Andrew Tzialli is a partner in the Corporate team and head of the firm's Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group.
Andrew's practice primarily involves working on corporate transactions, including private equity and venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, corporate re-structuring, corporate finance and banking. Many of the transactional matters Andrew works on are for clients that are involved in disruptive technologies, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies and eSports.
As part of a series of interviews, Andrew has spoken with a range of businesses and organisations to explore the current blockchain landscape in Ireland and the UK.
In the third instalment, he speaks with Arthur Stolk (Founder and CCO) and Erin Grover (Brand Ambassador) of crypto-asset investment firm, Icoinic Capital about about their experience of the blockchain environment, and the biggest challenges to blockchain adoption.
AT: Erin and Arthur, thank you for joining us today. Firstly, can you tell us more about your business, the work you do and the verticals you operate in?
AS: Icoinic Capital is an investment firm committed to generating exceptional returns for investors. We offer a diversified range of crypto asset exposure through high frequency trading and cryptocurrency fundamentals.
Icoinic Capital is fully registered by the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets under the AIFMD-light regime.
Our investment products meet the due diligence requirements of traditional funds, including third party auditing and best practices in compliance. This supports investors with trusted exposure with 'best in class' investment policies.
AT: Excellent. That must be a really interesting space to be in at the moment.
What makes your business different or unique?
EG: After years of researching crypto funds around the world with the help of my due diligence team, I have backed Icoinic Capital with my reputation and voice in the crypto industry because their attention to the customer experience, compliance, transparency and regulatory standards is as real as their dedication to incredible gains. As a crypto asset advisor, I would not place my clients in most of the crypto funds out there. Thankfully, Iconic Capital does meet the standards of all my investors, including High-net-worth individuals to first-time investors starting with smaller amounts.
AT: Great. It's really positive to see companies like Icoinic doing things a lot more "by the book" than many others in the crypto sector. That can only be a good thing for the industry.
On a personal level, what was your first experience of cryptocurrencies or blockchain?
EG: I first saw a hand-written sign on a coffee shop window in Portland, Oregon back in 2009 that said, "Will accept Bitcoin for coffee". I always wonder how that guy faired in the long-term game.
AS: My first experience with crypto was in 2013 when Bitcoin had a boom. We experienced gains of $30 to $1000 in no time. My interest in crypto disappeared after the market crashed. I picked it up again in 2016 when the market started to rise. This is when I began the journey to create Icoinic Capital.
Erin – it's amazing to hear that even then there was an appetite for Bitcoin.
Which blockchain platforms are you utilising?
AS: We're only trading on the top cryptocurrency exchanges.
AT: What are your biggest business challenges in the next 12-18 months?
AS: The biggest hurdle could be when regulation kicks in, and it would be a major leap forward in this industry. We as a company are compliant as we can be, but you just don't know what regulation will bring. It will not only be a hurdle for us, but for this industry as a whole. Our philosophy from day one was to be the most compliant knowing that regulation is unavoidable. This is why we integrated best practices from traditional finance.
AT: I'd agree with that. Regulation remains somewhat of an unknown for large parts of the entire sector but the likes of the proposed EU Cryptp-Assets Regs (being MiCA) will be all encompassing. Still, as you said, the regulatory hurdles will be much less of a shock to your business as you may well be complying with future regulations to an extent, already.
H3>Going further ahead to say 5 years into the future, how widespread will blockchain be adopted in Europe?
EG: I see the mainstream adoption on the horizon, yet I don't see full integration of blockchain technology in five years. MiCA, Europe's proposal for regulating crypto assets, is a step in the right direction. I'm optimistic for its activation within the next two years.
AS: This is always difficult to forecast. I think blockchain is going to be a technology that will be widely used. Most people who use it will never see the actual technology. For example, with the Internet, you send a message, but you don't necessarily think about the technology behind what it took to send the message.
AT: Thank you both. Great to hear about Icoinic and your journey through blockchain and crypto.
Originally Published by Philip Lee, December 2020
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