For many in the cryptocurrency community, the hashtag #whenlambo signifies the Lamborghini as the embodiment of the aspirational wealth they someday hope to possess.
But for Elizabeth White, #whenlambo conveys a personal challenge.
When the hashtag started trending in cryptocurrency forums last year, White says she thought to herself, “You know what, I can get these people a Lambo.”
Affluence may abound in the cryptocurrency community, but it isn’t always easy to transform digital wealth in for real-world assets. Punishing transactional fees, low daily exchange limits on trading platforms, and wildly fluctuating values can make trading digital currencies in for fiat a difficult endeavor.
White, who has long worked in the racecar industry, decided to leverage her connections to hedge funds and luxury car dealerships to provide cryptocurrency holders access to the Italian supercar of their dreams.
“There’s so much new wealth in the cryptocurrency community,” says White. “Cars seem to be a big seller because it establishes you as a cryptocurrency holder.”
Typically, White’s initial exchanges take place over the secure messaging app Telegram. White says she can facilitate a deal for a luxury car in exchange for cryptocurrencies in a matter of days.
“We had a very large sale to a buyer in China from a seller in California for a $4 million car,” says White. “The negotiation was very quick. It took less than a week and the settlement took about 30 minutes.”
White says her company, suitably called “the White Company,” can handle such fast-paced deals in a mix of fiat and digital currencies because of the liquidity of the hedge fund, Apis Capital Management, with which she works.
“We’re able to quickly convert someone’s holdings at any moment,” says White. “I can take these large amounts of money and purchase the items for my client, and then re-ingest their cryptocurrencies back into the fund.”
Among the transactions she’s handled are deals for Super Bowl suites, yachts, honeymoons, luxury fashion items, and engagement rings.
The ability to cash in digital assets for real-world goods is an important and validating function for cryptocurrencies, says White.
“It all goes back to offering cryptocurrency holders something they need,” she says. “They need the ability to purchase something in the real world with their digital wealth.”
White’s experience cashing in cryptocurrency assets for tangible goods has inspired her in an entirely new direction. Now, along with her finance partner Edgar Radjabli, she’s launching her own cryptocurrency called “the White Standard” that she hopes will someday be used to handle the majority of online transactions.
Unlike ether and bitcoin, which have both been historically traded as a method of speculation, the “White Standard” is a “stable coin” — a digital token with the chief goal of serving as a means of digital commerce. White says that each White Standard, which are built on the blockchain application Stellar, will be backed by an American dollar, ensuring that the coins maintain a real-world value.
“As they gain adoption, White Standards will be trade-able on other exchanges,” says White’s finance partner, Edgar Radjabli. “You’ll always be able to trade ether and bitcoin in and out of the White Standard.”
Radjabli said that both he and White started considering the possibility of their own dollar-backed digital currency when rumors began swirling that Tether, another dollar-backed stable token, wasn’t accurately representing the fiat backing for their coins.
The White Standard, which will be backed by Radjabli’s hedge fund, plans on building a foundation of payment networks for cryptocurrency trade worldwide.
“We want to build a coin that will let you instantly buy a cup of coffee or a Lambo with cryptocurrencies anywhere in the world,” says Radjabli.