What is your background briefly?
I am originally from Charleston, South Carolina (USA), and lived in The Netherlands, Italy, and Switzerland, before settling in Moscow, Russia most of the year and in Vienna, Austria part of the year. After working for President Ronald Reagan at the White House in the early 1980’s, I shifted my focus from politics to international finance. I have acquired several companies during my 36-year career, and have founded several startups as well. My favorites have been the startups, as they are always both exciting and full of risks. The startup nature of ICO’s, and their inherent risks, and potential rewards of course, are what attracted me to this arena.
Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?
Definitely! Most ICO’s are startups, and my startup experience is a direct connection to the ICO process. My non-startup business experience, my financial and accounting background, and my experience taking a company public the old-fashioned way (through an IPO), all add additional expertise that I am able to provide to my ICO clients.
1 min pitch for what you are doing now?
For the last several years I have been focused on the FinTech and Blockchain sectors. While most people think of the Blockchain as an enabler of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, my broader interest is in non-financial applications of blockchain technology, such as intellectual property rights, supply chain solutions, identity, music and data transfer, and gaming. I am focused on these areas through my business, Blockchain Ventures International, and in my role as an Advisory Board member to a number of ICO’s.
A key element of what I am doing now for ICO’s is to find ways to make them stand out amongst the hundreds (or thousands) of ICO’s in the market today. The first and foremost factor in doing this is making sure that the projects are real, and that they are integrated in some way with the blockchain. Additionally, I strongly believe that it is important for ICO projects to, where possible, migrate away from the Ethereum platform, and to move to more specialized blockchain platforms that are more closely related to the projects markets. For example, I have convinced one of my ICO’s, Double Land Game, to put their ICO on hold until we can move it to the Tron blockchain platform, because Tron specializes in online games. Likewise, I am trying to convince another of my client ICO’s, BBILLER (a supply chain transaction solution provider) to move from the Ethereum blockchain to IBM’s Blockchain platform, because IBM has vast experience in supply change solutions and understands the business.
These types of changes may seem radical to some ICO founders, but it is these types of radical and positive changes that will make ICO’s successful in today’s world of declining interest and heightened regulation surrounding ICO’s.
Why did you get involved with advising ICOs?
I initially got involved when the CEO of IPCHAIN Database, Dominik Thor, connected with me on LinkedIn and invited me to join their Advisory Board. I have served on several corporate Boards of Directors during my career, so I knew that I could be useful as an Advisory Board member. I enjoyed my involvement very much, as it reminded me of my startup days. Since then, I have been approached by twenty or so ICO’s each week regarding my possible interest in serving on their Advisory Boards. Most of these offers have not been interesting to me because I feel that either the founders are only in it for the fast money, and not focused on the real applications of blockchain technology. These days, I am only accepting the role of Chairman of the Advisory Board for the ICO’s that I do get involved with.
Why do you think they are such a powerful idea?
ICO’s are of course very powerful ideas because they allow founders to potentially earn more money in a few minutes than most companies make in profits over twenty or thirty years, without all of the regulatory restrictions that are tethered to IPO’s (initial public offerings of shares). Additionally, and perhaps most important, founders do not need to give up any ownership in return for these funds, a feature not found with stock offerings. Unfortunately, as with all great ideas, there are bad actors who take advantage of unregulated environments and scam people. So regulation is necessary. The key for sustainability of the ICO concept is for companies to operate within legal and regulatory guidelines, as well as for government agencies to see ICO’s and other Blockchain technologies for what they are, revolutionary and disruptive realities over which governments have only limited control. Some compromises in government policies will be inevitable.
How can people find out more about the ICOs you advise & your work?
My current ICO involvements and related websites can be found on my LinkedIn profile.
How can people contact you & learn more about you?