August 17, 2022

Crypto, Blockchain Present Opportunities for CFOs

When Gary A. Vecchiarelli, chief financial officer (CFO) at CleanSpark, joined the sustainable bitcoin mining and energy technology company in December, some people pointed out that he didn’t have a crypto background. 

“Not many people do, right?” Vecchiarelli told PYMNTS in a recent interview. “But I believe it’s a great niche going forward because this is really where the world’s heading.” 

Vecchiarelli came to CleanSpark with more than 20 years of experience in finance and accounting, having held senior positions with publicly traded, high-growth companies. 

Working With High-Growth, Middle-Market Companies 

“From where I sit, I think that there’s two advantages in my background,” Vecchiarelli said. “One, I’ve worked with high-growth companies, especially ones that have had a high CapEx focus.” 

As the senior vice president of finance at a regional hotel and hospitality company, he made sure there was a return on investment (ROI) on the capital expenditure (CapEx)-heavy remodeling for hotels and casinos. Similarly, in his current position at CleanSpark, the bitcoin miner must purchase infrastructure and dial in the ROI. 

Another advantage in his background is his experience dealing with middle-market companies — companies that are moving quickly, Vecchiarelli said. 

At these companies, he explained, leaders roll up their sleeves, work closely with operations and understand how business decisions are affecting the top and bottom lines. 

Anticipating Regulation of Crypto 

In addition, while we don’t know what the future holds with regard to regulation of crypto, Vecchiarelli has worked with industries that were heavily regulated, including gaming companies licensed or registered in 75 jurisdictions around the world. 

“So, I’m very familiar with compliance and regulation, and I feel that background will help us position and get ready for any regulation that might come our way — to either comply with it directly or mitigate any risk that regulation might have on the enterprise,” Vecchiarelli said. 

Related: OCC’s Comptroller Wants Stablecoins to Be Interoperable With US CBDC 

The two segments of CleanSpark’s business present different needs to the CFO, Vecchiarelli said. On the energy business side, there’s traditional inventory, accounts receivable and accounts payable. 

On the bitcoin mining side, it’s more about optimizing CapEx and minimizing operational expenditures. Here, it’s about deciding which mining machine to buy, at what price, and whether to have a fully-owned location or a rented location. 

“It’s a great balance, which sometimes is driven by the opportunities in the marketplace, but it’s fascinating and really one of the reasons why I love the position,” Vecchiarelli said. 

Encouraging Other CFOs to Look at Crypto 

Crypto is no longer the Wild West, Vecchiarelli said. On the payments side, Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies enable CFOs to deliver fast payments 24/7 with little or no transaction fees.

As a store of value, they offer CFOs a place to put a percentage of their company’s cash balance at a time when inflation is outpacing the interest they can get in savings accounts. 

“I think CFOs are going to have to look at crypto and how crypto can play a role in their business models,” Vecchiarelli said. “And blockchain technology — there’s a lot of ways that blockchain technology itself can really transform businesses, so I would encourage CFOs to quickly learn about it and figure out how they could help their businesses.” 

See also: Dogecoin Taking a Big Bite of Crypto Mindshare, PYMNTS Report Finds

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