Singapore, SINGAPORE – As you may have gathered by now, 2018 was a horrendous year for cryptocurrencies and anyone in the cryptocurrency business. Many folded (others were always scams to begin), but for the rare few who continue to persist, 2018 was a lesson (a hard one at times) in resilience, improving and perfecting on their business models and adding value to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. We sat down with Rune Evensen, founder of cryptocurrency exchange COSS.io to glean some insights into how the company managed to survive through the cryptocurrency market crash of 2018 and how it intends to grow in 2019 and beyond.
Lessons learned from 2018?
An interesting opening question indeed. Many lessons learned for sure, and maybe the biggest one is that what goes up eventually will come down. This is mostly in reference to the insane bullrun that started of 2018 and lasted well into February. We all expected the downfall to come according to the annual tradition around Chinese New Year and leading in towards the time for tax filing in the U.S., but few (to none) expected the bear market to last the entire 2018. So another lesson learned would have to be – do not rely too much on historical data in such a young industry.
Your outlook and perspectives on 2019?
I am very optimistic about 2019, first and foremost based on our own upgrades and new positioning in the market, but also very much so for the market overall. I think 2019 will be the year where we will see regulations truly come into play and this will sort out many of the stayers versus the wannabe’s in the industry. To simply do regulatory arbitrage and move your “incorporation” won’t cut it anymore. Consumers want trust, and trust is obtained by being transparent and compliant. This can only happen if you are based in a jurisdiction where there is some form of regulation on top of both processing audits and financial audit. Being in Singapore placed us in the midst of it all. 2019 will be the year of the new Payment Bill, new regulations when it comes to securities through the proposed RMO consultation paper and also enhanced control in the space of KYC/AML/CFT. To some extent also, increased consumer protection, as you won’t be able to even apply for a license unless you have an audit, decent paid up capital and a solid “on the ground” an responsible team.
Your latest project / development and what you and your team have been pushing lately?
For us it is all about COSS 2.0.
We are currently at v1.2 which saw the light on December 10, 2018. We have a new matching engine which is state of the art. Many new features, new design and an overall complete make-over. This has been our main focus throughout 2018 and we are finally seeing the results of it. Our core business model with the Fee Split Allocation (FSA) has also gotten a solid revamp and will soon be 100% automated and run on a daily basis. With the introduction of our second token, the COSS FEE TOKEN (CFT) we have also added more options for users on our platform. Now they can pay all trading fees with the CFT token and obtain a 25% discount on their trading fees. Fees paid with CFT also goes into the FSA, so 50% of the CFT used will be returned to the COSS token holders through the FSA. Other features like dust conversion have also proven to be a very appreciated new feature. All low balances (below trading/withdrawal thresholds) can now with a click of a button be converted into CFT which again can be used for trading fees and/or being traded directly on the exchange. We will be rolling out multiple new use-cases for both the CFT token and the COSS token during 2019.
We have a lot on our plate for Q1 2019 and we aim to be positioned well in the top 50 among exchanges before we move over to the second half of 2019. We are strong believers that quality matters and only through our own persistence and the loyalty from our beloved community, we will be able to once and for all prove that we deserve a spot amongs the top crypto exchanges in this world.
Ideas you have developed to push crypto adoption further?
Other than what I already mentioned as part of COSS 2.0 we have several projects on the table for 2019, some which will be great for the expansion of our business and others more directly focused toward mass adoption. But we live in a high-speed environment which is highly competitive, so I will not reveal too much of our 2019 roadmap at this stage. You will simply have to wait and see, but rest assured that we won’t be resting much in 2019.
One crypto project you are following closely for 2019?
I am following and certainly hoping that 2019 will be the year of the come-back for the ever beloved ETH. Lets hope Vitalik and his peers can sort out some scaling issues and finally roll out some long awaited upgrades. Following doesn’t necessarily equal “being a fan of” , so obviously we are paying close attention to the disputed future of USDT. I do also closely monitor several smaller projects that I strongly believe will make ground in 2019, but in fear of giving any “investor-advice” I will keep those to myself for now.
One country you are following closely this year in terms of crypto adoption and crypto-friendly regulations?
Needless to say, but my home is Singapore and where else does one have to look to find ongoing changes and adoption towards a digital future. With so many ongoing projects in Singapore, involving everything from the start-up community to the central bank (MAS) and even the Banking Association (ABS) we could basically sit back, open the popcorn and enjoy the future happening in Singapore. But rather than being a spectator enjoying the popcorn, we have chosen to be an active player in the field, both through the work done by ACCESS ( https://www.access-sg.org/ ) and the under-establishment new association for digital exchanges (DX). In the broader scene of fintech and blockchain technology beyond the cryptocurrencies we also have Singapore Fintech Association and Lattice80 here in Singapore, so the community is very much hands on in what is moving in the industry.
One person / leader / Opinion leader you are following closely this year 2019?
None mentioned, none forgotten could have been the easy answer, but I am still sticking with the same name as I have put forward before and that is Mr. Anson Zeal and his tireless efforts of driving the community forward. Not only does he chair the ACCESS association on top of running his own company COINPIP, but he is also an active community member of SFA plus he is a strong driver of the ongoing SPICE program which is a joint effort between ACCESS, MAS and ABS in order to create more and better industry standards through a code of conduct in Singapore. I take my hat off to Mr. Anson. I could have added many names to this list, but I think I will leave it with this one for now.
Your wish to the crypto-community this year 2019?
I wish the HODL’ers get rewarded, the nay-sayers get onboarded, the doubters become believers. I truly love the crypto community with all its diversification and ongoing love and dispute. From the FUDders to the FOMO, we need them all, we love them all, but be on point. Don’t FUD for the sake of it, don’t FOMO for the sake of it. State your case in a decent manner and you will be heard. We are all in this together. I wish you all a Happy and prosperous 2019.