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Leaders in Lending | Ep. 77

Digital Assets and the Metaverse: How Credit Unions Can Deliver Value

Joe Keller, VP of Digital Assets at Visions FCU, shares his thoughts on the digital asset space and why mass adoption must take place if we hope to see the true power of the asset.



Joe Keller

Joe joined Visions Federal Credit Union in 2022 to help drive their path within the Digital Asset ecosystem. Over the years, he has worked at many large financial institutions within all three lines of defense with a focus on risk and compliance, technology and regulatory action remediation. His broad knowledge of financial services and innovation pairs well with his intellectual curiosity to enable risk-based growth initiatives. He has been dabbling in the digital asset space for several years and is excited to see credit unions develop opportunities to better support their members and communities.



Visions Federal Credit Union

Visions Federal Credit Union strives to build relationships that accommodate every stage of life. Visions FCU prides itself on being "People Helping People"​. As a not-for-profit organization, Visions exists to serve its members in three states (NY, NJ, and PA), and countless communities. Commitment to community is one of its core organizational values and is demonstrated at all levels of the organization.

Key Takeaways

  1. The wide range of early conversations around digital assets 

  2. Why transformative technology fails without mass adoption

  3. Real estate in the digital world


Whether you’re in favor or against digital assets, they’re here to stay. While cryptocurrency may be the first thing that comes to mind, that only scratches the surface of how expansive digital assets can be. 

Today’s guest, Joe Keller, VP of Digital Assets at Visions FCU, shares his thoughts on the digital asset space and why mass adoption must take place if we hope to see the true power of the asset.

The wide range of early conversations around digital assets

No matter how many groups that Keller speaks with about digital assets, each time is a little different — from institutions embracing the change to others that totally reject it, there’s no shortage of conversation. But what does a digital asset really mean?

For many, a digital asset refers to cryptocurrency. While that is definitely a kind of digital asset, the true scope includes much more. Joe breaks down all the ways to think of the asset:

  1. Payment mechanism: Exchange of value between two people.
  2. Digital representation: You have a real world asset that you want digitally, such as a digital title. 
  3. Digital world: Using assets within a digital world.

How to get started

With all the kinds of digital assets that exist, it can be intimidating for someone to get started. They might ask, “Is buying cryptocurrency the only real way to get involved?” 

Keller’s response: Absolutely not. Instead, Keller suggests spending time creating an NFT, going into the Metaverse or setting up a digital wallet. Going through any of these processes will help the person start asking the right questions — you might never ask whether you want a hardware or software wallet without going through the process first. 

Trying out one of these options also leaves a lot of room to make mistakes with little downside; if you were to invest first and learn later, you may be left with a very negative view of the space. 

Why transformative technology fails without mass adoption

Whenever we have innovation take place, there’s always high ideals of how it’ll transform the world. Despite these promises of perfect execution, we can’t overlook issues like fraud that interrupt the process. Digital assets are no exception.

When it comes to using digital assets for lending purposes, Keller spends his time exploring what is possible and whether there’s true application. If he finds application, the real challenge of adoption begins:

Think of when the automobile was first invented. Everyone thought it was ridiculous. Over time, however, as more people bought them, the world saw the automobile’s true potential. A use case example of today: Electric vehicles. Even though they’ve been around for years, they lacked adoption. Once Tesla forced adoption, there wasn’t one vehicle brand that didn’t have an EV option. 

Real estate in the digital world

For many, the idea of real estate in the Metaverse is a big controversy: Will homes gain or lose value in an infinite digital setting? Joe looks it in two ways: 

  1. No scarcity means no value: If more and more homes are infinitely available, there will be no reason to buy someone else’s home. 
  2. Subscriptions create that scarcity: The only way Joe can see value increase is if your home becomes part of an exclusive club. In the same way that highly popular cities cost more to live in than rural areas. 

A key takeaway

The digital asset space is vast. Keller’s advice: Educate yourself and with as little personal loss as possible. You don’t have to buy a lot of different cryptocurrencies before you can start learning about digital wallets or how the Metaverse works. 

As more adoption takes place, digital asset use cases will increase. The more education, the more potential opportunities.

Keller explains, “Whether it be a FinTech or financial institution, we're trying to educate our consumers. And if it then enables us to give a better member experience through technology or something else, that's what we're going to pursue; and we're going to make sure we can give the best experience to our members at the best price.”

Stay tuned for new episodes every week on the Leaders in Lending Podcast.


Stay tuned for new episodes every week on the Leaders in Lending Podcast