Interview With Simon Cocking, Senior Editor At CryptoCoinNews And Top ICO Advisor
Blockspont talked to Simon Cocking who works as the Senior Editor at Irish Tech News, the Editor in Chief at CryptoCoinNews, and a freelancer for Sunday Business Post, Irish Times, Southern Star, IBM, G+D, and other media. The expert told us about his professional establishment and discussed main problems of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.
How did you get into the crypto world?
We started from writing about technologies. For around four years we wrote about VR, AI, drones, robots and others. Three years ago, in 2015, we reviewed a book called “The Blockchain Revolution” by Don and Alex Tapscott. It was a high level exposition of blockchain potential. The work explained how blockchain can help musicians, land ownership rights and other things.
After that I started working as an advisor to an ICO company and spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to promote the project. I realized I should work with communication and marketing strategies. My experience as a media worker helped me here. Back then I used to read dozens of press-releases a day, so I had the idea of how everything works. In January, someone told me that I had made my way onto the TOP-10 ICO advisors. I didn’t even know about that! I've been at the top for three months…
We moved to an island three years ago. At first we wondered how we could make a living out of the city. My first hundred of ICOs was non-Irish. Thus my work stopped depending on the place I live. Now I’m sure blockchain can help most of us, even the media, to make money in an entirely new way.
Some say ICO is about how many people trust in it. What do you think?
Actually, I can say that it is about NO trust. I heard a lot of guys saying it is a trustless protocol because all data is recorded in blockchain. So even if I destroy my peace of information, there is a place where everything remains. Proof-of-work and proof-of-concept removed the trust, there is no need of it anymore.
Sometimes, people do not trust ICOs as they might be frauds. How to overcome such situations?
In early 2017, ICOs received a lot of investments. So I don’t think people shun projects of this kind. As I mentioned above, there is no need of trust when it comes to blockchain. Such instruments as KYC and AML allow making these products more transparent for investors. You can clarify and verify everything just using blockchain.
Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile nowadays. Will they ever get steady?
Dollars and euros are losing their value. Many currencies could not retain it. Crypto was created as an alternative to fiat money. For instance, ethers are constantly getting stronger, and their value is much higher than ever before. I believe bitcoins will be much more expensive next year. The main problem of fiat currencies is that a small group of people owns a huge amount of it. I can’t say crypto is a perfect model, but it is better than the system we have.
Have you ever come up with the idea that cryptocurrencies might be just a bubble?
The problem is that crypto mechanisms are not quietly well described. It’s much more complicated. People usually think that cryptocurrency is all about bitcoin. In fact, there are thirty leading cryptocurrencies and thousands of different digital assets, which are just growing. That is a very long and complex story to tell. And when the media says that bitcoin is tricky — well, all they do is just misleading people.
What do you think about stablecoins backed by fiat?
On the one hand, governments can use them to track transactions and to control asset ownership. But on the other hand, fiat backing leads to the centralized system. We live in the world where people tend to try different things. I believe that soon there will be Russian and Chinese cryptocurrencies. The UK and Japan are considering this idea as well. And it is just a natural reaction to new tendencies.
There is a possibility of the global economic crisis in the nearest few months. Dollar and euro are getting down, so people can start taking into account the value of alternative funds. Cryptocurrencies will be expanded and become mainstream as soon as developers find ways to make them easier to use. Until then, we should admit that having private keys and using crypto wallets are rather difficult.
Many people claim blockchain is an anarchy technology that crushes existing systems. What’s your point?
It was. I see many people tend to invest in blockchain technology, which has never happened before. The times of anarchy in this area have passed away, and now we see that things are getting back to normal. People and organizations who invest in this field see its value, profit and other prospects, but not the way to destroy something. They are looking for possibilities to do much greater things than ever before.
The abundance of different cryptocurrencies may seem confusing. How can people choose what product to use?
People have to make a thorough research to find out everything about the project, the team behind it, whether it is reliable and even exists. The most cryptocurrencies will prove their value over time, while others will just disappear.
How can blockchain technology improve our daily processes?
First we had bitcoin. And now we have other coins that can do particular things. Tokenization can be useful for many deeds — donations, whatever. And what we will see in the future is the rapid growth of digital assets. Very soon, physical cash will be no longer required. Besides, it is a very expensive way of payments. It has to be issued, managed, controlled — especially in times of inflation. You see, there is a crazy situation in India. Blockchain can help to change everything, and that's not all. Just pick any existing sphere — and I’ll tell you why blockchain is effective there.
What are main problems of blockchain?
Many projects raised funds and then collapsed. Perhaps, it happened because they tried to tokenize things that weren’t meant for this. I believe it’s fair to say that tokens, which have no strong use, will be likely losing their value.
Tell us about projects you’ve been working on.
I had many great projects leaded by good teams. I can talk about them for hours. In general, I think it is nice to work with smart people who have been through a rough patch. Not only do I like giving advice, but also discuss things. If we have an idea, we will definitely try another ones — just to be sure. And with each new project I learn a lot from awesome people around, who are open, curious and still interested in the world.
What cryptocurrencies do you personally use?
I like ether, though I realize it has some problems. Things are not static, and I try to believe it will rise again. I also use bitcoin. Many people say that this coin is necessary only because it is famous — but there is little we can do with it. I personally use it as a store of value. Bitcoin is great for people who bought it nine or eight years ago. But for the rest of us, it is just another asset. I have friends who are very keen on Cardano, Dash, and others. But it is still a rollercoaster — so, we will see what goes next.
We visited Tbilisi two weeks ago. They are doing great things. I mean the Spotcoin team. One of the guys said he kept contributing to the bitcoin foundation and still tried to improve the code. It doesn’t really matter, which crypto wins and makes the number one. It is all about finding solutions to cope with real problems. And one day, I believe, bitcoin will come a useful asset, not just a store of value.
What do you think of the geopolitical monopoly in the crypto sphere?
You know, Georgia holds 15% of global mining powers, as electricity costs are lower there. Same with China — the amount of mining farms there is increasing every year. But I have to say that mining does harm to ecology and environment. We have to find ways to reduce it. China is doing its best to solve ecological problems. They are moving faster than we can.
Let’s discuss the regulation sphere. How can you describe the future governmental position towards cryptocurrencies?
Some regulations are good and some regulations make things much worse. We have countries like Gibraltar, Singapour, Switzerland — businesses there have all opportunities to develop. And we have such regions as the UK — cryptocurrencies are not regulated there. All those governmental regulators are the motivation for projects to protect investors.
Although, there are reasons to be optimistic about regulation. For example, here in Kiev we can see many interesting projects. But here is the lack of space for their development. The whole our video production is based in Kiev. I think, many countries have potential to rise in the future.