China’s Golden Goose Lays Its Egg? Interview with Dragon ICO Advisor Samuel McCulloch

Conceptual rendering of the floating Dragon Pearl Hotel and Casino

Back in September, I published a popular blog post where I discussed being invited to the extravagant Macau announcement of the Dragon ICO. Though I was unable to attend the newsworthy event, the person who invited me was present and has since joined Dragon’s team as an official advisor. In the time that has passed since, a plethora of negative press coverage surrounding alleged criminal ties to the project has emerged, fostering an atmosphere of heightened unease and weariness from the public towards Dragon’s current pre-ICO, and public crowdsale scheduled for February 2018. Given this context, and the numerous questions I’ve received from many members of my audience about this project, I thought an interview with their advisor, Sam McCulloch, could help shed light on the unanswered questions that cast a cloud of mystery around this project.

Samuel McCulloch, Dragon Advisor and founder of SmartICOInvestor.com

A few months ago, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the lavish launch of the Dragon ICO announcement, which took place in Macau. That was some months ago. What has happened behind the scenes since?

The “launch” a few months ago was their way of acquiring advisors and other people who could help with the launch of the project. They knew they needed help and so they just put out an idea to get people onboard. Since then, the product has been totally reworked to NOT be a security and just function as a way to exchange tokens for chips. The team is pretty stacked now, Brittany, Vlatko, etc. All really smart people on the team now.

What’s your affiliation with the project and what gave you confidence that this idea is a winner?

I’m advising on the rollout and messaging, plus fundraising. I “get” the business model. There is an extreme inefficiency in how people get their funds to Macau. Mostly this has to do with the Chinese government, but there is more than just them who come to gamble in Macau.

What is the team’s background?

Chris, the CEO of Dragon, is well versed in how the junkets work, he’s a shareholder and he also has his own crypto exchange, which will be one of the first onboarding methods for fiat into DRG. Paul was in the UK marines, enough for me . Tough mindset and great person.

Following the high profile announcement back in September, some negative international press came out suggesting ties between this project and Triad gang members. What are your thoughts on this?

We met the Triad dude during the trip…he came out and straight up said that no casino was completely white. I agree with him; the space is not the most legal area. However, later reports said he was just there to represent the junkets? He wasn’t apart of the Dragon team though. There must be some aspects of Macau which are legal though, you can’t become a multi-billion USD powerhouse without having the law on your side. Plus, blockchain will even further push the industry into “white” territory as you can’t hide the transactions, nor change the record of who sent funds.

The hard cap being $500M would easily make this the largest stated raise of any ICO to date. Why is the cap so large? What’s in it for early investors when valuation is so high at this stage?

The cap in reality is a lot smaller. Half of the funds raised are actually going to build a floating casino. The rest of the funds act as the stake for high roller gamblers. If someone wants to make a $1mm bet, the junket needs to be able to take the other side. Thus, the majority of the cash raised will be used for staking purposes. The actual amount used for development will be much less. As for investors, the whole point of getting into this is that 1. Its sanctioned by the junkets themselves, which means they have the ability to actually grow 2. It’s the only blockchain project allowed in Macau 3. The economic benefits for the casinos themselves are too big to not take into account.

What problem do you think the token solves in the Dragon project’s business model?

The token takes the fees from getting cross-border credit down from 5% each way to .5% In a multibillion dollar industry, this could bring in hundreds of millions more for revenue.

What does the development cycle look like for this project?

The rollout is starting in Jan with the launch of DRG in a government run casino in Korea, later they will go to Thailand and the Phillipenes in Q1 and Q2. Once the blockchain has been tested in these smaller casinos, the full rollout will be in mid-2018 for Macau. Dragon Corp will actually create their own junket and have multiple rooms across the Macau casinos.

What is the Chinese government’s level of involvement with this project? Does Dragon have regulatory clearances from mainland government authorities?

I can’t comment on the Chinese situation. They have clearance from Macau and the other regulatory bodies where they are based to operate.

What obstacles do you see ahead for Dragon?

China, but it’s hard to say what they will do. They probably just want to get their cut at the top, just like the rest of Macau. Hard to say though until the token gets released.

Where do you see most investment in Dragon coming from? China? US?

Asia definitely. I don’t think a lot of Westerners know about Macau, so its hard for them to judge how big the market is there. As Trump says, HUUUUGE.

Samuel McCulloch is an advisor to Dragon and founder of SmartICOInvestor.com.

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