Bobby Lee, from the Foundation, spoke to Cryptovest on the sidelines of the NEXT BLOCK Conference in Kiev, Ukraine, last week. He shared his views on the latest situations with crypto exchanges, ICO tokens, the challenges facing Bitcoin, and other trends in the sector.
Lee sees exchanges as extremely challenging because of regulatory pressures. “Everyone is doing it for the first time, in every region and every country,” he explained.
Concerning the launch on Coinbase, Lee stated he had no negative observations on how the event unrolled. A few months back, the listing of the contentious, first Bitcoin fork, by Coinbase, attracted criticism due to allegations of insider trading and unreliable order execution.
Speaking on regulations, Lee further expressed his belief that the more mature the country and its industries, and stock markets, the more regulation is to be expected for crypto markets.
Regarding million-dollar fees to list on large exchanges, the problem Lee sees is the listing of ICO tokens. He believes BTC and BCH are real crypto assets – but tokens are not decentralized asset classes. Some exchanges ask for high fees, but I don’t play that game, explained Lee.
Tokens vs Coins
What makes a real coin, and not a centralized token, asked Cryptovest.
Lee believes there is a difference between utility and equity tokens – and he believes a lot of assets get disguised as utility tokens, when their only function is fundraising.
Selling to US persons is one of the problems for centralized token launches, and to sell to US-based investors, projects are offering utility tokens. Lee thinks the approach to regulating tokens would mature in the next few years.
The US policies are there for a good reason, believes Lee, and everybody is extra careful with US-based buyers.
Lee has experience in a fiat to crypto exchange – the most traditional type. But many exchanges today are crypto only. For a fiat-crypto exchange, which has a fiduciary role in society, decentralization is impossible. “For exchanges that deal with real money…those exchanges will always be centralized entities.” Today, those exchanges are run by companies, but Lee sees the potential that banks or even governments may take responsibility for crypto-fiat exchanges.
The Problem of Tethers
“Tethers have been a huge concern, hence BTCC does not touch Tether. It reminds me of ‘Liberty dollar’”, shared Lee – an early Internet digital currency mimicking the much earlier Liberty dollars historical fiat of the 19th century.
It’ll put a dent in the industry if Tethers collapse, and Lee has no good things to say about USDT, which, according to him, will probably not have a happy ending. Lee further advised not to keep digital assets on exchanges.
China Making Life Difficult for Crypto Companies
Sharing his views on crypto in China, Lee said, trading on official platforms is gone, or gone underground. China has never really banned Bitcoin, but they have made it difficult for companies to legitimately offer crypto-related services, pushing businesses out of China.
ICOs Remain Challenging
I see true digital assets as very different in nature than ICO tokens, said Lee. The idea of tokens was born out of greed, and that may lead to big losses along the road, he opined.
Lee has described himself as a Bitcoin maximalist because Bitcoin was not initially launched out of greed, but from the idea of freedom. The money in my bank account is mine only if I behave – that’s why I like crypto assets, where a private key means the asset is truly owned.
Which is the Real Bitcoin?
We already live in a world with many digital assets. Several of the top ones are truly decentralized digital currencies. We already know Bitcoin will not be the sole coin to survive, but it will have the highest mining rate. “I actually like Bitcoin Cash,” said Lee – I actually like both, said Lee. In some ways, BCH does fulfill the original mission of the Bitcoin white paper – limited supply, scalability, and can be considered “the real Bitcoin”.
Bitcoin needs more education because few understand what it really is. If governments want to suppress it, they would target the freedom of speech. The world will no longer be bound by physical assets, but ownership will be based on information proving true ownership. It’s the first time in history we have something like that, pointed out Lee.