Cointelegraph continues to publish interviews with distinguished guests of BlockShow Asia 2017, which took place in Singapore in November 2017.
This We spoke with Nick Cowan, managing director and founder of GSX, Gibraltar's first regulated stock exchange. With his 30 years of experience in the investment industry and his knowledge of business culture across the Eurasian continents, he is fascinating for a conversation.
Nick commented on the dynamics of crypto communities, told his own story of love with the fintech market and applied the paradox of choice theory to Bitcoin
Cointelegraph: Comment do you find the place here today in Singapore?
Nick Cowan: It's awesome! We have obviously attended a number of conferences up here, but it is very well organized. It's awesome and very good, there are also a lot of familiar faces. There was a lot of interest when we were trying to get involved – a lot of people we know were saying – will you be at the Blockshow? We are really happy to be here, fantastic event!
CT: I imagine that you travel a lot, how would you describe the differences between crypto communities on different continents?
NC: It's really interesting because you go from one continent to another and there's a mix of regulation and not regulated, but there is also a real interest in terms of accepting what is happening.
So, there are two dynamics that I see. The use of distributed registries technology, so operators looking at the Blockchain, and how they can use that to transform their business, then the crypto-currencies themselves and what's happening in this space compared to traders etc.
I went to an Asian country this week and talked to about 500 people, the average age being 60 years old;
This case is absolutely on fire!
NC: Then you go to another jurisdiction, and it is much more focused on crypto and more institutional fund managers. So, I was surprised. Much of this evolution is driven by regulation, in terms of accepting technology and crypto-currencies in general, but the knowledge base from one country to the next has been incredible . But everywhere we go, there is a consistent theme, and it's more and more people who are becoming more and more interested, more and more people are starting to see this as becoming mainstream . You are seeing more and more companies, fintechs looking to start their business or grow their business by leveraging the chip sales area as a way to raise money. We saw that it's a constant theme, and I had a graphic in my presentation like that. You can see that business is absolutely on fire!
We leave for San Francisco on Saturday, then New York, then Ljubljana, Berlin and Zurich. So traveling more than ever!
CT: What inspired you in the first place to enter the world of crypto? Maybe it was your origin, or event or some people?
NC: Well, I run a stock exchange and we are a small jurisdiction in Gibraltar. We have the ability to be quite innovative and flexible. We first got involved two years ago, when we partnered with a partner who wanted to launch "the first asset-backed security approved by Bitcoin, regulated in the EU." C & # 39, was the first product that went up and down with Bitcoin Price. At that time, the price of Bitcoin was about $ 300 when we started this conversation, that 's how it moved!
So, to structure this, we have to dive and really know how it works. How do you open a wallet? How do you buy Bitcoin? What's a hot wallet? What is cold storage? And how can we then structure something that is fundamentally secure and protect investors? And that's really when we got involved!
Throw all you know about trading in a new space
NC: At the same time, our government in Gibraltar in January 2016 asked the community, globally and Gibraltar: Should we consider regulating operators on Blockchain in financial services? They asked the question! This then brought us to Gibraltar and to us as a really together exchange with a similar goal. These regulations begin in January. So our interest, all the more so as we have seen the ICO chips sales space explode in 2017, it is here that our interest really began to become more and more. in deeper. Because we thought we could take everything we know about trade (what should happen in terms of governance, investor protection, disclosure and transparency), if we can apply some of these rules to the space symbolic sales. for a license in January from our regulator. So we had to run an incredibly steep learning curve about two years ago about how this whole space works
CT: Do you consider the assets of the chips?
NC: No, I do not technically think that they are assets. I think that one of the things we need to do, it's in our rules, we must clearly state that, as a symbol, you must have a legal opinion that it is about A public service because it can not be considered capital. In fact, what you are doing is that you are taking money for future services, it is actually what is a utility token. Unlike a security token, which we hope to place next year on our main stock exchange, where you obviously participate in the performance of the company itself, be it P & L, equity, dividends etc.
Tokens must be categorized very carefully as tokens of utility, legally signed as tokens of utility so that no title or legislation is violated at the world level. It's also, by the way, a pretty gray area at the moment. Different jurisdictions take a very different approach to this space in terms of: is it security, is it an asset, is it a liability, is it equity? I think it's going to be a fairly fluid situation for the next few years
CT: How do you track the market, what resources do you use?
NC: We have a number of resources. The main thing we have found is since we launched our own token, and we thought that if we go into the chip sales area, we should make our own knowledge to find everything related to the media social. It has been incredibly important. We had to really get ahead in terms of telegrams, Twitter and social media in general. Of course, we look at you too; We use a lot of your documents in terms of presentations. We really make sure that we are exploited because, with the traditional financial markets, there is an existing space with traditional information channels, as you know, where you can get R & S flows. In our space there is basically none of this! You must enter a whole new media method, understand what is happening and stay up to date. In many ways, that's why we are launching our own token trading platform, we want to create a market where ICO issuers and investors or symbolic contributors can come as a reference center
CT: Could you name a book that inspired you most recently?
NC: Actually it's a good book, it may sound boring but it's a book that's called The Paradox of Choice , is by a guy called Barry Schwartz. It's a book that is generally read by traders, but it's not about trading, but about psychology. It's really appropriate for the cryptocurrency space as this space will grow
NC: So, for example, if you are like me: I tend to go to a store and buy a pair of jeans and go out as quickly as possible. My daughter will go to 10 stores and try 10 different pairs because she can not decide and she will probably end up going back to the first store to get the pair that she first tried because she's had to eliminate all those other choices. I think the paradox of choice is the more choices you have in life, in fact in some respects the less you are satisfied. Which may seem really contraindicated but if you walk in Gap, (I use the analogy of jeans) and there are 100 different jeans on the wall in front of you I just have to go out because I just want a pair of jeans. So, in terms of cryptocurrency and space, what I learned after 35 years as a trader, is that you do better to exchange two things incredibly well and to close everything up because you have paralysis of analysis unless you have some type of personality. It's an amazing book that I would advise everyone to read. It has to do with this choice is not always a good thing unless you are some type of person who can handle the choice.
CT: It's interesting – I've read about a psychological experiment where were two groups of people – where everyone could pick a photo from an album to the House. In the first group, they could not change their decision after, while the second group had a day to think about it and, if they wanted, choose another photo. So, it was the second group that was not completely satisfied with their choice
NC: This has to do with satisfaction. If you are a perfectionist, it is sometimes very difficult to be satisfied. Look, I have one of my friends, he is a big trader like me, he scans 1000 different titles every day and he never does any business. I'm just looking at two, two or three, that's what you have to do because otherwise you end up …
CT: So, how do you limit yourself?
NC: Because you do not have to worry about … There is a story that I sometimes tell about a guy that I met at a bank where I worked. In the 40s, he went to war and he told his broker "buy this new company called International Business Machines, I think it might be interesting.Continue to buy it during my absence and if I lose all my money is fine because I'm probably going to die anyway. "Then he came back and IBM stopped, he made 10,000 times his money, and then in 1959 he saw a plane land at Frankfurt airport, a Boeing (first jet) and he thought it was the future, he only exchanged IBM and Boeing.He said – look, there are some extraordinary companies but he said that I did not need to do anything else because I understand these two things and it is better that I do these two things better than anyone else. moderately things.It's what the book tells.With regard to the inspirational book, it's a very good read because it repeats to some of these psychological satisfactions and the challenges and conflicts that so many people have. Much of what is happening here is about psychology, is not it? It's about choice. It's my inspiring book and I do not get any fees for it.
Another interview with Nick Cowan made by our colleagues at Blockshow Asia 2017: