Cointelegraph begins publishing series of flash interviews with fascinating speakers and guests of the BlockShow Asia that took place in Singapore in November 2017.
Simon Dixon, English businessman, entrepreneur, banking reformer and angel investor, knows fintech like the back of his hand. Having moderated a panel discussion on crypto funds at BlockShow Asia Simon then talked to Cointelegraph about the geography of crypto, shared his excitement about the development of the industry and suggested an idea for a new Blockchain application.
Cointelegraph: What is your first impression about the venue, about the community gathered here, about the audience?
SD: Well you couldn’t have picked a better place in Asia! Singapore is awesome! There is a really great attendance here. We just kicked off the first panel and I think the audience really enjoyed what they were getting out of that. Seems like a right diversity of both investors and entrepreneurs and people who are new to the sector. You know we are going through rapid growth at the moment, the prices are at record highs so that’s attracting a lot of people and you’ve done a very good job of putting them all together in Singapore.
CT: You do travel a lot, I imagine, did you notice some difference between crypto communities in different places of the earth?
SD: That’s an interesting question! I think just in general Bitcoin and cryptocurrency was designed as an innovation without borders. What I am experiencing right now is wherever you go -- there are just buoyant communities, there are bankers that are leaving, there is like an exodus towards Blockchain right now. I think everywhere you go -- there are different use cases. I just came from Vietnam. I am off to Seoul in Korea. In Vietnam I experience more on-the-ground development, people looking to do some really interesting things. Here in Singapore, I am seeing people use Bitcoin and Blockchain for more financial innovation. They have a very buoyant financial sector here. In Seoul there is very new investment products, there is a lot of speculation. Other places I go, you are just seeing it everywhere. It’s just a fast-growing, exciting and overwhelming sector. That’s my emotion I feel every day - excitement and overwhelmed.
CT: Do you always feel comfortable being so excited and overwhelmed at work?
SD: It’s just that I first got into this in 2011. In 2011 I knew every deal that was happening that we might have invested in. Now BnkToTheFuture.com, we receive 30 applications a day from people looking to build something new on Blockchain, looking for investment, and looking to grow. It’s exciting to see our industry get this traction because for so long it was such a small niche where we were just trying to explain to people this very strange concept. Now it just seems that everyone wants to know about it. There is so much education that’s needed in order to go from where we were in its very early days to where we are now, and sort of the adoption on forecasting through 2018 up to 2020 and beyond.
CT: What are the biggest, most sensitive things for boosting the industry up?
SD: I think what we are seeing right now is that Bitcoin has officially become digital gold. I think in the past it was focused on being a currency. Because it’s now digital gold, it’s created this ‘world reserve gold back currency type thing’ that is global and that we have never seen before. So, whenever you are trading in and out of these assets that are being built because they are both technology protocols and financial products, people are finding that very hard to get their head around because they act as, depending on how you want to use them, they act as all of those. What we are seeing right now is that now Bitcoin has reached the $10,000 mark -- Ethereum is probably approaching 500.
CT: It was yesterday’s gift for BlockShow.
SD: Yeah, We got record highs for the show. Based upon those are like the foundations of a lot of the innovation. Bitcoin is like the safe store of value in our world. Where people see it as a crazy thing, in our world, it’s like the flight to safety is Bitcoin. And then Ethereum is like this very innovative product everyone is building on top of, breaking things and has new drama every week; just like the whole sector really. But I think it’s capturing the imagination of everybody and it’s just really great to see the number of people that are entering the sector.
When I first got into this, I believed that the future of finance is very different from the past and today we are actually seeing this happening. This is the place for people who wanna come and work, develop their skills, it’s abundant in money -- we are above $300 bln of market cap. So now we just don’t even need traditional finance we go out and we do our own thing. That’s just such an exciting thing where we become almost like a self-funding mechanism whereby the industry has enough wealthy people to fund itself. So you don’t need to go out there to traditional finance and try and persuade people of these strange and weird ideas that are so foreign to what they know. And then they can take their time to get integrated into the sector and use it in the way that they want to use it because Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is so many different things to so many different people.
CT: Which book did inspire you recently? Maybe you would advise something to our readers?
SD: Well this could come across as real, blatant self-promoting but I believe I wrote the first book in the world that covered Bitcoin which is called Bank to the Future. I did go back and read that and I think it’s still as relevant today as when I first wrote it in 2011.
CT: Would not you like to republish it?
SD: I would LOVE to republish it but I just can’t find the inspiration and time to do it.
CT: Inspiration or time?
SD: Well…time. I don’t like writing I love talking, so for me, it’s a very unnatural process.
CT: So, you have to find some person who will listen to you and then who…
SD: Exactly, maybe that’s a new Blockchain application.
The ideas come from everywhere.
Simon Dixon talked to Lucrezia Cornèr, managing editor of Cointelegraph.