Cryptocurrency and holidays – how does that work? – Tim and Anthony

I was interested to see that Great Keppel Island is about to undergo a multi-billion dollar upgrade and it will be funded with cryptocurrency.  When announced it got off to a flying start of over 50 million dollar’s worth of interest.  We talk to representatives from the companies behind the venture.  Anthony Aiossa and Tim Sommers walk us through how it is going to work and the opportunities available.
Kevin:   Recently I conducted an interview on the show and spoke to an American agent, or as they call there, a broker who is now specialising in doing all of her transactions, real estate transactions, using cryptocurrency. I was interested to see that Great Keppel Island is about to undergo a multi-billion dollar redevelopment which is funded by cryptocurrency tokenization. Never heard of tokenization but we will find out about it and in fact, it is the first island in the world to be crypto tokenized.
Kevin:   We’ve got two sides to this conversation. Anthony Aiossa is representing Tower Holdings, who are the owners of all of the leases for Great Keppel Island and also Tim Sommers will join me. Tim representing the consortium who is working with Tower. Tim, firstly congratulations on this initiative and I’ll get to Anthony in just a moment and talk about the how, sorry about the why, but let’s talk about the how. Tim, how does this work?
Tim Sommers:   We’re a Blockchain technology organisation that have been looking for projects outside of utility tokens and a utility token is something that hasn’t got a lot of value attached to it. We were looking for a significant Australian based asset that we could tokenize. What I mean by that is once you tokenize it it means that the holder of that token has an asset back to it that can be liquid. You can sell that asset or sell that token.
Kevin:   Yeah, and I guess that’s one of the benefits of cryptocurrency is that transaction can happen very quickly, can’t it?
Tim Sommers:   That’s correct and Blockchain is the enabler to allow us to raise funds in order to work with Tower and to crypto the island.
Kevin:   Yeah, a lot of people don’t realise that Blockchain is the technology or the security behind cryptocurrency, is that the correct way to describe it?
Tim Sommers:   It is, but there’s two factors to what we’re trying to achieve with the island in terms of Blockchain. What we’re allowing people to invest in the project using Blockchain as the enabling technology and they can do that by using their own US dollars or Australian dollars as well as using Bitcoin and Ethereum and other cryptocurrency. That’s one factor. We’re then going to allow people to have utility token to actually spend the cryptocurrency on the island.
Kevin:   Yeah, so Anthony Aiossa as I said at start is the CEO for Tower Holdings, the owners of the leases for Great Keppel. This is quite a bold move Anthony, why are you doing it?
Anthony Aiossa:   I guess the simple answer to that Kevin as to why we’re doing it is because it’s the most compelling proposal that’s been put forward to us. We’ve been involved in the project for just a little bit more than 13 years now. It took us quite some time to get the development approvals. We secured those in 2013 and unfortunately at that time we were living in the post GFC world in which the raising of project finance for large speculative projects, if you like, such as the one on Great Keppel was extremely difficult. We spent a number of years trying to secure funding and we got very close a number of times.
Anthony Aiossa:   We’ve recently undertook an international marketing campaign and this particular consortium came to us with this proposal and it’s a proposal in which we were very confident that they’re going to be able to raise the necessary funding to get the project off the ground. To answer your question, the why is because it was a compelling proposal and it’s a proposal in which they suggested an alternative form of financing, which could very well suit the island.
Kevin:   It’s a very big redevelopment proposal. It’s 750 luxury villas, 300 luxury apartments, about what, just over 200 marina berths, but the 18 hole Greg Norman designed golf course, is that going to remain?
Anthony Aiossa:   Yes, yeah the project as it was approved back in 2013 will remain in that format.
Kevin:   That’s good. Does Greg Norman get there himself?
Anthony Aiossa:   He’s been on the island, yes, yes. We’ve had him on the island, looked around it.
Kevin:   Tim, what’s been the take up on this from consumers who, I mean, cryptocurrency is still scary for a lot of people.
Tim Sommers:   Well I think it’s becoming less scary and more mainstream. You guys in the media I think are helping that. We launched this publicity campaign I think on Friday night, maybe Saturday morning, and we put up a fairly vanilla page, a website to allow people to register their interest. I mean, in the first three days we had somewhere in the region of about 50 million dollars worth of interest, which was 50 percent worth of cryptocurrency and 50 percent in fair currency, so it’s been a significant uptake.
Kevin:   Yeah, that’s actually quite impressive, 50 percent tokenization, is that the way to say it or is it just cryptocurrency?
Tim Sommers:   No, no, in terms of the people’s interest in terms of investment it’s 50 percent has been in Bitcoin and Ethereum and cryptocurrency and the rest has been in fair currency.
Kevin:   As I said at the introduction, it’s a fairly, not so much common thing but one of the things that I’ve noticed out of the states is that it’s a very quick, it can really quicken up the transaction. Over there, I mean, they’ve had delays of anything up to three months but with cryptocurrency it can happen in a matter of days.
Tim Sommers:   It’s a great point, so once we’ve tokenized the island and people have the value to their assets, they can instantly liquidise their holdings through exchanges around the world, so you bought a piece of real estate, but therefore not only can you spend that part of your token, but you can also liquidate and put it into fair currency again.
Kevin:   How do we get a bit more information about this Tim? Is there a website?
Tim Sommers:   There is, but I did mention it’s a very vanilla based website at the moment. There will be a lot more information coming soon, but it’s
Kevin:   Okay, we’ll make sure that’s in the transcript., that’s the website. Tim Sommers, thank you so much for your time. Anthony Aiossa, all the best. Congratulations on the guts behind this development. I take my hat off to you. Well done gentlemen.
Tim Sommers:   Thank you Kevin.
Anthony Aiossa:   Thank you.

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