Introduction about yourself and your company?
I started my entrepreneurial career by setting up companies and legal entities. Previously I was a real estate broker, making some extra money when I was still in university. However, my timing wasn’t the best – and I witnessed the real estate collapse / financial crisis happen in ’08 and basically eliminate any real estate prospects short term.
Therefore, I looked at my skillset and performing legal services and filing paperwork with the state was something I had experience with. So, I finished undergraduate degree and deferred a year of lawschool and traveled to Asia. When the next fall semester came around, I already had a profitable small business and decided to just keep going with the business.
Around 2014 I realized that the biggest impediment to growing the company formation business was something called “KYC” or know your customer laws. I surveyed the market and tried to buy some software, but there weren’t any SaaS solutions for small businesses like mine, only banks. So KYC-Chain was born in 2015/2016 and went to market, getting a few small clients, going through 4 different accelerators, and landing Standard Chartered Bank as a client.
However, through all this, we realized that although we had created operational efficiencies for financial institutions, we hadn’t quite cracked the problem of KYC – as it was still painful for the person applying for the new account. That’s when I decided to start SelfKey, an identity wallet for users to collect their documents and data, and easily share this data with a 3rd party.
How are you and your business in this time of crisis?
Actually, many companies, law firms, banks seem to be more willing to adopt remote onboarding technology in this time of crisis. We were always a decentralized team without a central office, so there are more customers interested and our day to day work is more or less not impacted.
What do you think will happen after all quarantine period will be lifted?
There will likely be many companies that don’t come back (restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. who were impacted directly by the slowdown). This will cause a deflationary downward cycle, however – governments will do almost anything to try and prevent deflation – so we will see continued money printing.
From a Macro perspective, the world is already experiencing a global trade slow down as countries look towards domestic rather than international trade for goods and services. Because of this trade slowdown, countries will have less foreign exchanges and still have a large amount of dollar-denominated debt, many countries may have trouble servicing the debt. Because there is a difficulty to service the debt, we will likely see smaller countries either default on the debt, or take on costly new loans. Most countries will continue to print money without considering the longer-term implications of easy monetary policy.
This and other factors will likely increase the price of real assets and cause an inflationary period, where things like Bitcoin, Gold, Silver appreciate in value.
What are the things you’re doing this lockdown period?
I’m focusing on planting seeds – so that when things are better again, the rain has stopped and the sun is shining, the seeds sprout.
What are some lessons you’ve learned during this pandemic?
The lessons are the same as I’ve learned over and over again. The financial world is highly leveraged and during a liquidity crisis, everything will sell for cash. Bitcoin is looking increasingly resilient and I believe in the next market crash, it will actually be seen as a hedge.
What are the things you’re grateful for?
Every morning I do a gratefulness exercise. Typically, I write about how I’m grateful to even be alive! Or that I’m grateful to have both legs. It’s really easy to take things for granted – so other things that wind up in this exercise are mostly simple, such as a warm cup of tea, a sunny day, or for something a teammate did particularly well. We also have a #gratitude channel in our internal team chat to try and thank each other. Above all else, I try to be grateful for who I am, not the things that I have.
Can you give some advice to other people and businesses out there during this pandemic?
Stop worrying about trying to change the situation and just accept it. Once you have accepted the situation, start thinking about how you want to position yourself or your company post-pandemic. This too, shall pass. What will your life or company be like when it’s over? Now is the time to make that decision. Now is the time to plant those seeds!
Do you agree that Blockchain can help sustain the economy?
I would say that cryptocurrencies in particular are an interesting asset class because they represent a different type of non-government backed currency which is immutable, fungible, uncorrelated to other asset classes, and for the most part, secure, private and anonymous. Certain cryptos can help the individual store and preserve and grow wealth, outside of a domestic economy, possibly one with exchange controls.
Where can we follow you and your business?
Download the SelfKey wallet for free at SelfKey.org/selfkey-wallet and you can compare and signup for bank accounts, setup a new company abroad, or enter a crypto loan with one click.
If you like money, freedom, privacy and owning your data, the SelfKey wallet is for you.