A local crypto exchange has launched a blockchain innovation hub in Sydney

The Independent Reserve executive team. Lasanka Perera, CEO Adrian Przelozny and Roman Stefanidi. (Source: Supplied)
  • Domestic crypto exchange Independent Reserve has launched a blockchain innovation hub in North Sydney.
  • The site – called IR ventures — will include commercial tenants and a working space for blockchain startups.
  • The hub plans to provide mentoring services and “invest in up to 24 Australian companies in early commercialisation stages”.

Domestic cryptocurrency exchange Independent Reserve has announced the launch of a blockchain innovation hub in Sydney.

The new coworking space will be established on a 280 square-metre site at 100 Miller Street, across the harbour from the CBD in North Sydney.

Industry body the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA) has been confirmed as a tenant. Blockchain company Genereos will also be based at the site.

The blockchain hub will be called IR Ventures, and aims to provide mentoring and support to “nurture the next wave of blockchain startups in Australia”.

The network of mentors and advisers will include Independent Reserve CEO Adrian Przelozny, Mike Bacina of law firm Piper Alderman, and Martin Rogers of venture capital firm KTM Ventures — an early investor in Independent Reserve.

“The goal of IR Ventures is to create a community and supportive environment for teams to benefit from each other and Independent Reserve’s learnings, capital, partners and exchange,” Przelozny said.

Interested parties can now apply for membership at the new working space.

As part of the selection process, the IR Ventures team will “invest in and support up to 24 Australian companies in early commercialisation stages, as well as those building blockchain and fintech solutions and creating employment in Australia in our burgeoning blockchain industry”.

Today’s launch follows an announcement by the NSW government to establish a tech innovation hub in the south of Sydney, with the aim of creating “Australia’s version of Silicon Valley“.

Independent Reserve is also launching a venture capital fund called Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership, in which the crypto exchange will be a “significant investor”.

Data from the 2018 EY Fintech Australia Census shows new blockchain startups account for around 7% of new fintech companies in Australia.

The report said Australia is ranked fifth out of 22 markets globally for rates of fintech adoption. One of the main challenges cited was the costs required to build out a customer base.

Przelozny said Independent Reserve, which was set up in 2013, was established with the aim of improving blockchain innovation in Australian and bringing cryptocurrencies to mainstream investors.

“IR Ventures extends on that vision and our commitment of working towards one common goal: developing our local blockchain ecosystem and strengthening Sydney’s credentials as a regional hub for blockchain innovation,” he said.