During the Buidl.asia conference in Seoul, South Korea, I realized the big difference that exists between Europe and Asia in the blockchain sector. Asia is a huge market for the blockchain sector and for cryptocurrency.
In Italy there are two crypto currency exchanges, in South Korea… two hundred.
The conferences of the sector and the companies based in Asia are really many and coming back from Seoul I made an important decision: I have to pack my suitcase and spend a month to get to know all the key players in the region. It was a simple business decision, but it turned out to be difficult on a personal level. I had never been away from my family so much. The great energy I found in the 200 people I met in the 5 countries I visited, gave me a lot of support.
This post is the account of my trip written for all fellow entrepreneurs and business partners and consortium members who ask me how it went.
In mid-August, when Italy was still on holiday, Davide and I, the co-founder of Commerc.io, boarded a plane to Singapore. We were invited to speak in a panel at the Blockchain Summit in Singapore. Together with me on stage were companies like Microsoft, Trustology and other big names in the enterprise world. Explaining the Blockchain’s potential to companies has become my life mission , I did the same about the internet in the 1990s.
The next stop was Bangkok in Thailand where we met many famous companies in the sector such as OmiseGO and Loom. Companies that moved to Asia for various reasons, such as: low wages, the cost of living of a fifth of Italy and the general positive attitude towards crypto currencies by governments. It was a great opportunity to meet people from the sector. Everyone gave us a lot of useful advice and for me and Davide it was the perfect opportunity to get back to work on our Token Economy document. After a week of strategy work, Davide returned to Italy and I continued alone towards the most important stage of the trip: Seoul
To save time and money (we are a startup) all our flights are strictly in economy. We always travel from one country to another at night. For two reasons: First to not lose a day’s work and second to save a night’s hotel cost. The only exception to this rule was the Bangkok/Seoul route where I traveled with AirAsia, a Ryanair style low cost that offers a low cost Business formula. Basically for a handful of dollars you can have a Flatbed seat, a real bed. Fantastic. Only in Asia.
Towards South Korea
In Seoul I attended the Korea Blockchain Festival talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs, interested in understanding how Blockchain can improve their businesses. After my presentation at the conference, the organizers “seized” me because the final questions were so many that they decided to organize an AMA (Ask Me Anything). We moved to another room and they asked me an endless series of questions about Blockchain and Business. By the end of the day, my 30-minute speech had gone up to three hours. The biggest satisfaction was to see the faces of other entrepreneurs when they understood the potential. At the end of the AMA I reported that I wrote a book on the blockchain called “Doing Business with the Blockchain”, later I noticed a peak in sales on Amazon. A strong signal that there is great need to make communication on the topic business and Blockchain.
The rest of the week in Seoul was the most important part of the whole trip to Asia. I had the opportunity to meet in person in Gangnam all the companies crucial to bring commercio.network to version 2.0
I met the local validation nodes of the Cosmos network. I met them at the hackaton in Berlin in May and then met them again at Buidl.asia in July. Meeting them in person in their own offices, in their own city, is completely different from a conference. In person you can establish a human contact and a sharing of ideas in a different way than a chat on Telegram. It’s clear that for some people it can be considered an “old fashion” thing to see themselves in person, in such an advanced sector as crypto, and that’s why I consider it a privilege to have drunk a coffee with Hyungyeon Lee of B-Harvest and Michael Kim and Jeeuk Lim of Node-a-team.
I also met about twenty Korean Exchanges that shed light on the Best Practices for listing the token of Commerce. I discovered a lot of useful information on how exchanges operate. Things that nobody says and nobody writes, information that can only be obtained after a few hours with a person, where you start to understand what happens behind the scenes of the Crypto markets. I learned that there are different ways of doing Market Making, I learned the role of influencers and how to best communicate the value of your project.
After talking to all these people I understood the most important thing.
We need a different Token Economy for real projects
An economy token is composed of two macro components:
Component Price: Investors and Exchanges
Component Value: Application and Customers
Currently, most of projects in the crypto sector are focused on the Price component, which is composed mainly of speculators and holders. Most of the projects before Trade made an IEO/ICO before their platform went live and organized marketing schemes to manipulate the price, so that the Token was traded on the exchanges even if it did not have a real business and value yet.
The IEO/ICO period is comparable to a large speculative scheme in which the vast majority of retail investors buy tokens for the sole purpose of reselling them to someone else at a higher price. Almost no one was interested in the actual use of the token but only in speculation. The entire IEO/ICO ecosystem is based on selling a dream. Unfortunately at some point investors wake up from this dream and start selling the tokens, resulting in a price spike.
Fortunately, Commercio network has focused the last two years on the value component. We discovered a problem that was extremely complex and expensive to solve with traditional technologies and we thought of a cheaper solution using the blockchain.
This huge difference forces us to think of a different strategy than the traditional IEO/ICO, because it is not our intention, to fall into the hands of short-term speculators, but to think of how to create value in the long run. We must think of a different formula for listing our Token. I have an idea… I will talk about it later in another post.
Return to Singapore
The next stop of the trip took me back to Singapore, practically the nerve centre of the crypto sector in Asia. I was joined from Italy by Johnny, the president of the consortium CommercioConsortium.org, which brings together all the validation nodes of the network commercio.network.
In Singapore, in the fantastic setting of Marina Bay, we participated in Invest:Asia which is the most important event in the industry in the region. Virtually all the big names in the industry were present. We met Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, CoinGeeko. We drank together with Bobby Lee, the most famous Chinese Bitcoin entrepreneur, who introduced us to his new creature Ballet. We talked about blockchain 3.0 with Kyle Samani from MultiCoin.Capital and the most important thing of the whole conference was to re-embrace with Jae Kwon, the founder of Cosmos. Jae told the success story of Cosmos, which is the platform with which Trade is built.
Singapore is the only place in Asia where I would live… even tomorrow morning. It’s a wonderful, safe and clean place, where entrepreneurship and the desire to create value are supported. A small city state where live the most dynamic and interesting people in the world. Where Roy Reale also lives, a very dear friend of mine and companion of adventure with Commerc.io. Roy moved to Singapore with his family and continues his work of spreading the Crypto world with his header EtherEvolution. We had dinner with his family and Johnny and I ate the best Peking Duck in Singapore. Roy is a special person, who manages to infuse a sense of spirituality into his work, and his vision is very inspiring and motivating for me to continue.
Roy, Johnny and me before eating the best Pecking Duck Ever
Before leaving for Shanghi we had the pleasure to have lunch as guests with Stakewith.us of Singapore, with Forbole of Hong Kong and Stake.Fish, who organized an event on the occasion of the first meetup of Cosmos Singapore.
During the whole trip I realized that Cosmos, has a strong competition in Asia, because the number of regional Blockchain projects are really many and fierce. But with the likes of Michael, Mervyn, Kwun, Terence, and JK I am absolutely convinced that Cosmos will gradually gain the ground it deserves.
The last stage of the trip takes us to Shanghai, where Johnny and I have participated in two important events: A Hackaton for the automotive industry sponsored by Wanxiang where we met Mikael Elley of Karma and the Wanxiang International Blockchain week which is the first event that launched the DevCon of Ethereum, where 4 years ago I met for the first time Vitalik Buterin and the whole team of Ethereum.
The hackaton was an opportunity to understand how much our blockchain was ready to use. We met two Chinese developers Ted and Jack and created a team, to launch in 24 hours AutoID an identity system for any vehicle. The goal was to be able to keep track of all the important events in a car’s life and solve the serious problem of mileage certification, thus eliminating the odometer scam. We were the only project based on Cosmos, but it was a great opportunity because a lot of people stopped to ask us how to use it, even if we did not win the hackaton, we are still happy because we managed to convince a lot of developers to try Commerce and Cosmos.
The conference was an opportunity to meet new people and review old acquaintances like Harriet Cao of Irisnet, Brian Kerr of Kava and Do Kwon of Terra, all projects like ours based on Cosmos. We had a very interesting panel on the future of the blockchain where Vitalik Buterin, and Jae Kwon and others discussed together. Vitalik even in its closing Keynote took as an example Cosmos and its Proof of Stake. A confirmation that we have chosen the right technology for our project.
After thirty long days of traveling to 5 countries and enormous nostalgia for my family I returned home … outside the door of the house I found a sign with the words “Welcome back Dad” It is the signal that tells you that maybe I exaggerated. It was a huge sacrifice for me… But it was worth it, the 200 people I met on this trip left an important mark on me. For me, commercio.network is not just a business project, but a real mission to change the way companies create an environment of mutual trust.
Thanks to my traveling companions Davide and Johnny and my family who have endured my long absence, I couldn’t have done it without you.