【Vol.1】The truth that lies behind Spindle, Japan’s largest ICO
— Taking a glimpse at the possibilities and tasks through interviewing SPINDLE secretriat core members which a world famous Japanese artist, Gackt joins.
Introduction: 2017 was the year that the price of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, skyrocketed and its existence as a new means of investment became known to the common public.
Towards the end of last year and the beginning of this year, ICO (Initial Coin Offering) became the big keyword of cryptocurrency.
Among hot issues of cryptocurrency, ICO (Initial Coin Offering) became one of the main keywords of the year-end to year-start.
SPINDLE, one of the cores of ICO, has been actively discussed on internet news, Twitter, and blogs.
GACKT, a famous musician involved in various entertainment and economy communities, also contributed to spreading the issue of SPINDLE by participating in the event.
It is difficult to find reliable information, as there are overflowing amount of internet articles, some showing positive, and others not so much.
“What is GACKT’s intention in participating?” “What is the current state of SPINDLE?” “What are the future plans for cryptocurrency exchange listing?”
As such questions arise from the currently heated discussion, we were successful in interviewing the two core members of the SPINDLE management members: Mr. Uda, the SPINDLE founder, and Mr. Hirai, SPINDLE’s current president, on the actual situation.
To remain a neutral standpoint, we have asked in-depth questions for both Mr. Uda and Mr. Hirai, and they have responded seriously, changing my impression of the SPINDLE drastically.
Subheading: Reason for starting SPINDLE — what is the significance of GACKT’s participation?
— Please tell us about your career and current role as a core member.
[Mr. Uda]: I am the developer and the promoter of SPINDLE. Currently, for reasons which will be described later, I have retired from the SPINDLE’s management company, Black Star’s CEO position, for which I am going to mention later, and am now working as a team coordinator, using my past experience.
Career-wise, I have an unusual background, having studied in department of arts and design, at Kobe Art University of Technology, working on stage production, but I’ve shifted my career path at once in my late 20s to the finance industry.
In 2002, I’ve engaged in project-finance at Silvertail,a British, emerging market-listed company, having stayed in Europe for a while, and then worked as a financial team’s chief consultant at the Funai Research Institute Research Institute.
[Mr. Hirai]: Although I was appointed as the CEO SPINDLE’s management company, Blackstar&Co, as Uda’s successor, I am handling total management related to operations.
Having graduated as a Business Major from Hosei University, I worked at Funai Research Institute, for financial consulting team’s investment fund composition, investment strategy advisory work, and so on.
Then, after becoming the CEO of a domestic independent investment adviser company, I am now the Japan head of the advisory division of a Malaysian hedge fund.
Japan’s withdrawal of this fund and its separated and independent organizations are the base of our current business. Based on financial consulting, my fields of specialty are small and medium-sized M&A,Japanese stocks, derivatives, commodities, etc. And from 2015, created and launched Billion Japan, which is a platform that trades gold online in Japan.
— Please tell us the history behind how Mr. Hirai assumed office as a successor as Mr. Uda retired from representative director of BLACKSTAR&CO of SPINDLE Management Company.
[Mr. Uda]:As already announced in the official document, for the project due to administrative disposition of the Dragoon Capital, which was established in the past, it would be better for me to not leave before, but start by handing it off to young capable members like Mr.Hirai, and I wanted to contribute as a coordinator by utilizing my knowledge and experience.
However, it is no exaggeration to say that the experience of receiving this administrative disposition became the root for the creation of the current SPINDLE concept, and this experience became a big turning point of my own life. Therefore, I will not run away from the reality, and will accept this fact seriously.
— Please let us know the encounters with the members and the respective reasons for starting SPINDLE
[Mr. Uda]:Because I was involved in fraud cases as mentioned above, the experience of being excluded from government and bureaucratic agencies and the history of the investment bank’s historical bankruptcy gave me many opportunities to think about money and power from different dimensions.
I was thinking about the possibilities of utilizing blockchain could help and complement human’s incompleteness, weakness to power and money and the corruption that follows.
Given that “A” can be conveyed as “A” as it is, as part of the blockchain technology’s characteristic, I thought that this could prevent corruption in the financial industry.
Block chains, theoretically, don’t require auditors. The tragic reality of human weakness to be prone to fraudulent and arbitrary decisions as humans go through human-controlled command system and auditing, and the idea that by using new technology that does not intervene with humans can solve this issue is the reason why we wanted start SPINDLE.
[Mr. Hirai]:Uda was my boss from the Funai Research Institute era and worked together during the hedge fund era of Malaysia.
My thought was that as investment targets of cryptocurrency were stirring up, I expected that this would be a single investment genre like bad loans, emerging currencies and commodities.
However, the point that differs from the other investment targets until now is that the structure of block chain creates high transparency trades than the traditional investment targets and alternative options.
Therefore, I wanted do such business that makes highly transparent transactions visible to the general user in an easily visible state.
Until around 2013–14, we only had consulting business for corporations, so we never directly came in contact with any consumers.
But in 2015, we came to think about the differences between corporate investors and individual investors as we launched Billion Japan, a platform where general consumers can also trade gold.
Initially there should be no difference. In financial services, the barricade between corporate and individual and the disparity of information, is nearing zero as high transparency transactions are made possible by block chains, and network line speed has increased .
We started SPINDLE with the idea of using block chains to eliminate the barriers between corporate and individual investors in such a background in our era.
For hedge funds, it is hard for general consumers to distinguish good products and bad products. One of the themes of SPINDLE is provide the distinguishing factor for the general consumers, and this is my motivation for participating in SPINDLE.
— Why did GACKT participate? Also, what kind of thoughts do the members have for Mr. GACKT?
[Mr. Uda]:I thought that I would get along with Mr. Gackt even before our direct encounter, as we’re both Gundam manias (laughter).
Actually, I love Gundam and I am taking ZETA concept (described later) in this project from Z Gundam, but Mr. GACKT also made a theme song of Z Gundam, so I felt the amiability as Gundam Otakus.
When we did actually get to meet, we got along well as expected and immediately unified our minds in promoting SPINDLE together.
We wanted to talk to Mr. Gackt since we are aiming for a larger amount of global procurement, and he offers a strong global network, especially in Malaysia, because he used to live there and we consider him very suitable as an advisor for Southeast Asian Marketing. Currently, his enthusiasm and curiosity for this field is well-affected by our team, and he is actively partaking in discussions with us.
Although Mr. GACKT’s impression may easily be considered by the world to be seen as a wild, rocky, and visually artistic character, his character in reality is pretty different; he is a delicate person with a slightly Otaku temperament, having abundant knowledge about IT and animation. I am convinced that his personality, like myself, will match very well with such a maniac tendency, which is common among ones involved in the cryptocurrency industry.
[Mr. Hirai]:To be honest, I am not so fond of celebrities participating in the business. The reason being is that there is a possibility of the product information not being accurately displayed to the public due to the public character image of the celebrity regardless of his skills or personality.
But since Mr. Gackt was recommended by a trusted fellow, I have gotten to talk to him, and I thought that he was well-suited because he was a friendly and diligent person.
My expectation for Mr. GACKT is to fulfill his role for the lack of members and focus on “Building direct connection with users”.
Subheading: The “Now,” of the cryptocurrency “SPINDLE”
— What was the most difficult factor after finishing a domestic pre-sale?
[Mr. Uda]:There was no time to sleep (laughter). Another is that since this is a matter closely touching on many people’s desires, I was damage mentally. Also, although SPINDLE is a token, it also is a product with risks. So risk management in sales was pretty tough; things such as whether adequate explanation was given in sales or not.
If there were any troubles during sales, the legal team members were working diligently to respond one by one seriously.
[Mr. Hirai]: First is that the public interest for cryptocurrency and ICO was higher than I expected.
It was a great pleasure for all of you to have so much hope for ICO, but felt sorry that I could not assume the system construction enough to answer that demand.
Secondly, by appointing Mr. GACKT, there were more both positive and negative factors to the responses than I thought.
If correct information were given to the users, we could enjoy communication to get familiar with GACKT coins, but there were also negative effects.
Regarding that, it was more than the initial assumption, and was extremely difficult to hear opinions such as “we are cheating on replacing the insufficient part of the project with Mr. GACKT’s publicity.”
To spread the fundamentals of this project without any biases or influences of Mr. Gackt’s character image was a difficult task.
— Is there anything you felt when you came in contact with users after the domestic pre-sales?
[Mr. Uda]: With sincerity, I want our users to be happy, and in the telegram
<< https://t.me/spindlezone>>, which we currently use as a part of public relations activities, users send all kinds of opinions every day, and I am very thankful, as there are many honest and well-mannered users
— What do you think of the current position of SPINDLE (SPD) in Japan?
[Mr. Uda]:We attract lots of attention, but I am afraid that we are not presenting an accurate understanding.
As a celebrity is participating, there is the impression that so called traditional people and nobles have dismissed our business.
Although it is at a delicate line at the moment, in order to move on from where we stand, we are thinking of having cloud sales as our starting point, quickly expanding and changing our image into the world market. In expanding SPINDLE out to the world, European nations tend to have a national character with experience of territorial violence during war times, take human awareness and autonomy seriously.
Therefore, we anticipate the empathy with SPINDLE aspect as a liberating factor from authoritarianism. However, in Japan, there are concerns that such tendency may be limited because of relatively low natured national character.
As we think it is hard to be accepted, our theme is to resolve such misunderstanding not only globally, but also in Japan.
[Mr. Hirai]:The situation is that we can’t deny the perspective of SPINDLE being colorless. But here is where we have to deepen the understanding as an administrator.
Reputation-wise, service flow and currency standpoint is considered good, but our big theme now is to grow out of being colorless. There are ones who are critical of the cryptocurrency itself in the first place, so criticism to a certain extent is unavoidable.
However, as Mr. Gackt is only a part of this project, criticism against Gackt deviate from the issue. So, first of all, I would like to return to the discussion about SPINDLE and the ZETA initiative, and communicate to have productive discussions, as we would like to show users and the people involved of our actual, intended flow.