How did you get into Bitcoin?
I studied computer science. My first job, my beginning of career, I worked as a developer on trading systems. So those experiences also got me to understand Bitcoin very, very quickly in 2013. But it actually took me about six months to fully engage. I read the Bitcoin whitepaper, got it, but felt that for this thing to work we need a decent community behind it.
What convinced you?
In December 2013, I went to a conference in Las Vegas and bumped into Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum. It’s amazing today. There was another guy who was quite influential. I was learning Ripple. He came with a laptop to show me how it works, and in the process he transferred me some XRP and said, “You can use it to teach the next guy.” It’s about five hundred dollars – not a huge amount of money, but it’s not peanuts. So I was like, “Well, this is a pretty generous bunch of people. They are really not looking for the money. They really just want to teach. Soon after, I quit my job, sold my house.
But is it a convenient way to pay for things?
It’s just in the early days. So much about crypto is people seeing it as a way to try and make more money by watching it rise in value and trading it. It’s almost like a game of chance. And people just go for it thinking they can trade it in and make money out of it instead of using it.
Worried about the investment frenzy?
I did not expect that. I think it’s very difficult to predict what will take off when. But we have an open democratic market, and the market will self-correct. Too many people rush. The prices will go up too much. And then some guys will want to cash in, take profits. But no one really knows. So maybe the price is still too low now. So the market takes care of it.
Are there more risks in derivatives – betting on price fluctuations – than in trading real tokens? The word risk means different things to different people. Some say risk. Some say opportunity. Professional futures traders manage risk.
Binance was one of the first investors in FTX. Isn’t that a competitor?
I never see anyone as a competitor. If I have this mindset, everyone is my enemy, even very different companies. But I have an abundance mentality. I think most of the things in this world are not resource constrained. Money is not. Business opportunities are not. And the crypto industry is not. We are so far from saturating the crypto market. We have to build a market together.