Let’s say you invested in cryptocurrency at the right time. You’re sitting on a pile of coinage, but you can spend it neither at Neiman Marcus nor on a gallon of milk. What do you do? You call Elizabeth White.
She’s reachable by phone, but you’re more likely to get her via Signal or Telegram, the encrypted communications apps preferred by many of White’s clients, who tend to be young, male, and highly attuned to internet security. White, through her New York–based White Company, acts as a broker and agent of sorts, converting cryptocurrency and exchanging it for a client’s dream Lamborghini or Chagall painting.
The founder and CEO has created a venture that seeks to normalize cryptocurrency use. “These tokens or coins need to fit into something we already understand,” says White. “Is it a commodity? A security?” She favors treating cryptocurrencies like loyalty rewards points and is in discussions with apartment landlords, for instance, about digital dollars being accepted for rent payments. White’s own branded financial products are backed with cash deposits at several hedge funds and include her company’s White Standard stablecoins, which she aims to make the lingua franca of cryptocurrency. There is also White Pay merchant processing to enable retailers to accept payments, and the White Wallet cryptocurrency exchange.
But again, how do you buy a gallon of milk with Bitcoin? The company recently began accepting applications for the White Card—a reloadable crypto debit card offered with Mastercard. Once clients load it with one of five cryptocurrencies, they can use the card to make purchases and cash withdrawals in the United States and 200 countries worldwide.
“I would send my dad to Elizabeth,” says a 25-year-old cryptocurrency speculator who lives in Gibraltar and asked that his name be withheld to protect his personal security. He is a client of White Market, White’s luxury store and concierge service, which brokered his purchase of a BMW S1000 RR motorcycle and several race car kits. The company charges a transaction fee, which ranges from about one to three percent, but passes along discounts it negotiates with auto dealers, art galleries, and other sellers.
White began as a speculator, buying Bitcoin four years ago as a lark. Having worked in the banking and automotive industries, she started to broker transactions for fellow crypto traders and ended up financing her company with her crypto profits. “I was lucky and fortunate because I sold out of my investments in Bitcoin when the market went up,” says White. So, how does she feel about the recently plummeting crypto markets? She says they are actually good news. The brand-new shiny-object phase is over. This, she says, is “normalizing” crypto.