Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA – An early adopter whom everyone in the Malaysian Blockchain scene has interacted with at least once, Colbert Low is the Vice Secretary of Access Blockchain Association and has been credited for uniting the various Malaysian cryptocurrency communities. Born and bred in Pahang, he is also the founder of BitcoinMalaysia and a Senior Advisor for consulting firm Celebrus Advisory. But it’s his intuition that hinted at a niche technology will soon be a game-changer. Low often says that what he’s done was nothing out of the ordinary. Of course, there were also transferable skills from his past career that proved immensely useful.
However, spreading the word, in this case, requires a certain savvy and he has it in spades, adding that the best way to decide on venturing into any investment is to go in with both eyes open. Even when he’s not working, his days are full and the rewards are worth the effort. It’s easy to get caught up with number crunching and the technical banter, but Low finds the time to show that he cares in his interaction with all-comers. Earning praise early on for providing a common ground for discussion, Low’s view is that everyone is more than welcomed.
What do you think are some of the barriers to greater public adoption of crypto right now?
It is not yet a way of life. Crypto as it now stands is still primarily used either for trading or
investment. The use of crypto to purchase goods and services has not achieved widespread
adoption both on merchant and consumer end. People at large are still more accustomed to
using fiat which has been around for centuries. Old habits die hard!
There is also, undoubtedly, a fear of losing valuable coins such as sending to the wrong address, losing one’s password or private key or passphrase. If anything goes wrong, there is no recourse to recovering the coins or reversing the transaction. The banning or uncertain regulation surrounding crypto has made many to stay away from it.
How can we encourage more adoption by mainstream, non-tech savvy individuals to crypto?
Education especially on the benefits of cryptocurrency as store of value and payment method. Beyond trading and investment purposes, individuals need more compelling reasons to use crypto. For instance, cryptocurrency has shown speed and cost savings in cross border payment or remittance. In countries where hyperinflation occurs (Venezuela or Argentina), cryptocurrencies have become a much better option. For the unbanked, cryptocurrencies means financial inclusion.
Do you think greater adoption is necessary first? For instance, more traders? Or do we need to see more infrastructure development on the blockchain?
Adoption is primarily driven by needs and convenience. This again depends on the scenario in which crypto is a more superior choice than the current method be it in terms of speed, ease of use or transfer, and cost savings. A government could also mandate the use of their own issued cryptocurrency. In such cases, the adoption will be obligatory.
We’ve heard a lot about Bitcoin ETFs, exactly how important is that to crypto adoption?
ETF is an investment vehicle that will excite traders and investors because it presents another option to profit (or lose) from bitcoin prices without having to deal with the security concerns associated with holding bitcoin or crypto exchanges. We will see more traders or investors joining in the bandwagon and learn more about bitcoin or rather study its price movement. However, this does not mean more adoption on crypto beyond investment purposes.
What is your outlook for the cryptocurrency market from where it is right now?
Selected cryptos such as bitcoin or ether that have achieved widespread adoption should remain well supported by the community in terms of price and transaction. Majority of the other altcoins however will eventually whittle away for failing to achieve adequate network adoption.
As an investor, are ICOs still a good way to enter the crypto space?
According to the Q2 2018 report by icorating.com the median return from tokens was -55.38%. Only 7% of all announced ICO were able to list on exchanges and from those listed on exchanges, 75% of tokens were traded below the ICO prices. Statistically, for the majority of the public, it is very difficult to spot a project where its token price will increase upon listing.
What advice would you give to a company planning its ICO right now?
Projects should only implement blockchain where it can bring transformational value and
supported by solid token use case. Many investors have wisened up and are much more stringent in evaluating a project including its business model, execution prowess of the team, and whether or not it has a ready product or just an idea. Be sure to comply with regulatory requirements in different jurisdictions. The good and easy days of conducting an ICO are over.
The crypto market seems to be in the doldrums right now, is this a good time for new investors to enter the space?
For new investors, it’s crucial to do your own research especially when considering investing into altcoins. Current low prices may go even lower. Therefore only invest an amount you can afford to lose and make increment investment to get yourself familiarize with the entire process. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile and prices fluctuate a lot hence they are considered risky investments. Though the current conditions may represent a buying opportunity, it also depends on risk profile of the investors. ICOs have presented a simpler and faster way for startups or SME to raise the much-needed funds to grow compared to traditional methods. Moving forward we should see ICOs being conducted in accordance to guidelines set by regulators. The compliance will be more stringent but this shall be seen as a positive step for all parties involved.
Many companies raised their ICOs when Ethereum was about three times what it is worth today, with many bills still paid in fiat, how have companies coped?
In the past, successful projects have raised more money than they actually need. Adept projects would have planned for scenarios like this and adjusted their business operations and product development accordingly.
As an early cryptocurrency adopter, what are some of the opportunities you see for redeploying your capital and growing your pool of crypto?
I am seeing a lot of interesting projects in the Masternode areas. These are special servers (cloud or physical) created to secured networks from attacks and provide additional features (instant send).
How did you spot the potential for crypto and what was your personal journey into the space?
The underlying technology made sense since I was technically inclined and it was an article on Reuters in 2012 that piqued my interest. I believe the economic cycle of the blockchain sector has yet to reach the actual growth phase since it’s only ten years (since 2009) and currently we are seeing the smartest and brightest people entering the space.
What advice would you have for those thinking of entering the crypto space? What should they buy first?
I would advise going for bitcoin since it has the most traction and market
Lastly, why do you think you’re somehow connected to everyone in the Malaysian scene?
I guess I have the benefit of starting early and actively spreading the words about
bitcoin/blockchain technology and its underlying technology to the community. I am also one of the very few in Malaysia with large social channels (over 40,000 users) since 2012 dedicated to educating about crypto and blockchain which I’m am still actively doing.