Welcome to our comprehensive interview series – Humans of Blockchain™ where we get the best in the business to answer diverse questions.
This series will clear the air of doubt in the blockchain space today by focusing on bringing more transparency to the readers.
He is highly experienced in the IT industry having deployed several projects at a global scale.
His diverse knowledge and experience can surely inspire you to do great in life, overcoming the self made constraints that we put ourselves into.
Not wasting much time, let’s hear it out from Richard Shibi himself.
1. We would love to know more about you Richard. Your story and how you got into this space
I graduated from high school in 1999. It was clear for me at the time that computers were the future, so I decided to study a subject that would help me obtain a job in that sector, that’s why I chose computer science as a subject.
My career started with a minimum paying salary as an external contractor working for Amdocs. This is one of the world’s leading providers of BSS / OSS solutions for Tier 1 telecommunication companies. After one year, Amdocs saw potential in me as a software engineer and decided to hire me as their direct employee.
Over time I moved to the Integration and Project Management department where I had the chance to travel to more than 10 countries around the world. My last position with Amdocs was Head of Development department in Bulgaria, in which I was responsible for software delivery, customer relations and sales.
After 10 years working for Amdocs, I decided to accept an offer from Ericsson to relocate to Chicago, USA, in order to help them in the implementation of one sophisticated BSS project for US Cellular. I spent two years in Chicago before I accepted yet another offer from AsiaInfo, a Chinese company which provides BSS / OSS solutions for telecom operators. With AsiaInfo I worked as Account Director for Telenor Group in Europe. During the two years I worked for AsiaInfo I traveled and lived in Copenhagen, Oslo, Budapest and Stockholm.
After having worked for 15 years for Global Corporations, I felt that its time for me to invest on myself, so I could not find anything more valuable than education. This is how I started my MBA @ Imperial College Business School in London. Since I left my full time job, I started having more free time for myself, which I have utilized to learn something new like Blockchain, and the rest is partly history and partly work-in-progress…
2. How many Blockchain companies are you advising currently? What criteria do you have when you choose a company to advise?
I prefer not to disclose the exact number, but since last year I have advised more than 10 companies. I have always been very strict and that’s why I did not sign for more than 20 or 30 projects which has approached me for the last 2 years. My criteria is simple:
- Does the team have a professionally crafted website & well constructed whitepaper?
- Does the management team any have experience in running a startup?
- Does the business model really make any sense?
- Does the project have an investor deck? Is it comprehensive and will it work?
- Do we really need blockchain here? If yes, then do we really need a native token?
I can list more questions, but such guidelines are very important to filler the scam and non serious projects from those who will become the next Blockchain Unicorns
3. What future do you see Blockchain companies have? Will the direction of progress change?
Blockchain is already transforming the way business is done, the process is slow and that is absolutely normal for every new technology. With the era of advanced technology and awareness I believe that in 3 years we will see much progress been made, where we have real businesses with high adoption available almost in every developed country.
4. There’s a lot of fear in the market due to recent market crashes. What is your take on the market scenario? Will it improve?
Last year was an artificially inflated year for sure, this is already a fact that we all recognize it. Moving forwards, there has been a lot of awareness and regulatory measures against scammers or pump\dump scenarios. The future is bright and we are approach a bottom in the near future.
Crypto has never seen such a long period of low volatility where the price of BTC & ETH is close or even lower its cost of production. I see this as a rational supporting level from which the market should start recovering during Q1 2019 upwards. Of course political, regulatory and community issues can highly influence the fragile immature market, but that is only temporary until the market recovers and progressively move upwards.
Just like the internet bubble, 100s of companies raised millions of $ just because they claimed to have an internet product, most of them crashed but now we have Google and Facebook. So bubbles are not so bad, they just reflect the excitement of investors in new technologies. For the long run, we will have the new Unicorns coming out of this bubble.
5. The STO market is growing very rapidly. What is your opinion on the growth of STO market? How is it different from regular security market?
STOs are gaining popularity, that is very true and for a very good reason. In an STO it is harder to cheat and harder to scam. STOs are more regulated than ICOs, the thing which provides investors higher levels of assurance that their money will be properly used or at least the founders will not literally run away with the money.
The major difference between STOs which are driven by tokens and IPOs which are driven by shares is that the later one will cost many millions to run and the process is extremely slow and open only for the selected few, while virtually any person can run an STO for a fraction of the cost. Additionally, IPOs are sold in a certain jurisdiction, like USA or UK, while STOs are more global by nature and available to anyone to participate and trade 24\7 globally.
6. What are the best locations to establish a Blockchain based business?
That highly depends on few factors, like where are founders from? What is the nature of their business? Whom are they going to target? Etc…
In general Americans better raise an STO from USA, this will be the safest. In Europe we have the UK and Estonia. In Asia we have Singapore.
Of course there are more exotic locations like Cayman Islands & British Virgin Islands, but I personally very reserved to any ICO which will raise from such a jurisdiction.
7. How important is the role of regulations in the Blockchain space?
Regulations will either kill or embrace the new technology, regulation is the blood stream of any new technology.
If it is too strict and tight, it will prevent innovation, while if it is too loose it will cause a lot of scams and frauds. So finding the right balance is the ideal solution.
8. What Blockchain projects do you think have disruptive potential in the future ?
We literary have few 1000 blockchain projects out there and for sure many of them are great. Just to name few, it all started with Bitcoin with which most of us are familiar, so this is the mother of all Blockchain projects and is definitely a great one. It was then followed by Ethereum which wanted to expand on what BTC could not offer, which was followed by NEO (aka the Chinese Ethereum), all those are multi-billion well known projects.
Less known examples are Stratis which is compatible with C# & .NET, this means that you can very easily find developers to create a DAPP on such a Blockchain
Another great example is Storj, the project aims to become the go-to cloud storage facility which is based on the blockchain technology; faster, cheaper, and more secure than anything else in existence
9. What shortcomings are there in the Blockchain industry? Both tech side and business? How should we tackle them?
This sphere is still at its infancy stage. Therefore it is quite normal to find it full of challenges both technical, business and regulatory
From the tech side, the biggest challenges are scalability, interoperability and energy consumption
From the business side, regulation is #1 barrier. No one business wants to invest millions of USD on a project which will eventually be deemed illegal or unregulated. Other than regulations, adoption is one of the major barriers for businesses to shift to blockchain\crypto
Despite the challenges most of the projects are work-in-progress resolving the issues. BTC for example has already implemented Lightning Network which improved the processing speed noticeably and the development team are still working on other solutions to make the infrastructure even more scalable and much faster.
Ethereum on the other hand is tackling the high energy consumption by shifting from PoW to PoS
All in all, we are still at a very early stage of this new innovative technology and it will take another year or two for this sphere to overcome the main barriers.
10. Any last motivating words for our audience?
Most of the people will invest in thriving boiling hot markets, this leads entering the market when it is just about to reach market saturation and then head south for a strong correction. My advise is that, this is the right time to make an investment in Blockchain start-ups, when the market has already been bearish for a whole year and just about to find a stable floor.
Will anyone ever be able to bottom the market? Absolutely not! So from timing perspective making an investment today in the Blockchain technology will definitely yield much benefits in the coming few years. Most probably, we will not see 3 digit numbers growth in a single day as we have seen during 2017, but the future is very promising. Those who invested in Google & Microsoft after the burst of the internet bubble are now millionaires. Of course it takes years not days or months to realize high return on investments, but there is no other way of achieving it.