Forkner has over 20 years experience as a banking regulator in Wyoming, and was heavily involved in the Special Purpose Depository Institution (SPDI) bank charter, the first such framework for digital assets.
While NFTs and Web 3 are all on the menu at Fortress Blockchain Technologies, Forkner’s work on Wyoming’s SPDI over the last four years proved invaluable, according to Fortress CEO Scott Purcell, who previously oversaw digital asset innovation at Nevada-based Prime Trust.
As such, Forkner has gained a unique insight into crypto custody, not only at a state level, but also into where the U.S. as a whole is placed compared to other jurisdictions.
“Figuring out digital asset custody in Wyoming, we reached out to and spoke with the U.K.’s FCA [Financial Conduct Authority], and countries such as Finland, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi and Bermuda,” Forkner said in an interview. “The U.S. is much more complex because you’ve got a dual banking system and multiple regulators over markets.”
Leveraging his banking connections, Forkner – who will run the new Fortress Trust business – has been quietly working behind the scenes for the past five months to secure a trust license for Fortress with Nevada regulators, which was finally granted last week.
“I think that’s one thing I brought to the table, I have relationships with the banking commissioners or superintendents in the state system, having built that up over the last decade,” he said.
With almost 25 years as a banking regulator, it’s still an odd feeling to be on the other side of the desk, he added.
“I guess the thing about being a regulator is that you don’t actually build anything,” Forkner said. “This way I get to help build a new company.”
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