QUOINE visits Crypto Valley

By Matt Crook, QUOINE Marketing Operations Manager

Things that blockchain is obviously 10X better on: it’s 10X better than gold, it’s 10X better than international wire transfer, it’s 10X better at crowdfunding, it’s 10X better for incorporation of a new company, and it’s 10X better for something like wire transfers in terms of receiving addresses. So you combine all those 10Xes like moving large amounts of money, sending money across borders, crowdfunding, incorporation, new bank accounts, and you’ve improved the fundamental primitives and you’ve made them programmable and automatable.

Blockchain is great. We all know that. This quote from Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, made during his fireside chat during the TechCruch Sessions Blockchain event in Zug, Switzerland, affirms that. But Balaji also made an interested point that there is very little material out there focussed on educating people about blockchain and this revolutionary space.

Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan on stage with TechCrunch’s Jon Russell

I was in Zug with our Head of North America Nick Chong to attend the TechCrunch event and help spread the world about what we at QUOINE are doing with our forthcoming Liquid platform and QASH token.

These kind of industry events are particularly useful for connecting with other people in the blockchain space for the sharing of knowledge and exploration of ways we can work together. We at QUOINE see this as part of laying of foundations for building something that will bring bring a wider audience into the blockchain space so that the benefits of those 10Xes Balaji talks about can be felt by everyone, and not just those of us who attend conferences and events.

But that’s all to come later. For now, we had a flag to fly and a conference to attend.

Aside from TechCrunch Sessions, there were also a bunch side events and meetups. Our first stop was a meetup of industry folks organised by iOlite Labs. The format was really cool and we were able to hear short presentations from a broad cross-section of people talking about everything from supply chain to law enforcement to charity initiatives to regulation.

QUOINE’s Nick Chong speaks at the iOlite meetup

Nick from QUOINE gave a talk on exchanges and the role they play for blockchain startups and creating organic demand for tokens. Once people knew we were a crypto exchange, they made a beeline for us during the networking breaks, eager to tell us about their projects and see about how we might be able to work together. This became a common theme for our time in Zug. There are heaps of new projects looking to get their tokens listed or their ICOs hosted or just to get the word out about their work.

Our role at QUOINE is to support these kind of initiatives. We should be at the forefront of bringing exposure to all the amazing real-world applications of blockchain technology. We often list new tokens or host ICOs of projects that may be new to our audience, but one of the primary drivers of our listing approach is to surface projects that are making good use of blockchain in their respective sectors. We’re in a unique position to the able to do that and we will always look to spotlight examples of blockchain making the world a better place.

We made a lot of new friends at the iOlite meetup and we took that feeling of excitement with us to the main event: TechCrunch Sessions: Blockchain. Zug is known as Crypto Valley for a reason: it’s a hub. It was no surprise that tickets for the event sold out and even less of a surprise to see the calibre of the attendees, not just the speakers, but the people who were in the crowd.

Exchanges play such an important role in the world of blockchain, but they were severely underrepresented at this event in Zug, and we were certainly leading the way by taking the initiative to engage with attendees in a meaningful manner. As a sponsor of the event, people were able to see the new Liquid logo dotted around venue, which helped to bring some brand recognition, but where we got most value was just wondering around and bumping into people to instigate spontaneous conversations.

Me and Nick

We met people from a lot of projects where future collaborations may be possible, not just for listings and token sales, but also for marketing and other interesting avenues. Coming from a charity sector background, I got really inspired hearing about projects like IXO Impact, a blockchain for impact startup that can potentially do a huge amount of good in the real world. That’s the kind of project that really demonstrates how far-reaching blockchain can be and if there are ways we at QUOINE can be a part of that, I will always try and push us in that direction.

The talks at TechCrunch Sessions, a mix of fireside chats and panel discussions, were extremely informative, and even a little controversial when Vitalik suggested centralised exchanges might burn in hell. That quote, while he did say it, seemed like an off-the-cuff thought that was more a reflection of Vitalik’s love of decentralisation rather than a call to arms against exchanges. Vitalik did, however, make a good point that exchanges shouldn’t have such “stupid kingmaking power” that can make or break the success of a token. He’s also right that ten to fifteen million dollar listing fees are getting out of hand.

We agree with this. No one exchange should wield so much power that it can essentially dictate the market. We’ve seen the kind of pump n dumps that happen on other exchanges with new listings. Those kind of activities are not in the public interest.

A better approach, and one Vitalik alluded to, would be for exchanges to get serious about building trust with the public and regulators and to demonstrate that they work well and are safe. At the moment, there are very few top exchanges in the world that can be viewed as safe. At QUOINE, we pride ourselves on security and for making crypto safe for anyone who comes to our platform. That includes everything from our 100% cold wallet approach, to our Iron Shield protocols, to our industry grade standards for KYC. There are some things we just won’t compromise on.

Vitalik also made a strong point about the role centralised exchanges play as fiat gateways, which is an area we are already leading the way on. We currently support a range of fiat currencies, including US dollars, Japanese Yen, Euros and Hong Kong dollars, with more to come, along with ever more accessible ways of using fiat on our platform. Being a crypto exchange is one thing, but having the ability to be a safe and secure fiat gateway is something else entirely, something we are able to offer as part of our drive to bring new people into the crypto space.

Liquid is coming

With the infrastructure of Liquid in place, we’ll be partway there, but we will also need to be a prominent actor in the drive for education that Balaji from Coinbase also sees value in.

Regulation was of course a hot topic at TechCrunch Sessions and the aptly titled “Regulating the Wild West of Crypto” panel discussion dove right into that. Discussion around regulation is not going to go away and our position on this is very clear, as our CEO outlined recently:

Regulation is just another part of building something sustainable and sustainability is ultimately what all of us at Tech Crunch Sessions wanted.

The day after TechCrunch Sessions, there was an Ethereum meetup. This was another chance to get together with the crowd and mingle and network, but I was particularly inspired by Karl Floersch’s presentation on Ethereum’s new learning platform, CryptoEconomics.study.

It wasn’t just the gerbils that caught my eye, but the open source, collaborative nature of the learning platform that Karl and friends have built. It’s a wonderful initiative and it’s the kind of thing I have at the forefront of my mind for the Liquid platform. Education at all levels is key. Learning should never stop. We at QUOINE can facilitate and drive that.

We had a really great time in Zug. It was awesome to meet so many people, including those who were already familiar with our work, but also those who had never heard of us but with whom there was obvious overlap in our visions.

Liquid may be a centralised exchange, but the fire we want to light is the one that brings crypto to the whole world.

Looking to the future.