I’m a recovering tax advisor who now builds companies.
In my former life, I worked in the tax and legal practice of a Big 4 accounting firm in Melbourne, Australia. I specialised in international tax and structured financing deals.
After realising that my real passion was in building companies I returned to a business which I began when I was 18 – Spectrum Tuition (formerly Footscray Tuition Centre). At Spectrum Tuition I ran operations, compliance and digital. I also helped to build out the company’s franchise strategy.
More recently I was CEO of Fintech Victoria – a Victorian government seed funded organisation. Fintech Victoria aims to amplify, grow and connect the Victorian fintech ecosystem.
I also sit on the board of Fintech Australia and act as company secretary.
I graduated university with a double degree in Commerce/ Law both with honours. I also have a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne.
My main area of focus during my economics degree was in the field of applied industrial organisation. More specifically, both my honours and masters theses were on modelling competition in the Victorian retail petrol markets. I graduated with first class honours.
During my law degree, I focused most of my attention on corporate and commercial law. I was awarded the tax prize for coming first in my year in tax law and completed my thesis in the area of insider trading. For my law thesis, I examined how triple penalties impact insider trading enforcement.
I began my advisory career at a Big 4 accounting firm in their tax and legal practice. During my time as an advisor I worked on a number of high profile cross-border reorganisations, structured financing deals, mergers and acquisitions.
As an advisor, I predominately worked on international tax matters and structured financing deals. Further, I have experience working on tax and legal issues across a number of jurisdictions, these include: Netherlands, Hong Kong, Philippines, Chile, US, Switzerland, Isle of Man and the UK.
When I was 18 I started my first company – Spectrum Tuition (formerly Footscray Tuition Centre).
In 2011 I returned to Spectrum Tuition on a full-time basis to take over day-to-day operations. During my time there I developed Spectrum Tuition into one of Melbourne’s best year 1-12 tutoring centres with further plans to extend our footprint across Australia.
I also led online projects and deployed a number of successful projects (see for example www.spectrumlearning.com.au).
Blockchain & Digital Currencies
I’m also a sought after regulatory advisor in the Blockchain space. I’ve advised and presented to government departments, ASX listed companies, angel investors, VCs and startups on the impact of Blockchain technology across a number of industries. I’ve also spoken at international conferences on legal and regulatory issues related to the digital currency industry.
More recently on the regulatory front, I led and wrote FinTech Australia’s Digital Currency and Blockchain technology industry submission to the Australian Treasury. In response to this, the government indicated that they would act to remove GST on Bitcoin in Australia – one of the key recommendations of the submission. I have acted as an industry expert on a variety of consultations undertaken by Treasury on digital currency and blockchain technology.
I’m also the co-organiser of the Blockchain Melbourne meetup group (8th largest blockchain meetup in the world), Hyperledger Melbourne meetup group, Next Money Melbourne meetup group and I was a founding member of the FinTech Melbourne meetup group (the largest FinTech Meetup in the Asia Pacific region).
I sit on the board of Fintech Australia, the Blockchain Association of Australia and established FinTech Australia’s digital currency and Blockchain sub-committee.
In the media, I’ve been quoted on Bitcoin and Blockchain related issues in publications such as the Australian and The Financial Review (see below for references).
I also consult in the Blockchain and digital currency space through Block+Labs – a newly established blockchain and digital currency lab.
I’m the editor of The Week In Bitcoin, a curated publication that takes the most important stories in the world of Bitcoin and sends them directly to your inbox every Friday. It is subscribed to by many Bitcoin insiders and is commonly praised for its deep analysis.
I’m recently lead Fintech Victoria as interim CEO. Fintech Victorian is government seed funded organisation that aims to amplify, grow and connect the Victorian fintech ecosystem.
Below are some recent articles I have been quoted in:
“New blockchain standard will drive innovation in Australian fintech startups” (My Comments)
“Australia ranks fifth in world for fintech adoption, but the sector says there’s a long way to go” (My Comments)
“New Fintech Plan For Melbourne” (My Comments)
“Is Ethereum The New Bitcoin” (Radio Interview)
“Finspirational People: Alan Tsen” (Interview)
“Fintech in focus” (Fintech Victoria – Fintech Victoria profile)
“Don’t write off bitcoin yet, despite blow to Winklevoss plan” (Bitcoin – my comments)
“New blockchain standard will drive innovation in Australian fintech startups” (Blockchain Technology – my comments)
“How digital innovation is transforming banking” (Blockchain Technology – my comments)
“Blockchain technology extends to agricultural contracts” (Blockchain Technology – my comments)
Big Banks Ramp Up Blockchain Trials (Blockchain Technology – my comments)
“GST On Crowd Funding Activities Could Be A “Compliance Nightmare” for Start-ups” (Taxation of Crowdfunding – my comments)
“Bitlicence Provides Reality Check For Startups” (Bitcoin regulation)
“ATO delays position on bitcoin – but gives some guidance via private binding ruling” (Taxation of bitcoin)
“The winners and losers from the ATO’s bitcoin guidance” (Taxation of bitcoin)
“ATO bitcoin ruling may hamper digital currency sector growth” (Taxation of bitcoin – my comments)
“Alice in ATAR-Land” (Education)