My Open Letter to the Crypto World

Blockchain is like teenage sex. Everyone talks about it. Nobody really knows how to do it.

By Jonathan Quek


My Message to the Cryptocurrency Community

I’ve been investing in the stock market since I was a second-year university student pursuing Computer Science. Since then, I’ve been involved with investing in several other types of financial instruments. Throughout my years of investing, I’ve experienced and seen numerous promises and perils in the financial world.

Every season, there seems to a ‘Hype’ happening and new gurus will be created. Remember the days of forex, options trading and value investing? Today, the latest hype is blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Personal Experience

Personally, I was lucky to have invested in gold and silver during the financial crash of 2008 and experienced a boom in my investment portfolio. I started blogging about my learnings and soon it turned into an accidental business. Being a naïve young entrepreneur, I was told to write books, give talks and give interviews to the media. Guess what? I did all of that as per my mentor’s instructions and it worked!

Overnight, I was seen as the leading authority in precious metals and I was invited to speak in the largest conferences in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Korea. There were times when I was travelling to speak in 4 countries in 4 days. And I wondered to myself, “How did I get myself into Expert status?”

However, as I got busy travelling to speak, I could no longer keep up with the markets and I was turning more into an entrepreneur in the commodities trading business rather than a specialist in the subject matter.

I still recall a time when my closest and trusted circle of friends were warning me of one financial product that I was promoting. It was related to crude oil. At a time when I was riding high in my business and career, I ignored their warnings.

And soon… It taught me the biggest lesson of my life, business and career.

In 2015, I was hit with the biggest crisis in my life when a particular portfolio that I was involved in turned out to be a scam. The principal used the crude oil price crash of 2015 as an excuse for the scheme to fail. Fortunately, after 2 years, some of the largest investors of this scheme managed to dig trails of the principal’s fraudulent activities and now we are going through a lawsuit with the masterminds of this scam.

Life-Changing Experience

3 years since the crash of this crude oil scam, I must admit that it has been the most challenging yet life-changing experience for myself.

I used to be a guy who believed in doing what you do best and outsource the rest. However, since the crash, I had to endure the difficulty of studying 2 subjects that I’ve been avoiding all this while: law and accounting.

I had to find out how did I fall into that terrible oil crash. Isn’t it?

So, I started engaging with a number of lawyers and accountants to learn what went wrong. Today, I live with this understanding that you’ve got to engage a good lawyer at any point of your business. It’s either you invest in a good one while you’re starting out or you’ll end up paying more later on.

The crude oil crisis has also affected my ability to trust others. And hence, the reason why I am now even more selective when working with partners.

Nevertheless, I am thankful to a buddy who taught me this. He pointed out to me that the problem with me in the past is that I totally ignored the understanding of law and accounting and I expect the ‘experts’ to take care of everything.

If I was to continue my journey in this industry, these are 2 areas that I can never ignore. And when one has truly understood these 2 important subjects, you’ll realize that you’ll be able to sniff BS and learn when to walk away.

I’ve learnt to trust again. Because of this one important principle, this friend has ingrained in me. He said, “JON ALWAYS REMEMBER. TRUST IS GOOD. BUT CONTROL IS BETTER.

Buyers Beware

I started exploring the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry last year. Excited by all the hype, I started flying around the world to understand what the hell was going on.

During that several months of flying around attending conferences, I must admit that I was first very excited about the hype that “blockchain is the best thing that has happened since the internet”!

The excitement got heated up as Bitcoin prices jumped 20 folds to $20K. Friends around me became multi-millionaires overnight just because they bought some Ethereum during its presale days.

Then came the world of ICOs!

Basically, there was a point in time in 2017 where as long as you list a coin or bought a pre-listing coin, you’re guaranteed to make money. And I was excited with how fast the world has changed over the past 1 year. There’s an abundance of capital looking for the next “Alibaba or Google of Blockchain”.

However, as I started to dive deeper into this industry, I started to sniff more BS in these blockchain and cryptocurrency conferences, expo and summits. I’m not saying that all of them are crap. Unfortunately, the majority of them are. My guesstimation? More than 90% of these ‘Crypto Experts’ are crap!

It’s a bunch of people going on stage marketing the hype of blockchain without any business perspective. The product that they were selling? Token sale.

These are tokens with no utility but disguised in whitepaper as the next revolutionary bitcoin or ethereum with super technical words that they probably have no idea what they were talking about.

What makes it worst is seeing branding and marketing gurus calling themselves ‘leading blockchain authorities and investment strategists’ when they probably have not even bought a single bitcoin or Ethereum in the first place, let alone understand the difference between a crypto wallet or crypto exchange.

Marketing in the crypto space continues to grow faster without real solid blockchain projects coming alive. At this rate this is going, the blockchain industry is bound to be derailed by people who operate with the mindset of ‘fake it till you make it’.

Silver Lining

Nevertheless, just like every industry, there are angels and there are devils. Throughout my travels, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and learn from the minority. The minority 10% whom I believe have the power to create a change in the world through the distributed ledger technology.

These are the minority who truly believe that blockchain has the ability to solve the world’s grandest problems and that if you want to be a billionaire, create a solution to help a billion people.

And today, I invest most of my time surrounding myself with these geniuses and learn from them. These are the guys who avoid fame, media and publicity. All they do every single day is to quietly build, learn and measure as the blockchain industry continues to evolve at an exponential rate.

My Conclusion in the Crypto World

After attending close to a year of conferences and summits, meeting numerous types of people in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, this is my takeaway about this industry.

  • Blockchain and cryptocurrency are like teenage sex.
  • Everyone talks about it.
  • Nobody really knows how to do it.
  • Everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it.
  • When everyone claims that they are doing it, you believe it.
  • And those who are really doing it, they are pretty quiet about it.

I don’t believe that blockchain is what’s gonna change the world. It’s the dreamers who utilizes blockchain to create a new shift that’s gonna change the world!

And there’s more technologies that’s truly exciting and they are accelerating at an exponential growth at the moment. Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things!

At the end of the day, I believe that the world will reward entrepreneurs and investors who are passionate to help elevate humanity to create a better world.

To the crypto community, I wish that you’ll be the change you wish your next generation to see!

2018-10-08T10:35:18+00:00 September 17th, 2018|Musings|

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