“It is great to help other people” – interview with Simon Cocking

If you are still wondering why the cryptocurrencies prices went down in February this year or how to avoid scam ICO, we prepared something special for you. World famous ICO adviser and blockchain evangelist shared with Ruth.News his insights about the crypto market situation nowadays, work as an advisor and top actual ICO projects.

Anna Hare [AH]: Simon, do you remember the first time when you heard the word “blockchain”? Could you describe the context of that situation?

Simon Cocking [SC]: It all began with the use case scenarios and the Alex Tapscott's book “Blockchain revolution”, sometime in 2014 or 2015. “Blockchain revolution” indeed brought a revolution describing a great high-level exposition of the transformational potential of the blockchain. I have subsequently met Alex in person and interviewed him and his father a few times - they are great blockchain advocates and evangelists. Similarly, also John McAfee, Bobby Lee, Jon Matonis and Jimmy Song among others have all been generous in sharing their time and insights. Then my cofounders of Cryptocoin.  News also really helped. They were sharing their crypto insights as we grew our own blockchain/crypto inspired media site.  

AH: Did you expect that day, how great potential can it have?

SC: It is incorrect to speak about one moment. It wasn't just one day, it was a series of insights and we are still seeing exactly what it's potential might be.

AH: What was your first experience on the crypto market? Have you started from the investments, doing your own ICO or advising?

SC: I started with one company being very insistent on giving me some ERC20 tokens, so they sent me a pdf explaining how to create a Myether wallet. From there it was a fast and steep learning curve!

AH: How do you pick up the projects with whom you want to cooperate? 

SC: I have a good filter now, I can assess quickly and work out if this is a right project to work with. The crucial thing for me what and if I can offer value for them. Another important factor is how the team members are as people...

AH: Is there anything especially important for you when you chose the project? For example, if the team has not much experience but the project is unique (or the other way around) would you start to work with them?

SC: The team needs to have experience and the ability to execute own plans. Very few projects are as unique as they think they are, trust me! Without a good business plan, a marketing strategy, and a budget to promote themselves, they will struggle, and their perceived uniqueness will not help them.

AH: What is the most pleasurable about working as an advisor and how your average working day looks like?

SC: It's great to help other people, and it's also even better when they follow your advice and achieve success based on it too.

An average day? There are two types, those when I am flying to speak at events, then I am reading books I have been sent to review on the plane and rehearsing my slides. Then the ‘non-travelling periods’ I am at home editing and publishing articles for my three sites that I edit, Irish Tech News, Cryptocoin. News, and Invest It in. I am also reviewing my messages on email and LinkedIn were the people I advise contact me for advice, and then also dealing with everything else that comes in too!

AH: In one of the interviews you gave, you were claiming to have a mental checklist of things important to do well. Could you unveil a secret, which things ICO project has to do well to be successful?

SC: Good project, good marketing strategy, and then a smart, talented team to execute on these elements.

AH: Could you recommend us some noteworthy ICO projects? Are there any dark horses among them?

SC: Past, present or future ones? How many should I mention? I really have a lot of good ones.

AH: Maybe let’s focus on the present and future project, you can pith as many as you wish.

SC: It will be Beat, Vestarin, Omnitude, DiW, Bulltoken, CargoCoin, Morpheus, Dataeum, Sandblock, MedicoHealth.
All of them you can see in this picture:


AH: Let’s discuss for a second an actual crypto market situation. Despite the great ICO boom we’ve seen last two years and market development in general, I have the impression that crypto market is somehow on hold, and just small per cent of its potential is being used.

SC: It will all change with institutional investors moving into this space. We can expect less noise and hype, but more money being invested!

AH: How do you think what slows down the crypto world?

SC: The volatility of existing cryptocurrencies is a problem and mainstream media hype can distort the underlying trends.

AH: What kind of underlying trends are you talking about?

SC: 1/3rd of all Bitcoin is still held by 1600 wallets alone, this is far too much wealth and BTC concentrated in too few hands. It can result in massive price fluctuations and volatility, which we are currently experiencing. This is a sign of how immature the market still is and it remains a risky area to be involved in.

AH: In the February - March there was a big market drop. How do you think, what was the reason for such a situation? 

SC: As above, and also the reaction to smaller investors getting disillusioned by the market fall - which was definitely encouraged by older investors selling off in December when prices of BTC / ETH and other currencies peaked.

AH: HashCard, LoopX, Giza are scam examples from the last couple months. Could you advise our readers on how to stay away from the scam? And should the community itself protect the new members or rather everybody should look out for themselves?

SC: Make your own due diligence, don't just rely on others to do this for you. Reach out the founders via social media, Telegram, Twitter, Linkedin, ask them questions, see if they have a digital footprint - what have they done before. Of course, if they were doing anything. This is not everything you should do, but it is a good starting point. There are more and more good things coming along, KYC, AML, whitelisting, Descrow and other checks helping to reduce the potential for scams. Therefore it is not just up to the individual, Also the community is doing good things to help reduce fraud. A good example is Clearify by Clearpoll, a system made to avoid phishing during the payments. At the same time, we all need to take personal responsibility too.

AH: I wanted to ask you about the attitude of different governments towards the ICO. For example, USA forbids their citizens to take part in the ICO, Estonia on the other hand, promotes themselves as the ICO hub. How do you think, what stands behind such as decisions? And in which direction the great share of countries will go?

SC: More regulation will enable more people in more countries in the world to invest more easily. In many ways, the SEC's (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) work in the US is aimed at providing greater protection for investors. Similar developments are happening in many other countries too.

AH: By the way, little bird told me, that you are planning to make a TV ICO show where the winner will have his ICO founded. Can you tell us something more about that? 

SC: Hm, tell me more about what you know?

AH:  Not much, all I know is that you wanted to make it with Nick Ayton involvement.

SC: Yes, hopefully. But I am still working on pinning down a date when we are all free to do this.

AH: Thank you for the interview.


SIMON COCKING  is Senior Editor at Irish Tech News, Editor in Chief at CryptoCoinNews, and freelances for Sunday Business Post, Irish Times, Southern Star, IBM, G+D, and other publications. He is also a business mentor and advisor working with 50+ successful ICOs to date. He has also been named on 10 global Twitter influencer lists in the last 12 months and top expert by the ICO success score on ICO Bench. 

In 2016 he appeared on lists of global influencers to follow for fintech, the blockchain, and data security. He has been based in Ireland for 20 years. He has founded four companies and introduced one national sport to the country. Along the way, he’s met a lot of great people in Ireland and enjoys working in and writing about the Irish and global fintech scene.

Links to Simon’s social channels.

Photo credit: Simon Cocking

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