In an interview at which Cryptovest was present during the second day of Blockshow Europe 2018, Bobby Lee—co-founder of BTCC—was asked if the sheer number of blockchain companies appearing over the last few years makes it difficult to make an investment decision.
He then proceeded to speak about his opinion about ICOs in general.
“For me, there’s a huge difference between investing in crypto assets and investing in crypto tokens. Four of the top [digital assets] are , , , and . Those are what I consider true decentralized global digital currencies that should hold value, as a store of value, a use for payments, and so on and so forth.
But then we have, in the last year and a half or two years, this outburst of all these ICO tokens. So, tokens are centralized [coins], issued by the group, the founding team, by a company. They’re mostly utility tokens, and some are security tokens. But those are derivatives. Those are really representations of future utility or some discount in rev share, some security. So, they’re backed by that sort of promise. That’s very different from fundamentally money,” Lee said.
A recent tweet of his also fired a broadside at ICOs, calling many of them “database projects” and saying that, at worst, their fundraising is “greedy hype marketing.”
Throughout the interview, he made his unwillingness to invest in most ICOs clear.
“The reason I stayed away from ICOs is because when an ICO project sells me utility tokens, I find that not very useful and not very compelling. I know a lot of ‘investors’ still buy into it and spike up the price. But for me, I don’t touch ICOs for that reason, because they’re not true equities. Now, if someone actually runs a good company, and actually would sell me equity in the form of paper or a token, then only in that condition would I be interested in investing in them. […]
Utility tokens, to me, are just coupons, sort of like a free lunch or a golfing session at a new golf course, or like going to a video game arcade and you have 10 tokens and you could play a video game. Or even at a subway, they have tokens you could use to get into a New York subway. To me, that is not an investment. When people say that they invested in an ICO and bought some utility tokens, I think they got… Yeah… Not too good,” Bobby Lee concluded.
Lee’s Opinion on Stablecoins
Further on after the interview, we had a chance to catch up with Lee and ask him a couple of questions of our own.
After speaking with him at the Next Block conference in Kyiv, he made his opinion clear about USDT, comparing it to the Liberty Dollar. Its reputation has taken quite a downturn as the stablecoin is not audited transparently.
At the Blockshow, we asked him what he thought of other, more properly audited stablecoins like TrueUSD (TUSD). He humbly replied that he does not have enough knowledge of other stablecoins to make a judgment call.
“Honestly, I don’t know much about or studied many of the stablecoins in detail. If someone wants me to go do an investigative sort of audit, I’m happy to consider that. But I am not educated enough to tell you about that,” Lee told us.
Lee Clears The Waters on Supposed “Optimism” Regarding China’s Crypto Policies
We also had a chance to ask Bobby Lee about his statements at the beginning of the year regarding China’s ban on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Back then, he said that “one day, I think it’s possible they’ll lift the ban, so called, and they might reinstitute it and license it.” However, more recently, the Chinese state press has denounced cryptocurrency exchanges providing services to the mainland, calling them “defiant.”
While many other media venues may have called Bobby Lee’s words “optimistic,” he clarified to us that this was a misinterpretation of what he said.
“I think the media mistook my words. It’s not a ‘sudden optimism.’ It’s a classic statement I say, that nothing in life is permanent. So, everything eventually can get overturned. In China, we had a one-child policy. And finally, 30 to 40 years later, it’s been lifted. So, it’s the same thing with cryptocurrency exchanges. I don’t know; it could be five years, it could be four months! It could be four years. It could be 40 years. It’s not up to me nor will I know,” he said.