The ICONOMI Digital Asset Management Platform was one of the first ERC-20 ICOs. Back in August 2016, ICONOMI raised $10 Million. In those days, the ETH price was around $12. With a broad set of tools for people of any skill level, ICONOMI enables users to buy into and manage various digital assets and combinations of digital assets called Digital Asset Arrays (DAAs).
We had the honor of hosting ICONOMI’s COO Matej Tomazin for an interesting interview about the platform and about the recent unprecedented transformation of their company: “We were innovative in 2016 when we did our ICO; this step is similar, and we are showing the direction the industry should go.”
What’s the difference between ICONOMI DAAs and ETFs?
An ETF has some similar characteristics. The main difference is underlying because our baskets are composed of digital assets. This is also related to regulation, which means just as ETFs have underlying financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, derivatives, and so on, in our case, it’s digital assets, such as tokens and cryptocurrencies. This field is for now mainly unregulated, although we see some development and we are working on getting the products of the platform licensed as soon as the regulatory framework is established.
Can you share some statistics, such as the current and the all-time high usage, the user database, and ICONOMI’s funding?
These statistics have been quite similar across the crypto industry, so the most active days were in December 2017 and January 2018. When we opened the platform to put out the call for asset managers, there were more than 200 applications for people who wanted to set up a structure on our platform. Currently, we host more than 30 such structures on our platform, each with its unique strategy. We are now testing the beta version of our fiat gateway, which will allow users to purchase individual digital assets directly. It’s a 24/7 all-around platform available to users in over 80 different countries.
Regarding the transformation of the company, can you tell us about the process of converting ICN tokens into eICN shares? How will it happen? What will I get? What kind of shares, agreements, etc.?
More about this process will be published later this month on our blog. However, as a token holder, you have different options to choose from. If you believe in ICONOMI and want to be a shareholder, you can select the option to convert your tokens to shares, and those shares will be tokenized.
You mentioned in your last blog post that the next crypto trend would be the tokenization of assets. Could you please elaborate on this?
I think the traditional economy will go in that direction, meaning assets such as company shares, art, real estate,
and others will be tokenized.
You will be able to invest in the traditional economy through tokens. Tokenization also means additional liquidity because if a Picasso picture is tokenized, you can buy just a part of the picture for, say, 10 Euros. Today you can only buy the whole picture. New possibilities will change the financial industry because you will be creating a portfolio from very different assets. They could be from cash flow streams, real estate options, and so on. You will not just construct a standard portfolio of funds, stocks, and bonds.
This move is our way to demonstrate our commitment to developing and evolving
Following the transformation, do you feel an admission of failure in any way?
To build a good house, you need good foundations, and it is the same as the new shareholder structure. This is what we are making. If you are transparent about precisely who is behind it, you have the right recipe for further growth. Introducing a security token means we’re moving in that direction.
What were the motives for the decision? Does regulation have anything to do with it?
Well, there are different motives. We want to be transparent and clarify any legal doubt and questions about what the token represents. A white paper is just words, which means you have to trust what we say. With shares, it’s a little bit different. If you’re a beneficial owner, you can trust someone, but if you are managing money for someone else, trust is not enough – you need paper. ICONOMI continually innovates and moves forward in that direction. We were innovative in 2016 when we did our ICO, and this step is similar in that we are showing the direction the industry should go.
As a result of your unprecedented and inspiring move, do you expect other ICOs to come to the same conclusion and make such a move?
For us, utility was introduced because of legal uncertainty. However, once the legal clouds have disappeared, what tokens are and how they can be used will be straightforward. Other projects will analyze our move, and they will conclude for themselves whether it is something they want to pursue.
Do you feel you have an advantage getting to that conclusion as one of the first ERC20 ICOs?
It definitely gave us more time to think, but it also gave us a big responsibility regarding what the next move should be. You don’t want to make a wrong move, because you are an example for other ICOs. You’re showing other projects the right way to raise money. I think this move is an excellent way to demonstrate our commitment to developing and evolving the crypto industry.
Focus on the product, not the hype
What is the best tip you can give a young company manager who is now considering going for an ICO?
The ICO industry has changed and mostly moved into the venture capital world. The best tip today is to have a product so you can show something before you raise money. You also need a talented team with a good track record because credibility attracts money. The main tip I would give is to focus on the product, not the hype: More delivery, less talking. This is because if you focus on the content, the rewards will come sooner or later, but if you focus on how you look, you might never be able to show what you can deliver.
Where will the crypto world be in five years? Will we see working products, or will the majority revolve around trading speculation?
I believe the crypto space will merge with traditional industries. Some companies will use its technology and implement it, maybe not totally, but incrementally. Eventually, it will also have mass adoption, which opens new possibilities for everyone. I believe it will be the same as with the internet revolution.
When the internet was born in the early 1990s, we never dreamed of the possibility of services like Facebook and Google. Remember visiting a website in the early days of the internet—it was very complicated. Few people knew how to code a website. Today, setting up a web page is pretty easy. You can use a tool like Wix and simply “drag and drop.” ICONOMI is doing this for the financial industry, making it possible to “drag and drop” your basket of digital assets.
Tokens for anything and everything
“When the iPhone arrived, everyone was able to become a photographer. You had a smartphone with a good camera, and you were able to post on Instagram and other apps. Now, imagine the same thing for becoming an asset manager and monetizing your knowledge about your specific niche. That’s where our future is.
Imagine you have tokens for anything and everything. You will be able to monetize your knowledge about something that’s very niche. For instance, if you are good with makeup, you can earn money on YouTube by attracting followers, and people are paying you. Imagine the same paradigm in the financial industry. I believe that in five years, many things will change. New products will be out there, and new possibilities. To summarize: I’m optimistic from an economic viewpoint.”