Arie Levy-Cohen on Blockhaus: “We Don’t Need to Fear Standards if We Can Harness Them”

Oct 4, 2017 · 5 min read

Every week brings news from far-flung corners of the globe of national governments coming to terms with the new paradigms introduced by the blockchain. Regulation: many in the blockchain world fear the word. Others deride it. But almost all acknowledge that some form of governmental and institutional regulation of blockchain business and digital currency is a matter of time.

Blockhaus — a Switzerland-based startup founded by SingularDTV CFO and Co-Founder Arie Levy-Cohen and Head of MME Legal Luka Muller — is taking the initiative to get one step ahead of any official standardization by establishing a suite of best practices, frameworks, and tech developments that provide an open, fair, secure, and sustainable methodology for doing business in blockchain and generating tokens with long-term utility and growth.

In further detail, an interview with Blockhaus Co-Founder Arie Levy-Cohen on the Blockhaus philosophy and how the company’s gameplan is leading from the front…

What is the Blockhaus mission?

Regulatory, legal, tax, and compliance. Anything that has to do with potential standards in that regard that have to do with blockchain are standards that Blockhaus will follow. Then, oura that Blockhaus will be the catalyst for providing the opportunity to deliver Switzerland as a service for the benefit of blockchain companies trying to do business in the world. In addition, exporting that to other countries in a manner that is regulatorily legal and tax compliant, following financial, property asset standards, and legal standards. Standards that allow us to communicate more efficiently with each other.

How do you see these standards being applied?

This is important to say: We’re not trying to establish standards for the industry. We want to apply these standards internally to see if they work, rather than staying what the standards should be for everyone else. We’re trying to espouse best practices that we believe will be requirements in the future. We’re hoping to create the next paradigm — one that fits blockchain. We’re trying to put it on ourselves first. Understanding the straitjacket in which we’ll have to do business and trying it on for size. That iterative process will allow us to find what will really work.

How did you decide that the Blockhaus project was a necessary development?

SingularDTV gave birth to Blockhaus. It was born from lessons learned from the SingularDTV token generation event (TGE) and everything we’ve learned since. Every TGE that we’ve ever engage with, we learn how to do it better. How to improve KYC-AML, how to improve collection and storage of data, how to remove liabilities, how to align the interests of the token holders and responsible business owners. If you imagine that you create a mechanism that at least gives some people in the traditional world of business a sense where they can understand what’s going on over the other side of the bridge, that’s an invitation for traditional investments, money, and actors come into play. I want all of that to get into crypto — for the sake of adoption — and this is a way to do it.

An introduction to Luka Muller, co-founder of MME Legal and Blockhaus

How did the partnership with Centrality come to be?

My business partner Luka Muller, co-founder of MME Legal in Switzerland and Co-Owner of Blockhaus. He was in Auckland, New Zealand, which is where Centrality is based. As quiet and humble as they are, the Kiwis are doing some really good work down there! Centrality is kind of the big boy on the block in blockchain in that region. When we started making Blockhaus happen, I began talking about the standardized financial smart contract with Aaron McDonald (Co-Founder and CEO Centrality) and Zach LeBeau (Co-Founder and CEO of SingularDTV), and since then they’ve become an important collaborator on our projects. They do dApp design, UI, and a lot more than that. I see them as somewhat similar to Consensys, but all the way on the other side of the world.

Are Blockhaus projects partnerships or client-based?

Both. We have a lot of clients that have come to us in the process of launching their TGE and fundraising, getting organized. Some of them are partnerships because they’re the right thing to do, whereas some of them are just practical: economic services, etc. Unfortunately, all of the projects that we’re working on are under non-disclosure agreements, so I can’t go on in length about them. But we don’t discriminate between whether you’re a startup or institution. Blockhaus is a startup herself!

What is the key ingredient to a Blockhaus endeavor?

For me, it’s more about the right projects, with the right impact, with the right sustainability metrics and economic models that can lead by example. Project that have the potential to activate, from the bottom up, the essence of blockchain, which is that the people are the value. Value rests in the conversations and exchanges that we have as human beings, not the technology that makes it possible. That’s the value that we seek when we look at opportunities. Is there an impact? Is there value to people?

Is there one primary obstacle that needs to be overcome to achieve healthy growth in the blockchain space?

For Blockhaus, the most important thing is to execute in a way that will be sustainable for the benefit of the blockchain ecosystem. I think we need to cooperate now to compete later. We haven’t given birth to the blockchain yet. It’s still in beta. When decentralization establishes itself, then we can all compete, but the competition right now is causing more problems than it is creating opportunity. And because of that spirit of competition, we’re inviting a lot of people who are not necessarily the best-trained actors to be participating in this next economy. Pursuit of revenue will follow when we have the pieces in place to make it work. Right now, we’re building the lego blocks. We can’t build together until we have all the pieces!

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