have equal impact to, um, what we are doing and what people are doing in blockchain.

Speaker 3 (18:44):


Speaker 2 (18:44):

Yeah, true. Yeah. I think it’s a lot, a lot of it is to do with the optics because, you know, for, for quite a while now, when people have, have, um, referred to where the mining is taking place and the kind of power consumption required, you know, you see, you see these, um, these, these server farms being set up in remote valleys in, in, in the sort of, um, the way, way back in the hem layers somewhere, you know, nobody’s ever heard of it, but there’s a place there where they do mining because it’s, they’re right next to a power plant and there’s a lot of energy required. So, and it’s cheap, you know,

Speaker 4 (19:20):

So I wrote something I’m, I’m also on the board of blockchain, Australia, and we were marking up a paper. And, um, I, I wrote something the other day that I just said, unfortunately, every time you have a human being involved, um, there is a chance that they will be a criminal and they’ll commit fraud or they’ll damage the environment because, and, and that’s not gonna stop happening until there are no more people. Yeah. Because there, you know, there’s always bad actors, there’s bad actors in everything. We’ve got people counterfeiting money. Yeah. We have people that banks, um, I could, I have, I have people, you know, doing what I do for so long. You know, I, I have been bailed up at events by chief executive offices of coal mining companies telling me how bad solar is. Yes. Um, because we have to mine the rare earth to, um, create solar panels. Yes. And, you know, there’s no perfect answer. Humans have impact were extremely evolved creatures, you know, look at this building we’re sitting and it’s beautiful. However, it, you know, it takes

Speaker 3 (20:19):

From the ground, I mean, takes from something. Yep. Exactly.

Speaker 4 (20:21):

Everything we do except surfing. Maybe

Speaker 3 (20:25):

There’s, there’s a, um, one of my favorite sayings actually by, um, saddle goodo, which you may be familiar with. I know you’re a, you OGI. And, um, and he says that the world is at a point now where we have the technology and the capability and intelligence to, to solve many of the, the world’s problems. Um, and I probably don’t wanna get into the question of why that hasn’t happened, but I suppose, you know, it’s interesting to, um, um, you know, I guess there’s more of an immediate need now than there ever, ever has been as well. But, um, you know, I guess as interested what the commercial opportunity of impact investing is, um, and also what the role of technology, um, has in that

Speaker 4 (21:11):

Look, I think it’s, um, if you add up the whole opportunity, it is the greatest economic opportunity of our generation. And I include in that transition to a low carbon economy and also equality across all metrics. And I, I genuinely agree with that quote, um, and what we don’t have and what is missing is the resources and the belief because, um, the change could be happening now. However, we have these legacy systems and ecosystems that don’t want to be torn down. Mm. So right now, why am I so passionate about finance 3.0 web 3.0, because I can remove layers, layers of cost, layers of admin, mountains of paper systems, uh, systems. Yeah. And those systems don’t wanna be removed. And then those creating the new systems need resources. Yes. And, um, that’s why I’m so excited about joining a company like digital X, because what do I have that I’ve never had before?

Speaker 4 (22:07):

I have this amazing team of developers and, you know, fellow people who want to change the world. And, um, you know, what we need where we need to start first is unfortunately some of the most boring bits, which is RegTech and making sure that we have really sound financial systems that we’re building. Cause there will always be bad actors and see bad behavior in all financial markets. Yes. And crypto is no exception. And the art and mastery for all of us is going to be avoiding the bad actors and really building the good financial ecosystems and having the right people come on board. And, you know, one of the things we’ve never been able to do in impact investing is measure to prove that you can make superior financial returns through impact investing. Now, when we said that 16 years ago, we like I’ve been called crazy. And, um, let me tell you, I don’t sound so crazy now. Well,

Speaker 3 (23:01):

Exactly. And so there’s a, there’s a massive shift in, um, I guess humanities recognition of the need to change. And, and I guess where I was leading to that question is, um, that people are more aware and more interested and you can see that by the amount of investment in that area, which I, you know, I don’t know if, I think it’s like 70 trillion market or something like that, whereas 10 years ago that was, is definitely not the case.

Speaker 4 (23:31):

Yeah. And, and, um, absolutely. And then if you sort of a little bit, um, of you are like a little bit of a zealot like me, then you drill down into the numbers and a lot of that is not actually authentic. Yeah. And um, only about 10% of all capital attributed to sustainable finance right now is genuinely and authentically invested for impact. Um, and you know, one of the reasons why I’m, where I am today is because as a global equities portfolio manager, um, you know, I was so passionate about, about sustainable finance. I had this portfolio that I’d handcrafted, you know, I created the investment universe, I handpicked all of the stocks and it just didn’t feel authentic because it was only over like 51% of earnings or, you know, there were other unintended consequences of the actions of the company. And I came to realize that we need to invest more in real assets and direct investment.

Speaker 4 (24:25):

And that has sent me on a very strange path in my career, but I am sitting here today. I’m still standing. And obviously that was with Bendigo bank when we were building community super. And, you know, we did the RA ETF as, as a cornerstone for that. And you know, all of the work at nav with all of the renewable energy investment and the low carbon shared portfolio. And now we, we need to deploy more capital and, and faster and more authentically, cuz it’s not okay for large funds to, um, talk about sustainability unless they’re direct investing. Yeah. Uh, because a global equities portfolio, there aren’t enough companies genuinely doing the good to have a portfolio. It’s like to me, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Speaker 2 (25:05):

So, so is, is there likely to be a body that will provide that kind of, um, measurement and all disability behind this? Do you think behind the investments, you know, like where to, so you’re saying in your report and accounts yeah. That you’re doing this amount of investment in becoming green, prove it.

Speaker 4 (25:25):

Well, that’s why, um, that, where I think the world of the work of the world economic forum can really come into the forum because, you know, if you think about my role at digital X, I’ve got two things I have to solve for, I’ve got a fund that invests in this new economy. Um, so I need to understand what I’m investing in there and what the impact that is. Yes. Um, there’s a huge number of crypto funds that are emerging. Um, and then, um, to understand the impact of the business and, you know, our balance sheet and the investments that we’re making and you know, our staff and, you know, everyone, you know, loves to do the J scope 1, 2, 3, but it’s really important for all businesses to understand that. And it’s not okay to say my, that my, my head office is carbon neutral because I paid for a renewable energy.

Speaker 4 (26:08):

Yeah. Everybody needs to understand the ripple effect of what we are doing so that collectively, um, we can all be green. Um, and you know, in terms of investing, even activist shareholding to me is sort of half a step. It’s a good step. And I don’t wanna be critical of anybody. I think it’s really important that we are where we are, because if 90% of funds are attributing to sustainable finance, guess what? That’s the easy part. That’s the hard part is, was to get people to actually agree that sustainable finance had longevity. Yes. And now we can move them into what, what, you know, we call it the continuum of, um, light green to dark green and gray is terrible. Um, and we can move once people are light green, which is the 90% we can move them all the way down to the dark green because you’re preaching to the choir then. Yes.

Speaker 2 (27:00):

Cause people they’re on that journey. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (27:01):

They’re on the journey. Yeah. Once people are on the journey, the hardest part was getting people on the journey. Sure.

Speaker 3 (27:06):

How, how far do you think we are from that, you know, jump or that over that threshold into, from gray to, to light green?

Speaker 4 (27:14):

Um, I think so from, well, from gray to light green, 90% to the right number, but then light green to dark green. Um, we are 10 years away and we need to be there yesterday. Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. In my opinion. And like, I wish we were there now. Um, but there’s, um, just walk into any pub in Sydney and say that you’re an impact investor and, um, and hear the commentary and one out of 10 people will, um, be all for it. And nine of town will be like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, like you can’t make any money and you know, so yeah.

Speaker 2 (27:48):

So just from a kind of a, a reputational standpoint, obviously, you know, we’re watching things unfold in the Ukraine, um, which is, you know, absolutely dreadful to watch. And we, we will hope that that will resolve itself. But one of the consequences of what’s happened in Ukraine has been the people’s confidence in crypto because there’ve been a number well, it daily reports about, uh, NFT rug pools and cryptocurrency tanking again. And I mean, if you are an active investor and you are trying to back things up with cryptocurrency, doesn’t that present a, a huge amount of risk

Speaker 4 (28:26):

Look, one of the great lessons I’ve learned in life is it’s equal, good, equal, bad, and some may use the metaphor of a coin that there’s two sides to a coin. Um, there are actually three sides to the coin. The third side is the edge. And we’ll speak to that in a second. So on the dark side of the coin of this, obviously people are saying that are, you know, the Russian government and, and, you know, high net worth are using, um, crypto to avoid all of the sanctions and having

Speaker 2 (28:54):

Their assets frozen,

Speaker 4 (28:55):

Something, having the assets frozen and, you know, and that, that may be the case on the other side of the coin we’re having, um, you know, impact, um, you know, philanthropists raising money equal in Ukraine, through the crypto markets, um, so equal, good, equal, bad. Um, and then at the edge is, you know, this world that we can create, um, with the new transparency that there is, um, and that, you know, we really can create one world and it’s much easier to support people, uh, from Australia with these new financial markets. Cause let me tell you, I would not know how to convert into the Ukrainian, whatever it is or the Russian rub for that matter, if it still exists, don’t even know. Um, but if I can send a few Bitcoin, um, and to, to help somebody, then why not? And I think that this new way of doing things in this new way of working that we have in these new financial systems is worth it.

Speaker 4 (29:49):

And I think it’s worth doing the work and, and we can all be at our edge and really push ourselves to see past, um, you know, any rhetoric around things like Bitcoin, not having an intrinsic value being used for fraud. Um, you know, it’s extraordinarily traceable. Um, it’s very, it’s kind of old fashioned to think that, um, you know, you, that, um, criminals can only criminals use Bitcoin. Um, it really can be used for good. And one of the examples leading by example, um, on Monday is my first ever paid a at digital X. And, um, I’m going to get paid part of my salary in Bitcoin. Oh wow. And I can, once I start paying for my coffees in Bitcoin, um, then people start to see that there’s an intrinsic value. I hope it’s not the million dollar pizza, But I I’m gonna give it a go. And, um, and, and being the environmentalist that I am, I do a lot of work with carbon startups. So beta carbon in Australia and meta Carn in New York, which is carbon NFTs. And I’ll be buying a little rhino every time, every payday too, just to balance off my, any carbon footprint of the Bitcoin that I earn.

Speaker 2 (30:55):

So talking a little more about that. Tell us, what’s your experience been with NFTs? Have you, have you sort of broadly you invested or have you very sort of cherry picked very carefully?

Speaker 4 (31:07):

Look, I am a finance geek and, and what doesn’t come across with me. I’m a portfolio manager, so I am risk first. So I only invest in things I understand, and I do a lot of work. Um, NFTs can, can be great. Like I, I did a panel last night for, um, international women’s day, next week for consensus. And there was an art NFT girl on there and I was like, wow, I wanna go and buy art NFTs. Yeah. Because it’s helping the artist community so much. The only NFTs that I own, um, are, um, my meta carbo carbon, I call ’em carbon critters, but they actually call carbon creatures. So I own a rhino and I own a turtle. Right. Uh, we’re doing some work making, um, turtle NFTs for a carbon project in Kaun too, which is really cool. Right. Um, to restore some man groups. Yeah. Um, and also as part of my interview for digital X, I made a commemorative NFT. Um, if the board gave me the role, so there are four of those.

Speaker 2 (32:04):

And, um, not that you were trying to sway them at all.

Speaker 4 (32:05):

Well, I, the board still haven’t had them dropped into their wallet yet. There’s no bribery. It was just, I, I, I figured if I wanted to, um, go for, you know, such a great role as a CEO of a technology company, I had to pull something out of my hat. Yeah. Cool. So I, I did, um, follow, did tear a little page out of Ross McEwen and NAS book and wrote a handwritten letter as well. Yes. And then I was like, well, that’s not really gonna cut it for a tech business. So

Speaker 2 (32:30):

To end the spectrum.

Speaker 4 (32:30):

Exactly. So I made a little NFT. Um, my, I did that myself, actually, I bootstrap, I was quite, quite proud of my effort and I did on the avalanche

Speaker 3 (32:39):

Network. I was gonna say, what did you use? Yeah,

Speaker 4 (32:41):

Yeah. I used the avalanche network cause that’s also a, a quite low emissions network. And, um, and I wanted to play around with that network to get a little bit more inside knowledge on it and

Speaker 3 (32:51):


Speaker 2 (32:52):

For fun. Fascinating. So look, um, new role at digital X CEO. Can you tell us a little bit of about what you’re hoping to achieve in the first 12 months?

Speaker 4 (33:01):

Well, hard with a listed company. Uh, what I can say yes. Uh, what I can say

Speaker 2 (33:08):

Is no numbers, no

Speaker 4 (33:09):

Numbers, no, just expect much greener focus. Um, you know, we, I really, really hand on my heart, want to lead Australia into this really sustainable wor world authentic. Um, my dream would come true if I can have my listed stock in the portfolio of funds that I admire, like Australian ethical, because I’ve done a good job. Um, you know, I’m going to be refreshing the strategy. Um, you’ll see a lot of green on the pay age there too. And not maybe talking about money, maybe just talking about environment who knows, can’t really say it’s a listed company. Yeah. And, um, the piece of work that I’m really excited about as well as we’re doing a lot of work on our purpose and, um, right. Will be a purpose led organization. And when we’ve developed the purpose statement, that will be something that, um, you know, comes from my team. And, you know, one, one thing that really resonated when I interviewed was when I met the team, everybody was very aligned to my background and, you know, it’s a young team of great people, great developers, great finance team, great fund managers. And, um, they all really wanna have a positive impact. So we’re gonna all work together a purpose statement and you’ll see that come through.

Speaker 3 (34:22):

That sounds like

Speaker 4 (34:23):

And made money for shareholders.

Speaker 3 (34:25):

Yeah. Cause it, yeah.

Speaker 2 (34:27):

Oh yes. Shareholders as well. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (34:29):

Well, I mean, I guess it’s interesting. I mean that they’re kind of, um, interrelated, um, purpose and, and, and value and profit and there’s um, I guess it’s, again, going back to the progression or evolution of business over time where much of the more conventional and traditional corporations were built on taking to, um, to, and then making profits from a cost, um, as opposed to now, with which with more purpose, um, driven businesses, creating impact and the rise of impact in investing and coming from, um, society, having more of a value on impact because it’s becoming more evident that it’s more important right now. I mean, floods and everything that’s been happening. So my question is, um, what is the purpose of business?

Speaker 4 (35:22):

I think purpose of business is to create a better world because you need commerce. Um, and every business should have the thing that they’re doing to help people and to help make the world better. And when that comes to shareholder value, when we can quantify that and we can attribute returns to that, that’s when the rubber will really hit the road at the moment in large corporates, people are measured by the bottom line and nobody cares. Well, nobody has really cared how that money gets made. If you start identifying, hang on, you may have made a million dollars, but it costs the world. 1.8 million. You’ve lost me. You’ve lost the world 1.8 million, our shareholders don’t like that, cuz that is attributed to shareholder value. Yes, that is when we’re gonna start to see change. And at digital X that’s one thing that I aim to do is to really like have attribution around our returns and be able to say, you know, we can quantify that we made this money cuz we did this good. Um, and whatever that good is how we invest, um, you know, things like Drawbridge with the RegTech and helping people, not inside a trade, you know? Yes. We’ll be able to quantify that.

Speaker 2 (36:27):

So there’s, there’s a, I, I may be reading something into this that isn’t there, but there’s a certain paradox behind the fact you are based in Perth, which is the side of the con, which is having the biggest impact on the environment.

Speaker 4 (36:40):


Speaker 2 (36:41):

Yeah. I mean, how do you kind of,

Speaker 4 (36:43):

Oh my gosh. Well, so we’re part of a, a research, a CRC, um, which is backed by quite a number of large organizations. We’re probably the little minnow in the research co C it’s a digital CRC. So it’s a research consortium. Okay. Okay. Um, backed by these Australian government, it’s like a matching and oh yeah. Um, and most of the projects, um, so it’s about tokenization and digital assets and most of the projects are, um, that are being proposed, are environmental. And one of them, interestingly, something I’m very passionate about is, um, resources that are still in the ground, um, contributing value to either keeping them there. Or there are some, you know, rare earths that we really, really need, but then why are we selling the rare earth? Um, ex carbon? Yeah. It should be packaged and bundled up, bundled up. And between all of us, guess what we can already do.

Speaker 4 (37:35):

We can already tokenize carbon. We can already, already tokenize a commodity. Yeah. So, you know, with the market, we’ll be, you know, contributing to conversations like that. And um, you know, look at what, I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but, um, look at what Fortu and Andrew for is doing. I know, you know, when we were Ecofin in 2011. Yeah. Um, he, he had a young guy working for him that called me up and he said, I wanna put renewable energy next to the mine. And I’m like, you’re a legend. Yeah. And we worked on that project. Like they, they, they were genuinely thinking about impact now. Yes. And, and I I’ve been on the record as being quite cynical about hydrogen. Obviously if it’s, you know, powered by oil than it’s no different or coal than it’s no different to, to, to, um, you know, using a coal five house station, but you know, blue, hydrogen and green hydrogen green hydrogen, I should say, um, will have a hugely POS huge, positive impact on the world. And, you know, we need more green sources of energy. And, um, you know, obviously the elephant in the room there is nuclear, but, um, you know, back in the day when we had Tony Coleman, who was the, um, chief, you know, head of risk, IAG insurance as our chairman, he used to, I used to love him because someone would say nuclear and he’d say, do you know how many carbon emissions are in the concrete that it takes to build a nuclear power station? It’s a lot.

Speaker 2 (38:57):

Yeah. Yeah. Fascinating.

Speaker 4 (38:58):


Speaker 2 (38:59):

Um, so look just, just to close, um, can you give us any suggestions of any specific ways you feel distributed ledger technology will be delivering significant climate change benefits in the next few years?

Speaker 4 (39:13):

Yep. Um, all of the supply chain work we’re doing in ag that we were talking about before and separating out the carbon emissions. Yeah. Uh, the world wildlife fund for nature has a similar project called open SC that will have huge, positive impact and all the work that is happening in tokenizing carbon and, um, you know, expanding carbon markets, bringing more transparent and see all of that will have a huge positive impact. And then, um, there’s a few things we’re working on, which, because we’re a listed company I can’t talk about. Um, but there’ll be a lot of innovation in that space and a lot of positive movement. And I’m, you know, I don’t like to be over confident, but I’m very confident that there’s enough people like this digital village, um, enough people who wanna do good that we’re getting some traction. And I think you’ll see a lot of positive movement out of technology.

Speaker 2 (40:03):

Great. Well, we’re gonna stick your, um, your URL up on our website and with the, uh, the notes to the podcast. So people can keep up to date with what’s going on in the digital X world, but, uh, just finally to close Lisa it’s, it’s been a total honor to time with you, um, all the best in the new role and, uh, looking forward to seeing the changes that you’re gonna bring about, uh, not just in digital expert in Australia and the industry as a whole finally it’s Mardi GRA yes. Coming up. Yes. Um, so Jason and I will be there in Paddington. Yeah. The weekend watching the, the floats and the parade go by. What are your plans? Don’t

Speaker 4 (40:37):

See my rainbow rainbow sneakers here. No.

Speaker 2 (40:39):

Yeah. I did see that. They’re very cool wearing

Speaker 4 (40:41):

My, um, my, my rainbow sneakers and um, well think I’d be watching it on television. I hate to admit this year. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (40:48):


Speaker 3 (40:48):

You’ll see Paul on a flight. I’ll

Speaker 2 (40:50):


Speaker 5 (40:51):


Speaker 4 (40:52):

Well, because I was technically unemployed for two months while I was on gardening leave and not running the NAB pride at work. I didn’t get a bait this year. Oh. So, um, but I, I just have a little, yeah. Go into a fringe festival event tonight. Okay. Um, but you’ll, you’ll see me on my couch watching and cheering from home. I did, um, put some rainbow flags up in the office T was looking bit bare up there

Speaker 2 (41:13):

And there, there was a rainbow this morning across the Harbor. I dunno if you saw that, what time I, I ill show you picture later. I took a picture from our balcony and I posted it on Twitter. I said, you’re a day early.

Speaker 4 (41:24):

Oh, I hope there’s one tomorrow. I think we, I think we deserve that rainbow, but across many fronts, many

Speaker 2 (41:29):

Fronts. Anyway, thank you very much in indeed. A real pleasure talking to you and, uh, we hope to see you again soon.

Speaker 4 (41:34):

Yes. Thank you so much for having me. And I really love what this podcast is doing. And, um, I’m excited to learn about digital village and hear more about what, what you get up to. Thank

Speaker 6 (41:44):

You. Cheers now. Bye. Bye.

Speaker 1 (41:51):

Hope you enjoyed today. Episode, please feel free to check us out on our website, digital for our past episodes. We’ll be back next month, but on the last Wednesday of every month, as we are with more great stories and guests see you then.

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