The Definition of Money : Interview with Zee Zheng SpaceChain CEO ③

Succeeding in the fusion of blockchain and space, Zee Zheng believes that these technologies will enable a new era of seamless global collaboration. Having launched 3 blockchain-enabled satellite payloads into orbit within SpaceChain’s first year of operation, Zee has been recognized as a pioneer in this industry and has been sought as a speaker at events like Space Tech Summit, SpaceTide and Space Forum.

Zee Zheng (SpaceChain CEO)

Interview Date : 23th March 2020

More countries are looking to manage crypto as a legal asset

Personally, I don’t see a reason as to why some countries are resistant to crypto. I understand that some traditional and centralized banks are resistant to crypto in order to retain control. At the same time however, it is almost impossible to stop this phenomenon. In the long term, both the crypto community and the centralized banks may eventually integrate. I personally think that crypto will not completely replace centralized banks. In terms of customer service or people-centric interfaces, we always need personal touch, which is what traditional banks offer. At the same time having this crypto system being accessible as a legal asset for people who want to use it is extremely important. We have seen countries like Germany legitimizing crypto as an asset and India lifting the crypto ban. With all those movements we can see that organizations are trying to find balance with crypto assets. I think that is the general direction that the world is heading.

Crypto is not only about asset prices going up and down

Volatility is something that crypto needs. Crypto as an asset, it’s about price discovery and liquidity – these are some of the most important features of crypto. If you have a proper price discovery system, you have to allow it to go down by 50% just as you should allow it to have an increase in 50%. On the contrary, in the stock market they have circuit breakers and government interventions, so you really don’t know the real value of an asset and, it is difficult to understand what the market is really like. The central government can take measures to stabilize the market. For example, in some countries, you can only buy and cannot sell at times. This is really interesting because you should be able to mend and have the right to control your assets.

Where volatility is concerned, people have gotten used to random and fast price rate changes that can happen within a couple of hours, a couple of days or 30 business days. Volatility is something that we have acknowledged in both the stock market and crypto and leads to real market discovery. The price of a crypto asset is really about that current situation and the freedom to control assets. Growing the community and educating people about what is going on with crypto, as well as the potential that bitcoin holds, is very important.

There is no generation gap but a knowledge gap

There are a lot of financial professionals in Singapore who are well-versed with investments, so bitcoin has been heavily studied in the last 3 years or so. Singaporean young professionals are aware of what bitcoin is. However, many of them express that they like the technology but not crypto or bitcoin transactions itself. I don’t see that there is a generation gap, but more of dividing thoughts where some may say that blockchain makes sense but bitcoin doesn’t, and others who say both make sense and are very enthusiastic about it. It is more about the knowledge gap. Even if one knows enough, they may not buy bitcoin. Here at SpaceChain, we want to connect the network and the people in the crypto and space community. We are providing a cybersecurity solution for bitcoin, and any other blockchains and digital assets for the future. We are trying to connect all these elements and make people feel safe, prevent disruptions and protect users from hackers. It is safe, it makes sense and it is the next generation of financial infrastructure that already has become a big community that will continue to grow to be much bigger.

KYC processes around the world and risks to crypto exchanges

The crypto exchanges we have collaborated with in Singapore use standard systems for KYC confirmations. One advantage of operating in Singapore is that we are in an English-speaking country, so businesses processes are convenient and can be easily understood. I noticed when the exchanges reach out to other countries, it is quite hard to identify what information is required for legitimizing an ID and what is not. As such, conducting registration for some customers can be quite difficult. Let’s say that a certain exchange covers 80 countries, but there is one country that they are not completely sure about its business and KYC process, they would rather not get involved. It will be risky if they do – as a hostile threat might take out the entire crypto exchange system.

Coronavirus and crypto both need proper measures

If businesses want resiliency and to mitigate risks of blockchain networks from shutting down, verification of the nodes in the infrastructures become very important. For example, the coronavirus situation could lead to high risks if we don’t take proper measures. Therefore, having all kinds of backup for assets is essential. In any situation, having a copy of assets in space will be incredibly important especially in times with unforeseen circumstances.
As a node infrastructure, we want people to have access to their assets. One of the potential angles that we are pursuing is for developing countries like Africa where local currencies are breaking down as their economies go through unimaginable inflation rates. Sometimes they use US dollars, and other times they use fiat currencies. Despite this, we hear that they use bitcoin often as it is universal and accessible. As such, we want our space infrastructure to be accessible to such nations as well.

People need to rethink the definition of money

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a liquidity crisis at one point where people were selling their assets aggressively, causing the market crash. Also, due to many exchanges promoting new things in the market, crypto was overleveraged. In the long term, people will come to understand the market. If you look at the US stock market and bitcoin markets, crypto is not performing badly as compared to centralized governments that are injecting billions of cash into the economy. People have realized that with limited supply of assets, bitcoin is going to be highly important. While all the centralized banks are injecting money into the system, the fiat currencies you are holding will eventually become less and less valuable. In terms of monetary policy wise, it is the best time for bitcoin ever, the greatest invention through bitcoin is not just the technology, but also the awareness of the monetary policy that people need to think more about. It makes one wonder about how the modern economy and modern banks work and don’t work. I think right now it is the most exciting time for bitcoin as people look for what is real.

Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada



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