Interview with Andrei Popescu – Co-Founder of COSS.IO/SCX Holdings and Seasoned DLT/Blockchain Tech Investor/Advisor
1. How did you start? When did you made your first contact with Blockchain and how did you made the decision to get involved in this field?
My first interaction was with Bitcoin, back in 2014 and had few understandings about the underlying technology. Only after I really started studying it, I understood how it works and a whole new world just opened to me; I could clearly see the huge potential of Blockchain Technology but I knew it on the spot that it will take time to make it happen. This was never a matter of “if”, it is only a matter of “when”.
2. Why did you choose to settle in Singapore?
I moved to Singapore in 2013, after navigating through several business ventures in Romania, Italy and Austria. In Singapore, I found that everyone is embracing the new technologies, and the communities are working hand-in-hand with the government to find the perfect balance on all business levels, which is fantastic.
I would say that the FinTech landscape in Singapore is developing at a phenomenal pace.
From all the Asean countries, Singapore is leading in terms of disruptive approaches and innovative technologies.
3. I saw that you are an advisor to several ICOs. Based on what criteria do you choose them?
I have been operating in the Blockchain and ICO space for some time now and I have seen the ecosystem go through ups & downs and everything in between. I get a lot of requests to sit on their advisory board and many of these projects I turn them down. For me, to be part of any project, it requires to get to know very well the team and everything that happens behind the scenes. I need to believe in the project and to know that everyone is working with the same dedication to achieve the goals and to deliver what they are promising. I wouldn’t accept such an offer if I don’t believe I can bring any value or business acumen to the table.
Most new projects are unaware of the processes and requirements that accompany an ICO and so look to advisers for guidance. Unfortunately, the hype and mania in the Blockchain/ICO space have led to new advisors popping up everywhere, most of whom have little knowledge and even less experience in helping projects launch a successful ICO.
4. How do you see the crypto market in 2018-2019?
We are just getting started!
I often say that where crypto assets and the other open Blockchain technologies are today is approximately where the internet was in 1992: in terms of technology, in terms of infrastructure deployments, in terms of adoption patterns. This technology is definitely where the internet was in 1992, but the hype of crypto and Blockchain technologies is around the hype of the internet in 1998.
We have identified the problems: we are missing a regulatory framework, there’s not enough liquidity, there’s not enough users to grow the adoption, the user interfaces are terrible, the applications (DApps) are still at their infant stages, the ease of use/the user-friendliness is not there, the fluctuations/price volatility/speculation undermines the possibility of using them as a value storage.
This is just the beginning! As I told you above; it’s not a matter of “if”, it’s just a matter of “when”.
5. What should an investor look for when choosing to invest in an ICO?
Not a day goes by when we don’t hear about a new ICO launch. No matter where you turn, you’ll likely to be faced with a new coin offering, with most promising “unbeatable returns” and “revolutionary technology”. The problem is that no every ICO is worth your time or – in extreme cases – even legitimate. Plenty of honest investors are being stung by “scam coins”, as ICOs continue to become a Wild West environment where practically anything goes. Some of the key recommendations to newbies are:
• It’s a TEAM effort – An ICO is only ever as good as the team behind it – at least that’s the idea anyway. While a team of unknown entities can certainly successfully launch a coin/token – every coin has to start somewhere – experience can often be telling. Information related to the experience of the development team, along with the business experience of directors and executive officers, should be detailed in the whitepaper and website. The right experience will give you peace of mind with regards to the ICOs legitimacy and direction.
• Understanding what the Token is and Token Economics – Crypto Assets can vary in everything from scale to features, but there are three main categories that any ICO will likely fall under – security, currency, and utility. What the token “is” should be made obvious. Any asset should indicate its intended use – along with its available quantity.
• Rules, Regulation and Governance – No crypto asset – not even Bitcoin – can survive without a supporting infrastructure. Without it, it’s simply a hollow marketing ploy. All reputable whitepapers/websites will address how the supporting infrastructure operates and how it will impact the governance of the token. This sounds like a given, but it’s actually rarely the case at times.
• Consider the road map and future plans – Companies with realistic and well-developed road maps that share their future plans are always a better choice. As an investor, you want to know when the project started and how far the development team has come. Additionally, you also want to know the future plans of the company following the ICO. If a company only wants to offer a certain service until the end of time, with no further investments and ideas planned out, then chances are their success will be short-lived. This is a bad sign for potential investors, as the token value increase potential remains limited.
• Fund transparency – By investing into an ICO, you’re basically putting your money to work. Wise ICO investments consist of companies which are transparent about how the funds will be used. This means that they need to share the total number of tokens to be released, how many will be sold during the pre-sale and the coin offering, what percentage will go to the team and brand ambassadors, and how the raised funds will be used to bring the project to life.
These are only few of the most important factors investors should consider, but above everything, each and every one should DO THEIR OWN DUE DILIGENCE!
6. What future plans do you have?
I am currently putting most of my focus in bringing efficiency to the marketplace. It’s a new project of mine that will be developed under SCX HOLDINGS (Singapore). As an alternative asset class management, we are bridging cryptos, with traditional world’s best corporate and institutional investors, where crypto assets are still in an early, immature, evolving stage of their existence.
I don’t want to say too much as everything is still under development, but you will hear very soon from us.
Thank you very much for your questions!