Interview with Aries Wang, Co-founder of Bibox and Partner at BlockWater Capital

SMC Capital
Feb 22 · 24 min read

Aries Wang sat down with John Slyusarev, Managing Partner of SMC Capital, to talk about running a top 10 crypto exchange, investing in the digital asset space, and the future of the industry. Aries is the co-founder of Bibox, a top 10 crypto exchange with a daily trading volume of over $300 million, and a partner in BlockWater Capital, one of the largest crypto venture funds in Asia. The interview took place in New York on November 29.

Watch the full interview here:

John Slyusarev: First of all, it is a big pleasure to have Aries Wang, co-founder of Bibox, one of the top 10 exchanges, with $300 million daily trading volume and also one of the first foreign partners of BlockWater Capital, and also the person who incubated Vocean, the world’s first crypto bond. I saw an incredible advertisement on Times Square yesterday. Could you tell us more about yourself, about your professional past, and how you achieved these incredible results?

Aries Wang: Thanks John, thanks for the introduction. Actually, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I started my first business back when I was a freshman in college. I’m the sort of guy who is very passionate about creating stuff, trying to set up a business, and getting everything done, for myself and for my team. I want to lead a team to put everybody’s talents together and make it successful. So, after college, I started another startup called, which is a cross-border payments fintech company. At that time, I started to notice that, in doing cross-border payments, we can use not only the traditional banking system, but that there was also a new way of doing this — using Bitcoin. That was back in 2015/2016, when I first started to use Bitcoin to transfer money out of the country to another country. Later on, I started to advise some very cool blockchain projects, and I met my current co-founder, Leijin, the former founder of OKCoin Group, which was the largest Bitcoin trading platform. We shared the same vision, we wanted to bring blockchain technology and the token economy into the real world. That’s how we started. We became deeply involved in Bibox. Later, after we launched a successful ICO for the Bibox platform token, we began founding a series of other subsidiaries under the Bibox Group, including the Bibox incubator, which we call Bibox Labs, the Bibox Fund, and some others within the Bibox exchange ecosystem. At that time, I noticed that South Korea is a very hot and strong market for cryptocurrency. I met my partners at BlockWater, Isaac Lee and Francisco Jo, and the same thing [happened as with Leijin] — we appreciated each other’s talent in the blockchain and cryptocurrency area, and we wanted to work together to start a new venture, BlockWater Capital. I think we are very passionate and very dedicated to bringing the traditional industry associated with blockchain technology.

JS: Incredible. Did you invest your own money into BlockWater Capital, or did you just attract this money from the market?

AW: I invested my own money.

JS: If it’s not a secret, how much?

AW: BlockWater has a size of more than $100 million US dollars. I was one of the, the third guy, the third largest contributor.

JS: Incredible. Do you remember the day when you made the decision to launch Bibox? As I remember, you launched Bibox two weeks after the Chinese government made sanctions and made decisions that cryptocurrency will be rejected, and after two weeks, you launched Bibox and registered in Estonia. Do you remember how this day was? How did you make this decision?

AW: I think that was a very brave decision for us because we see that the Chinese government has a very fast reaction to all the cryptocurrency exchanges. This is the condition, that’s what happened in the Chinese market, lot’s of people were cheated by blockchain projects. The Chinese government is trying to protect their people. That was the main reason to shut down the cryptocurrency exchanges, which we think is understandable because there was no regulation in China at that moment. People were not being protected, especially ICO investors. But, we also believed that the Chinese government would also support blockchain technology. We do trust that blockchain technology can bring a new era to current industries. But we still wanted to contribute our energy and time into this industry, so we started another entity overseas. Our first station was Estonia — the EU. At that time, we believed that once the regulations had come out, people were still going to love the blockchain area because it can really bring some new changes to our current world.

JS: I totally agree with you that it was an incredibly brave decision, and, as we can see, it was the right way, it was the official way. You created one of the largest exchanges very, very fast. My question is, as we can see, Bibox is growing rapidly, you’re attracting new customers, new traders, new funds, new tokens, and I’ve heard that you have a very strict system of moderation and evaluation of tokens that you would like to list. Could you maybe tell us more about your approach and your ideology about listing?

AW: Yes, I think regarding listing on Bibox exchange, we are trying to be one of the boutique exchanges compared to other crypto exchanges. Firstly, we want to see that the project has a very solid idea. The idea should be doable and can be launched very soon, not like something in the air that you can not touch, but it’s a good idea. Secondly, we see the team as very important because we know that some projects have fake team members — that’s really not what we are trying to do. We do very strict DD [due diligence] to each team member. Also, we have a consortium under the Bibox ecosystem. We are connected with a bunch of funds globally, token funds, and we do DD and to get some opinions not only from our internal DD team, but also from our token fund partners or other related partners in this area. We try to get different opinions [before] we make the final decision. Most likely, it takes about a month.

JS: Sounds very detailed, a careful way to evaluate something. You mentioned that now you are creating an ecosystem, because you already have an exchange, you have an incubator called Bibox Labs, you also have your own fund, Bibox Fund, and you also have some kind of consultancy within Bibox Labs. What is your strategy? Right now it looks like you want to create a market within a market, a full-cycle ecosystem where you will do everything. What is your strategy for the nearest two years? What would you like to build based on the Bibox ecosystem?

AW: Yes, I think, that’s what you mentioned, an ecosystem. That’s the main focus of what we are doing right now. Firstly, not only the exchange side, the exchange is the core business for the whole Bibox Group, but also, we want to source good projects, blockchain projects, from the start, which is why we created an incubator. We’re trying to give all the blockchain entrepreneurs an opportunity because we see that, as you know, we started from there — we started as entrepreneurs. Right now, through the Bibox Fund and incubator, we share the same vision as almost all the blockchain participants. We want to give them an opportunity, we support with the fund, we support them with all the resources that we have. We are connected and we are all going to share with the projects that we incubated. At the same time, we also participate in some investment activities. We do have the token fund investment arm and a venture fund. On the venture fund side, we acquired a Switzerland-based company called Chain Capital back in August of this year [2018]. At the same time the acquisition finished, we also got a VQF license from Switzerland, and that’s going to support our European station to online the crypto-to-fiat trading pairs in the future. That’s going back to the regulation side. I think that we are very focused on the compliance side right now because we are big enough right now but we also want to be legit in every single area that we are getting involved in. So that’s our main focus over the next two years. We definitely welcome many different participants in our ecosystem, not only the funds or incubators side, but also the consultancy, credit rating, and marketing side — all the friends in our ecosystem.

JS: Sounds like a holistic system, where every element can help every other element to achieve a synergy effect. OK, sounds pretty good. And also, you mentioned, not problems, but the biggest challenges that every exchange faces. Regulations, compliance, stuff like that. As I know, you’re really focused on that aim, not only in your own business, but you really pay a lot of attention when you try to make some partnerships with anyone. I read some interviews that you published about that, it was one of the most important reasons why you signed that partnership between you and Gemini exchange. Could you tell us more that partnership? Because Bibox was the first exchange that listed GUSD, the stablecoin from Gemini, and you were really excited about this partnership. Could you maybe tell more about that, why you signed this partnership and why you so believe in Gemini?

AW: Yes, I think we started talking about Gemini with the twin brothers [Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss] very early. I think they are very successful entrepreneurs in the blockchain area, for sure. They are running one of the most regulated exchanges here and they have a trust company here in the US. This all gives us the confidence that they are a team that is being fully regulated and wanting to be regulated by the regulators. As I mentioned to our last question, our future plan is to be legit in every area that we are involved in, so that’s one of the biggest motivations for us to start talking with them regarding the Tether problem. Everybody has a hesitation regarding the USDT. It makes the market very indecisive. That’s the thing we want to solve. We want to let the traders on Bibox hedge their risk without potential risks. When people use USDT to hedge their risks, they are also concerned that, probably in the next day, Tether will come a big bump that might be a big hurt for all of the Tether holders. So that was another consideration, we thought that a regulated stablecoin by the government is going to give the market more confidence. Those are the two main functions. We did a very careful DD to the custodian bank of Gemini dollar, and also the whole process through the application of the Gemini dollar.

JS: Also, everyone heard about the last valuation of Coinbase, around $8 billion, I think, you know, the majority, the most important factor that allowed them to achieve this number is, of course, being fully compliant. How do you value Bibox now, what about your market valuation as a business? You have two ways, first of all, you can continue to develop your business in the future or maybe sell it to Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange, or anyone else. What is your current valuation, because I found a very old valuation for around $50 million, but now it’s much bigger. Could you maybe tell us?

AW: Yeah, actually, for now, Bibox has seven offices across the world…

JS: Where are they? New York City, where else?

AW: New York City, Canada, Tokyo, South Korea, Beijing, Estonia, Switzerland, and Singapore.

JS: Sounds good.

AW: We set up our parent company Bibox Group Holding Limited in the BVI [British Virgin Islands]. As I mentioned through our last question, we have acquired Switzerland-based company Chain Capital, this acquisition also gives us a VQF license. That’s the first step, we are getting licensed, and we are in touch with the regulators, and that gives us the incentive to start doing the compliance globally. We do have plans to enter into the US market once we get licensed and fully compliant here. Also, we have plans in the southeast Asia market, that’s why we set up our headquarters in Singapore. We are also planning to set up an office in Hong Kong, because Hong Kong is most likely to be the next place to issue the license for cryptocurrency exchange [in China], and we are very passionate about that. So, we definitely understand the valuation of Coinbase, $8 billion, not only because they have a large user base here in the US, but also they are fully compliant. We are also on that track. By the way, Binance, they are also doing lots of crypto-to-fiat exchanges globally because they see the potential regulations about the potential compliance they are facing.

JS: OK, but how do you value Bibox now? How much does it cost now? For example, if Nasdaq would come to you and say “Aries, we would like to buy your business.” What price is relevant or fair enough from your perspective?

AW: We just finished our pre-A round of fundraising. Our valuation was $500 million US dollars, but that’s the exchange side. We are creating our whole ecosystem. When we start to talk on that part, we definitely…

JS: But the first point sounds pretty good, it’s half a billion dollars, and, totally agree. Sounds really incredible. This step, I think it’s a big step in the traditional world. You really showed yesterday everyone in New York City and everyone on Wall Street that you’re not only in crypto, you would also like to be a bridge between traditional capital and crypto capital. From my perspective, this is a really correct, really right movement from your side. One personal question. Do you remember when you earned your first million dollars?

AW: That was back to the first travel platform that I was creating, which was called That was a B2B travel packaging platform. We were selling southeast Asian travel products to the Chinese market, different travel agents. That project was worth 100 million RMB, which is worth around $11 — $12 million US dollars. I exited back in 2014.

JS: Sounds pretty good. You came to crypto in 2013, 5 years ago, so you’ve been around. OK, pretty good. What are 3 key factors that allowed you to succeed? You have incredible results, you have a big business, you have one of the largest exchanges on the market, you’re also a partner in one of the most significant funds in the industry, and you have a whole ecosystem of products and services, you also had an incredible experience before in crypto, but what are the three key factors, because I think our audience, our viewers would really like to find the killer advice that will help them achieve their goals financial goals and personal goals. What are your three key factors?

AW: In my opinion, if you want to make an achievement, what you have to do is, don’t think that you can earn millions of dollars, do not ever think about that. What you should do is put whatever efforts that you have into your dreams. In that case, you are fully on board and all the team members that you have, you have to lead them, lead their energies and lead their talent to contribute to one project. After that, everybody would see the achievements, the milestones that you achieve. For Bibox, the first milestone was that we issued a successful ICO. The whole team, back to 2017, September, we were not so sure that we could issue a successful ICO because of the market. Finally, everybody did their job. The result proves that if we make the effort, if we are all fully on board, at least we can achieve something. With the money that we raised, we did a lot of plans, the plans that we possibly, we want to give 100% funds to that plan. Originally, we achieved a very successful ICO but with the money that we raised less than that, we adjusted our plans, but we still made 100 percent effort. Let’s say that we spent 20 percent of the money but we achieved 100 percent of the effort, the result. That’s the thing that you cannot imagine before you started to do that. After you did it, after you achieved it, when you look back at what you did, you will be shocked.

JS: I totally agree with you, you should invest all your resources, all your time, all your effort and you will achieve results. You mentioned that Bibox’s way started from their successful ICO. What do you think about this market now? Do we have a future for this market? Or will it transform into security token offerings or maybe another form?

AW: I do think the market right is in a very normal cycle. When we see that each time that Bitcoin drops 70–80 percent, it is in a cycle. I’m still confident about Bitcoin because right now more and more traditional financial institutions are getting on board. Lots of people from traditional industries, they also start to pay attention to this industry. This makes it very clear that the current blockchain industry, compared to 2008, has changed a lot.

JS: I think it changed everything.

AW: Yeah. We should appreciate the people who got to know the blockchain and the cryptocurrency. We also have to look forward because, if we only focus on the prize of tokens, that’s not going to be helpful for the industry to grow. But if we focus on the technology side, how can we associate, how can we [?] the blockchain technology into the real industry. That’s going to help us push the market, push the whole industry to move forward. I think that’s the main thing. I think we should all work on that together.

JS: Do you believe that the ICO market will survive? Do you believe that we will have another form of money attraction, such as security token offerings, or something else? What do you think about that?

AW: Regarding the ICO market, I don’t think that initial coin offerings have died until regulators say that there are no utility tokens, but that all coins are security tokens. The one point that you mentioned, that a lot of projects raised hundreds of millions of dollars, I think that this situation proved that market overheated. It’s a bubble. I don’t believe that any project, at the current stage, that they need $100 million to develop. The most reasonable way is traditional venture capital, where they support a project based on lots of data analysis and based on the experience they have, but, in initial coin offerings, a lot of people who have no professionalism to back them, but the investment is not like a professional investment, it’s not an institutional investment. It’s almost like…

JS: An emotional way to invest, I like it or I don’t like it

AW: That makes the market not very healthy. Right now, when the bubble starts to break, people start to realize that some projects, they have a very great decoration, they have an attractive appearance, but what we really need in this industry is we have to associate or embed the blockchain technology into our real world. It’s sort of like a bulletpoint to our current industry. It’s not like we created something that has nothing to do with the real world.

JS: How do you diversify? You mentioned that you have not only BlockWater Capital as a fund, you also have Bibox Fund.

AW: We do invest in tokens and we do also invest in equities. Chain Capital, the company that I mentioned earlier, we acquired most of their shares. Also, we are doing equity investments into different crypto finance projects, also in our incubator, the projects that we incubate, we also invest in their equities.

JS: Also, I think that a lot of viewers may potentially want to become founders of startups. What should they have to join your acceleration program?

AW: First of all, you have to be very brave and very talented. What do I mean by brave and by talented? For example, for me, when I started to do the startup, I told myself that I have nothing to lose. I really don’t think that anything behind me can be a barrier in front of me. That’s something that makes you fully on board into your startup. Also, you have to be ready for all the potential risks that you might suffer. For example, one of my best friends who was running a very good blockchain project, they did fundraising in January [2018], which was the peak of the market. They didn’t have knowledge that cryptocurrency would be liquidated into fiat. They raised $10 million at that time, but after [the market] dropped, their funds were cut by 60 percent. They still onboarded a lot of people, [in accordance with] their original plans. This example teaches us that not only do you have an idea, but you are ready to do anything. The ‘ready’ means that you have full knowledge — the knowledge of the financials, and not only the knowledge of the technology itself. You have to be ready for any situation that’s going to happen. You have a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, Plan D.

JS: Also, you mentioned multiple times that the team is essential, and it’s really the most important factor for a startup and for your company as well. What is your approach? How do you select your team members? How can you understand that this guy is your next big talent?

AW: The talk shouldn’t be only once, and the talk shouldn’t be limited to you and the founders. The talk should be opened to the whole team, open to the people who know these founders, or the potential partners of this person. We do DD very, very selectively and very strictly. We use our many resources to check the background of this person.

JS: Many people would like to work with you personally. What should these people do? Contact you in social media? How can they attract your attention?

AW: It’s very easy. Every person who sends me an email, I will take a look, if I have time. I do appreciate everybody’s energy because they are not sending you an email for no reason. They have something they do feel confident with, which is their talent. You have to appreciate them.

JS: Do you have special ways? It’s really general to send an email or reach out on LinkedIn.

AW: I think there are lots of other ways. In Asia, there is one application called Boss Leaf that we are doing a video chat on that app. I’m going to say that I’m on board from a certain period of time to a certain period of time, two hours per day, and everyone that comes first, we can chat. That’s a very interesting tool. Another way, I was in a lot of conferences and I met a lot of people. People pitch me very quickly regarding their background and what they want. If there’s anything that attracts my eyes, I’m definitely going to get in contact with him very aggressively. The people that we want are locals. Right now, I told you that we have 7 offices. Especially in the European station, we definitely want to have European locals who can help us to serve the local market and who can help us to get to know the local regulations. That’s something that we appreciate. The second thing, in the Southeast Asian market and North American market, we want local professionals.

JS: Let’s start to talk about Vocean. Everyone has seen this incredible announcement on Times Square. Could you tell me more about the world’s first crypto bond? How does it work exactly? What about the team? What about the plans for these bonds? And anything else that you would like to tell us about this product.

AW: The Vocean project is the first crypto finance project incubated by Bibox Labs. It’s incorporated in Saint Vincent, the South American country. They got full compliance there and legal compliance there to issue bonds and other related financial contracts. The first client of Vocean is Bibox exchange. We set up a sub-entity in Saint Vincent as well and we are using that entity to issue the first BIX bond. BIX is our platform token. This bond is specially-designed, it’s not like a traditional bond. A traditional bond is mostly credit-based. You have future cash flows and people trust you. You have a credit rating company like Moody’s give you a AAA or BBB and people start to get to know you. But, for this bond market, it’s a little bit different, because we see that most blockchain projects, they do not have cash flows, except for mining pools and exchanges. The bond, we call it a crypto bond, because we want people to start to notice that, in this blockchain or cryptocurrency industry, some projects, they are not air, they are making profit. For example, for Bibox, we issued the first test bond by using our platform token. It’s a collateral-based bond. We are going to raise 3 million BIX tokens from the market. At the same time, our foundation deposited 6 million BIX tokens as collateral to make sure that there is no default. Vocean provided us with a dynamic collateral management contract. These contracts can control, for example, if the price of the 200 percent collateral dropped down to 150 percent, then the smart contracts will send a notice to Bibox Foundation requesting to deposit more collateral. If the collateral drops down to 125 percent, then the Vocean smart contract will make a judgment whether or not the momentum, or trend, of BIX is dropping down, or if it’s just a one-time thing and that it will come back very soon. If the Vocean system makes a final decision that this is a trend, that this is a dropping down momentum, then the contract itself will start to liquidate everything at 125 percent of the collateral. Only qualified investors, accredited investors, they can start to withdraw the contract from the Vocean platform and they will get 125 percent of the original investment of the BIX token back to their wallet instantly.

JS: Who created this? You incubated it but what about the team? Who created it?

AW: The founder is Jerry Zhong, a former Wall Street professional working for Morgan Stanley and another huge hedge fund. Other members of the team include people from Oracle, people from Bloomberg, people from Barclays traditional bank.

JS: How did you find them? How did you find such an incredible team and attract them to your acceleration fund?

AW: I stayed in NYC for a while, I got in touch with different Wall Street guys, not only the hedge fund that we see, but also the investment banking guys. Some of them are very passionate about new things and have an entrepreneurial mind. They are really looking to the cryptocurrency area. They treat it like the late 1990s internet booming area, so they want to quit their current jobs and start a new venture. I did talk with them a lot and research their background. The main guy, Jerry, after talking with him, he made a decision to quit his current job from a $30 billion hedge fund. He was the main architect of the structure of securities products. He also invited some traditional guys from Morgan Stanley, from Barclays, and from Bloomberg to join his team.

JS: It’s like a referral program. What are your aims, what are your current goals for this product in 2019? Do you have some KPIs or something else for them?

AW: For now, Vocean has 3 product lines. The first product line is the crypto bond, which is only open to the blockchain projects which have cash flows. The second product line is another financial contract, which is open to some blockchain projects and foundations that do not have cash flows but who are really doing stuff. The entry level is lower than the bond because it’s riskier, but Vocean only provides their technology, their platform, their dynamic collateral management system, and clearance system to those projects. Those projects can start to issue a contract by themselves on the Vocean platform, so that’s another product line that will be [automated], everyone will be able to use it. The third product line — we are talking with some traditional corporations to issue their corporate bonds via traditional ways and who have big name investment banking underwriters, but, right now, they want their bonds on chain. So that’s another area that we are closely working on right now. But also, we are working on the regulation side and compliance.

JS: Understood. One more personal question. You are currently a multi-millionaire. What really motivates you now? How can find a new challenge every day? To wake up, to go to the office, to do something? You can stop now and spend the rest of your life on entertainment you know.

AW: In China, there is an old phrase: what gets you there, you’re going to make it back. What we are doing right now is trying to bring blockchain into the mainstream. We benefited from this industry, and we are super appreciative, but, at the same time, we are not like the people who only want to absorb from this industry, but never pay back. We are trying to give back to the talented people and to the professionals who want to participate in this industry. That’s the reason that we started the incubator and the investment arm, because we know that this industry is open to everybody and that this is the industry of the future. What makes me do so, we think that it is really something that is going to create another era. We have the internet era, we have e-commerce, we have AI, we have big data — a lot of new stuff is coming out, but we think that this is the era for blockchain technology.

JS: Do you think this era is just starting or is almost finished?

AW: I think it’s just starting.

JS: Just starting, OK. What are your 3 key aims for 2019?

AW: For 2019, the first big news that we will announce is that we are incubating a second great crypto finance project, which is a cryptocurrency payment project.

JS: By payment, do you mean in real life, like in stores?

AW: Yes, in real life.

JS: Sounds pretty good, I really believe in this industry as well.

AW: For this one, we will collaborate with a lot of big giants from the traditional market. We cannot release the name right now, but it should be very exciting things that are going to come out very, very soon. We are going to beat Visa.

JS: That’s pretty good. As I mentioned, I am really excited about micropayments as well. We also made some investments, made you heard about it, everiToken project, who is also trying to create a payment solution. I really believe that we will have a huge market in blockchain when we will have mass adoption. When you can come to Walmart, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and pay via crypto. I really believe in that as well.

JS: OK, our last section: brief questions and brief answers. Why is Bibox better than Huobi and Binance — 3 key reasons.

AW: We are the first AI exchange. We are a [?] exchange, we are not going to accept every project, we are very selective. The third reason is the people. We are the first team that never had the people exit from the core team. Compared with Binance and Huobi, there are people coming in and coming out. We are the only one that, what we started with and what we are doing right now is the same group of people. We are onboarding more and more people, but the core people, nobody left. Back to 2017, November and December, we worked together, lived together, and ate together. We are like a family.

JS: What is the size of your investments in your accelerator? For example, if someone came to you and said Aries, we are ready to join, we are ready to create an incredible product. What can you offer them?

AW: For now, Bibox Lab is $10 million, a mix of BTC and ETH, and the Bibox Fund is $50 million, a mix of BTC, ETH, and BIX tokens. For most of our investments, if we feel the team is strong and we want to fully participate, we can invest up to $5 million for one single project.

JS: We have one portfolio project called everiToken, I would like to ask about your vision about the micropayments industry. What do you think about that? Do they have projects that operate in the micropayments industry in the future? Now there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of challenges, but everyone absolutely agrees that micropayments should be implemented in crypto and in the real world. What do you think about that? Do you have a vision or forecast about the whole industry?

AW: I do believe that cryptocurrency payments are going to be the next big step to connect the cryptocurrency world with real life. I think that by using cryptocurrency to do the payments, we have to find a stable intermediary. Right now we call them stablecoins. Stablecoins can be used to redeem US dollars from the bank, so that gives people another option. Usually, as a merchant, if I’m willing to take BTC, ETH, or BCH as a payment, I’m also suffering lots of risks. What if we do an interchange? Let’s say that we have a structure in the middle. We can pay in cryptocurrencies but the merchants receive US dollars instantly. You show the dollar amount. That will solve the problem on the merchant, or e-commerce side. At the same time, I think we have to open the user base. The user base shouldn’t be only limited to cryptocurrency holders, but also, we have to broaden to US dollar users. That will be a bigger market. We have to start from the payment, who is going to pay. We solve that problem we can allow the US dollar to come into the payment structure. At the end, we solve the problem that the merchant who received a stablecoin or a US dollar amount will not suffer any loss. In the middle, we can do all this stuff, like custodian stuff already. I think that will be a great structure to start with the payment.

JS: Where do you find inspiration? Books, movies, conversations, meetings, conferences, where do you find it? Could you give advice to our subscribers where they can find inspiration to create something really big?

AW: For different people, they have different channels where they get their motivation. Some people watch a movie and understand a lot from that movie. Some people read a book and they can be inspired by the experience that the writer tells the readers. For me, personally, I do think, if we want to achieve something, the best teacher is yourself. You can read a lot, you can watch a lot, but the only thing that you make yourself understand is that you are doing something that you are willing to do. You are your own teacher. There is nobody in this world who can really help you in every single way but yourself.

JS: What is the most unsuccessful case in your entrepreneurial life? What is the worst experience in your entrepreneurial life.

AW: Back in freshman year, I did have a startup idea in my mind. I got fundraising from my parents and went back to China during summer break, which was three and a half months long. I started to connect with my high school classmates and the mentors that my mom intro’d to me. We had the business plan ready, we had the team ready, and we started to design all the structures and business models and everything, and we were almost finished with it, 50 percent of the development, but the summer was over. I was seeing a lot of entrepreneurs who gave up their college life and started to do the business, and I was inspired by them, through books and through movies. I told my mom that I was not going back to school. My mom rejected me directly.

JS: As every mom in the world would do.

AW: She cut my funding, she cut everything. I was really upset at that time because that was the thing that I built that whole summer from zero to something that we achieved already, we had a business plan already, we were under development, we were almost ready to do marketing and everything, but mom is mom.

JS: I have a lot of similar cases in my life.

JS: Could you give some advice to our audience, what should they do in 2019 to succeed?

AW: Try to build up your tech knowledge, and try to associate or embed your tech knowledge into the real world and you will get there.

JS: Thank you so much, Aries, it was a big pleasure and a great conversation.

SMC Capital

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NYC-based venture capital firm focused on blockchain infrastructure and security token offerings