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Wealthy, isolated, and incredible beaches: Perth Crypto City Guide


This “Crypto City” guide looks at Perth’s crypto culture, the city’s most notable projects and people, its financial infrastructure, what retailers accept crypto and where you can find blockchain education courses — along with a history of its crypto controversies.

City: PerthCountry: AustraliaPopulation: 2.14MEstablished: 1829

Jump to: Crypto culture, Projects and companies, Financial infrastructure, Where can I spend crypto? Education, Controversies and collapses, Notable figures.

About Perth

Perth is the most isolated major city in the world and is situated in Western Australia, miles away from anywhere else in the country. In fact, it’s around three hours behind the east coast cities of Melbourne and Sydney and shares a time zone with Singapore, China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

It’s one of the wealthiest parts of the country and rakes in heaps of cash from its iron ore mines. The state holds about 98% of Australia’s iron ore and contributed 38% of the worldwide supply in 2022.

The Perth city skyline. (Pexels)

Loads of people from Perth — AKA Perthians, Perthites or Sandgropers — are “Fly In Fly Out” mine workers. They jet off to the Pilbara region, 1,200 kilometers north, to grind hard in the mines for two weeks and make a stack of cash before heading back home for a “well-deserved two-week break.”

And Perth is not a terrible place to spend a fortnight in, given the city sees an average of eight hours of sunlight per day and boasts a coastline that stretches 123 kilometers.

Perth has also produced some of Hollywood’s most successful actors, including Heath Ledger, Sam Worthington, Isla Fisher and Melissa George.

Perth grabbed the global spotlight during the COVID-19 chaos by closing its borders even to its own residents and carrying on as normal.

While the world was going through lockdowns and chaos, Perth threw music festivals and even stole the coveted Australian Football League (AFL) grand final from Melbourne.

Perth’s crypto culture

Due to the cost of adding tour dates there, Perth tends to be the forgotten cousin when it comes to major events. Just ask the local Swifties how they’re coping with Taylor Swift hitting up nearly every other city in the country except Perth this year.

Perth beaches
The isolation is best described as “splendid.” (Pexels)

As a result, it’s used to building its own momentum. This is evident in the thriving crypto community at meetups, on social media and at local conferences. 

The WAWeb3 Association, a nonprofit pushing sustainable Web3 education, throws an annual two-day conference every year at the University of Western Australia. This March, they’ve got industry leaders like Yat Siu, co-founder of Animoca Brands, along with a bunch of other execs and blockchain academics lined up to speak.

If you prefer online communities, there is a crypto community Facebook group called Perth Crypto Crew, with 6,650 members at the time of publication.Another meet-up group, Perth Crypto Tech, puts on an event every other month where they focus on a particular topic at each event. At past events, they’ve honed in on stablecoins, cross-chain bridges and Solana.

Meanwhile, Perth’s local baseball team, Perth Heat, grabbed headlines nationwide by declaring themselves the first professional sports team to give their players and staff the choice to get paid in Bitcoin. 

They made the announcement in November 2021, the same month Bitcoin hit its all-time high exceeding $65,000.

Aspiring and hustling Perth-based blockchain entrepreneurs have a common space to conduct business with other like-minded people at The Blockchain Centre Perth.

The co-working space opened its doors in December 2018 for blockchain, tech and investment businesses. 

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Australian DeFi Association meetups in Perth

And the community can also meet up at regular events organized by the Aus DeFi Association. Mark Monfort is responsible for the events nationwide, but Bamboo chief operating officer Tracey Plowman and Aviatrix impact adviser Katrina Dunn look after things in Perth on his behalf.

Dunn tells Magazine that in just a year since starting, they saw a 1,300% growth in regular Perth attendees, albeit from a low base.

“We started the official WA Aus Defi meetups in July 2022 with five people at a bar in the city and eventually grew to over 65 registrations for our July 2023 event last year.”

It was quite a bold time to begin, given that crypto lending platform Celsius Network went bankrupt that month, and Luna and TerraUSD had collapsed two months earlier in May 2022.

Plowman concedes they “don’t get as many crypto events as the folks over east,” but the population is smaller, and the momentum has been building.

“We try to make sure each one is something special. It’s like, every time we get together, there’s this extra bit of gratitude and excitement in the air. That’s the heart and soul of our community, right there,” Plowman says.

Plowman hopes 2024 will see a larger turnout of Perth’s Gen Z crowd.

“This year, we’re especially keen to connect with the younger crowd. We’re reaching out to universities and those passionate about blockchain and web technologies,” she says.

Blockchain Australia also hosts Blockchain Week and organizes a day seminar in Perth as part of its nationwide tour every June. It’s a packed day featuring talks from banking executives, crypto exchange CEOs and industry leaders.

Perth skyscrapers
Perth currently has five skyscrapers that reach heights above 150 meters. That’s five more than Adelaide. (Pexels)

Perth’s crypto projects and companies

Perth is located far from the major crypto exchanges in Australia: Binance, CoinJar, CoinSpot, SwyftX and Independent Reserve have all set up shop on the East coast.

But some heavy-hitters do call Perth home, including one of Australia’s biggest digital asset investment firms, DigitalX. The Australian Securities Exchange-listed company has its headquarters in West Perth and provides wholesale investors with institutional-grade access to digital assets.

Lisa Wade, CEO of DigitalX, tells Magazine that about half of the company, nine employees, calls Perth home. Although Wade lives in Sydney, to stay on top of things, she hops on a flight at least once a month.

“The community is one of the most vibrant in Australia with the gatherings they have and are really focused on ‘building’ in the last few years. It is now well-placed,” Wade states.

“I feel Perth is a mirror of the broader industry, and we are seeing green shoots.”

If you are a Perth-based crypto firm, Wade emphasizes that DigitalX is “always looking to partner.”

Startups and scaleups that are picking up momentum and have a solid plan for the future may also wish to get in touch with Michael Prendiville, co-founder of venture capital fund JellyC.

Prendiville runs JellyC out of Perth and explains that the amount of new pitches he sees across his desk has taken a dip compared to 2022 when he was literally “fending them off.”

Prendiville says the firm is particularly looking for projects “moving forward on real-world assets tokenization.” 

Take note, though, that the blockchain industry has matured, and founders can no longer get away with submitting a one-pager pitch for millions of dollars of funding. Prendiville wants to see some backing from other major players and a “really well-thought-out plan.”

JellyC also manages two investment funds, Bluebottle Digital Strategy Fund and Bluebottle Multi Strategy Fund, both only available to wholesale and professional investors.

Perth city
Perth is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with a population of 2.14 million. (Pexels)

Wade reveals that two Perth crypto companies she is particularly excited about following the progress of are Bamboo and Arabella – the latter is a crypto bridge designed to establish a seamless transactional interface between the Ethereum and Concordium ecosystems.

Bamboo, meanwhile, is a micro-investing crypto app that’s becoming a go-to for people of all ages, providing an easy entry point into crypto investing. The app links up with your bank account, rounding up your everyday transactions to the nearest $1–$10, and then invests the spare change in crypto.

Blake Cassidy, CEO of Bamboo, tells Magazine that the firm is also concentrating on crypto educational content to help get the masses into the space. Bamboo has a blog where it publishes educational pieces on market and investment strategies, as well as a podcast.

“We have the Crypto Curious podcast, which is Australia’s largest crypto podcast. We get up to 60,000 monthly listeners, and that’s very much focused on breaking down what’s happening in the ecosystem on a week to week basis.”

Respected elder statesman blockchain project PowerLedger also originates and operates out of Perth. It has developed a world-first renewable energy blockchain trading platform. 

Its software allows consumers and producers to track, trace and trade every kilowatt of energy that is produced off-grid.

Powerledger
PowerLedger is a renewable energy blockchain project.

According to CoinMarketCap, PowerLedger’s native token, POWR, peaked at well over half a billion-dollar market cap. It’s now got a market cap of $163.4 million, and its current price is $0.31.

If residents of the mining state want to dabble in Bitcoin mining, there are options for them to do that, too.Mining Store, which sells crypto mining equipment, conducts some of its operations in Perth. Director William Wright reveals that mining has skyrocketed in popularity in Perth over the past seven years.

“Back in 2017, the clients that came to us were far from mainstream; however, now we see clients coming from all areas, including individuals, businesses, self-managed super funds and more.”

He explains that Perth people opt for the more environmentally friendly option when it comes to Bitcoin mining.

“A lot of the individual and business clients that we deal with utilize solar energy to lower the rising cost of electricity in Perth,” he says.

Perth’s crypto financial infrastructure

There are now 20 Bitcoin ATMs scattered around Perth, according to the latest data from Coin ATM Radar.

While you’ll find most of them at major shopping centers like Forrest Chase Shopping Centre, Morley Galleria and Dianella Plaza, there are also some at more obscure places like the Glendalough Laundromat. 

CoinCloud Bitcoin ATM
There are more than 38,000 Bitcoin ATMs around the world. (Pexels)

According to Cassidy from Bamboo, Bitcoin ATMs haven’t gained the same popularity in Perth as they have in other parts of the country.

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s really a popular way of people participating — some people do. But ofcourse most people participate on exchanges.”

Where can I spend crypto?

Coinmap indicates that over 30 businesses in Perth now accept crypto payments.

If you’re a gin lover, head to Frisk Small Bar in the CBD — it’s crypto-friendly.

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If you’re looking to spice it up in the bedroom without it popping up! on your bank statements, Beyond The Trap Door, specializing in exotic attire and lingerie, happily accepts crypto.

Or, if you fancy a weekend getaway and are willing to make the four-and-a-half-hour drive, Aiyana Retreat in Denmark welcomes crypto in exchange for a luxurious escape.

You can also pay with crypto to get your computer fixed at Techniq Computer Solutions.

Perth’s blockchain education courses

In 2022, the University of Western Australia (UWA) received $300,000 from crypto exchange Binance to bolster the blockchain courses on offer at UWA. 

According to a statement from UWA, the majority of the funding was used to launch a full master’s program for blockchain technology, and some was earmarked for a metaverse lab at the university, which will be researched and designed by the students.

UWA also hosts its own annual blockchain and cryptocurrency conference every year, the UWA Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference. Although it seems a bit more of a serious vibe with an academic focus compared to the lively Token2049 or Aus Crypto Con-style conference.

University of Western Australia
The University of Western Australia. (UWA)

Meanwhile, Curtin University established the Blockchain Research and Development Lab in 2019. According to Curtin:

“We will up skill and prepare the workforce for a blockchain based economy by providing relevant education and training programs.”

Curtin also launched a cryptocurrency PhD scholarship fund in 2019. This allows companies and individuals to donate crypto to fund PhD students in the areas of blockchain, cybersecurity and data analytics. 

Prendiville from JellyC says these pilot programs at the universities are a good opportunity for venture capitalists like himself to keep “one eye on what’s going on.”

Meanwhile, Perth institutions like CryptoLab and Digital Wealth Group are also offering a variety of smaller crypto educational courses.

Whether you’re a hopeful real estate agent or already in the field, if you’re in Perth, you’ll need to freshen up your blockchain skills as part of advancing your career.

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) launched a compulsory professional development (CPD) blockchain training course for WA real estate professionals. 

It provides students with a glimpse of how blockchain technology can help individuals across all sectors of the real estate industry.

Perth’s crypto controversies and collapses

Australia’s second-wealthiest person, Andrew Forrest (per the Australian Financial Review’s Rich List 2023), went head-to-head with Meta, the company behind Facebook. He slapped them with a lawsuit in 2023, claiming they didn’t do enough to stop fake ads using his name, luring people into crypto scams.

The beloved Perth Glory soccer club also got caught up in crypto shenanigans. 

Back in 2020, when mining magnate and Perth Glory owner Tony Sage was trying to sell the club, the deal fell through, and it came under intense scrutiny. A local media outlet dug in and found out the man behind the London Football Exchange, Jim Aylward, was a “colorful” London crypto entrepreneur who had been convicted in 2010 for a tax scam and had a reported history of robbery and assault.

Perth people seem to be easy targets for scammers. According to recent data, 71 West Australians were conned out of nearly $4.1 million in 2022.

Also, if you’re providing crypto trading “education,” try and stay on the right side of your Perth customers. A Melbourne-based crypto influencer, Michael Watkins, found that out the hard way.

In 2023, a Perth woman wasn’t happy with the service she received after paying thousands for his various crypto courses and trading groups. After the market turned in 2021, she saw her crypto get liquidated and slapped a one-star review on his profile on TrustPilot. 

Watkins filed a lawsuit for defamation, but it backfired. He lost, and he ended up having to pay legal fees.

Perth’s notable crypto people

JellyC co-founder Michael Prendiville, Bamboo CEO Blake Cassidy, Bamboo COO Tracey Plowman, PowerLedger founders Jemma Green and John Bulich, former Perth Heat CEO Steven Nelkovski, UWA blockchain lecturer Andrzej Gwizdalski, DigitalX CEO Lisa Wade, founder of Digital Capital Management Ben Ritchie, co-founder Empowa Phil Lewis, co-founder ArtsiX Kav Temperley, crypto analyst Sophie Amat, UWA head of blockchain and cryptocurrency research center Dirk Baur, former Binance Australia CEO Leigh Travers, co-founder dHEDGE Ermin Nurovic, L1X founder Kevin Coutinho, RailgunDAO researcher Kieran Mesquita, BalthazarDAO head of product David Beros, Blockchain Assets founder Ian Love, EarnOS founder Phil George, and Hsuite partnership manager Ronan Roarty.

Ciaran Lyons

Ciaran Lyons is an Australian crypto journalist. He's also a standup comedian and has been a radio and TV presenter on Triple J, SBS and The Project.



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