Pierre Wolff, VP Bus Dev Tierion #icos


– Welcome Pierre, so lovely
to see you. So congratulations on becoming VP of Business
Development at Tierion, – It’s very exciting. – Really pleased to hear that. I know you’ve put a lot of
effort into this ecosystem, and helped a lot of people
so it’s great to see you finding a star role. I was wondering how much
Tierion raised in their ICO, I know Wayne did tell me. – Yeah, we raised about $25
million, and we had capped it, so it was really the
amount we were looking for. It was a very smooth ICO as
far as all of the processes that need to be put into
place, we didn’t have any kind of disaster, or any thefts, which have been happening a lot. – Yes. – So we were very fortunate. – Right, and I know Wayne
said to me that Tierion is one of the only companies that’s actually delivering for the tokens. So can you tell me about that? – Yeah absolutely, you know we set a goal when we did the… when we were preparing or thinking through the process of ICO that the only way it made sense is if we had something that was actually useful. And so our goal was so that
immediately following the ICO we would actually have
a deliverable product. So that the tokens would
be immediately useful. And we met that goal, and
that was really exciting because in this space
today I’d say over 99% of the projects are still
maybe six months to a year out from delivering on the actual utility they claim to have, we were
able to do it immediately, and that was really exciting. – And I know I keep reading
about certain big ICOs failing for different companies,
what does that mean when an ICO fails? – Generally it’s a missed expectations, it’s a mismatch of expectations. So you have companies that
have set a certain threshold that their looking to raise,
and there was recently one in the GP rendering space
that it was a real shame. They did a lot of marketing but at the end they actually had to cancel their ICO. They only raised $1 million,
when they were hoping or expecting to do it in the, call it 20s or 30 million range. So it was really disappointing
and so that happens. It isn’t always attributable to marketing, sometimes the product just isn’t
what people are looking for so it’s still a somewhat finicky market. The participants and the
investors tend to be very out of the cryptography
world or out of the cryptocurrency world and
so they may not be as… They may not find it as appealing, projects that are not directly
playing into their strengths. – So and I just learned
through another interview that and ICO doesn’t
necessarily have to be a blockchain startup, which
I in my naive way thought, that you would have to have a
blockchain startup to do that and no apparently not. So could you tell me a bit about that? – Yeah well you know, look
I think that there is, like anything even the term blockchain, when I started in it was
a very specific thing. At this point everything is a blockchain. It’s like it has become a
discussion about innervation, of rethinking your databases
and you don’t even need a token – (laughing) – from what I understand
so I’m not surprised I think that the more successful
ICOs or the bigger ones are really trying to do
something around the protocol. And the term for that is a fat protocol. So I think that that’s
your marque type of ICO. What you’re seeing is,
why in a way people feel it’s a little scammy is because frequently people are just trying to
find other ways of paying for things and they create
this currency out of nothing. What’s crazy about that is
whether or not you can actually form an economy from doing that. So I’d say that while
there’s a lot of people who are succeeding with
that, it’s questionable whether those will be the long
term winners in this game. If they are unable to raise money through more traditional methods,
it’s probably for a reason. And so I think that
the froth of the market is letting all ships rise,
right now I don’t think there’s a lot of ICOs that
come out that don’t do at least a modicum of well
before they might drop. So yeah. – And if I was a startup
wanting to raise an ICO what advice would you give me? – Well you know I spend a lot
of time speaking to startups about this because it
really isn’t for everyone. I think what people miss is that there is just like companies don’t
like to go public necessarily and the reason is because
there’s a different caliber of people they have to deal with. All of a sudden you’ve opened
yourself up to the world as opposed to maybe 10
or 20 investors who are in the business of dealing
with companies like this. So in the ICO world you’re
doing the same thing. Now the challenge is you’re
trying to build something useful and so you have a mismatch of expectations between the notion that
you’re delivering on a token to serve a particular
purpose and separately people who are in it because they
want the speculative value of those tokens to go up. And so it’s really two
different constituencies and be careful what you wish for. The constituency that’s
in there for speculation could be the louder constituency
and the network effects we all talk about that oh
by having this currency they will talk about it
and more people will use it can backfire when things go negative. So all of a sudden if the
token isn’t doing well or the company isn’t doing
well, those same people are the first to throw the rocks. And so you have to be very, very careful, there is a community
management aspect to this. It has to be really well
honed, so it’s not easy money in the way people think
but again it’s becoming a different way of getting
your company to the next stage. – It’s certainly got a
lot more buzz around it than crowdfunding had when
crowdfunding first hit the floor running and I’m just
amazed, it seems to also be affecting people’s
interest in venture capital. – Absolutely, it’s really it’s interesting and we’re seeing a lot of
the crowdfunding platforms also opening themselves up
to enabling token buying off of those platforms so I think I look at this
all in a spectrum and we’re just seeing it all being different levels of the spectrum. And we’ll see where it goes,
I think that there is some things around something
called regulation A+ which are probably the
closest I’m seeing to crowdfunding meets tokens
and it’s a way for a company to actually go public with a
security token on a blockchain but with a cap of up to $50 million, so they can’t go beyond that. So that’s rings of
crowdfunding and rings of this token world so stay tuned,
it’s not over yet. (laughing) – Thanks so much Pierre
you’re always so… I always learn so much from you
and you’re also a delightful person to talk to. – Well thank you so much, and I always enjoy being
here with you people. – Thank you.
– Thank you so much.

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