Below is our recent interview with Mickael Salabi, Founder & CEO of Tokenpot Capital:
Q: What is the story behind Tokenpot Capital, and what’s next for you?
A: I was involved in Bitcoin and following crypto projects in 2012. While I became passionate about the movement, technology, and community behind, I made some profits along the way. I knew that the future would incorporate some of the revolutionary ideas to some degree, whether it’d be the immutable, decentralized, accounting(ledger), or financial aspect.
At the time, I remember the faces of my family and friends when telling them about this whole new world emerging. They probably thought I was a bit crazy, but eventually, they started to ask questions. In the same time, I wanted them to be part of what I thought would be a huge disruption. In my crazy mind, the potential was so enormous that the people involved would become so powerful, versus the people not involved. We had to be there, good folks! I was always terrified by the potential, something powerful can be used for the good, or can be used for the bad. But it remains powerful regardless. And the objective was and still is, of course, to make the world a better place. It is more obvious today than it was in those early years somehow. I also wanted to serve the community by onboarding “outside” folks in the movement, as well as educating those new circles. In late 2015, I decided that it was time to satisfy those common interests, win-win for everybody. And Tokenpot was born.
The “token” word was not much used yet in 2015, but since following projects such as Ethereum, IOTA and others were not necessarily using just pure cryptocurrencies or a typical Blockchain in the case of IOTA, I knew the name of the fund had to be as generic as possible. Also for knowing that it was still very early, the connotation to “Jackpot” came secretly to mind, in addition to the fact that the fund would simply be a basket of those tokens. I was never interested in day trading or derivatives.
The goal was simple: allow people to follow and be invested in the technologies of the crypto space, without the various technical difficulties involved (Setting up accounts, wallets, exchange trading, maintaining the nodes, private keys management, etc). The strategy was even more concise on paper: research on fundamentals, investment long term and as early as possible when the former is satisfied. We focused on exploring and supporting the core infrastructure.
Tokenpot existed only because of the demand in my personal environment, as a service for them. I feel I completed this service, and most of the investors are now educated enough to invest on their own. There is always a need for this type of fund: tech and market expertise, deal opportunities, security and expertise to manage the wallets, private keys, etc.. However, the original fund may cease sometime this year or the next. Mission being accomplished with good ROI on top, I am not a typical financial manager at heart. I will be moving on to new ventures, building applications, and hopefully, help fulfill other needs. I expect to be able to say more about it in the next 6 months.
For now, I am still enjoying the last mile, and there may be a shadow of Tokenpot remaining afterward, especially with the rising of virtual funds – platforms such as Genesis Vision did not exist before, but it was always my intention to provide convenience, paperless, transparency, and anytime liquidity to a fund structure. This realm of possibilities is perfect timing with the upcoming end of Tokenpot standard funds: for a new beginning, and expansions to other directions. Atsala, the parent company of Tokenpot, is not done innovating.
I am also involved in another fabulous movement, la suite du monde, attempting to propose an alternative way of life via promoting social building, sharing, and governance. The phase of buying large lands just started in France. I am personally excited to go there and get closer to magnificent nature (wait to see the pictures), and at the same time, put some of the recent technologies such as Blockchain to good use, in this case, an essential tool of managing the economy and governance of those future lands.
Q: What’s the best thing about Tokenpot Capital that people might not know about?
A: I started from nothing, with less than $10k investment in operational costs.
The lawyer was not specialized, the accountant either, the choice of the structure was not right, I got it all wrong at first. On top of that, it is nearly impossible to create a proper fund structure with so little…. or so I realized later on – we had to go in a complete restructure, and I understood then what it took to get a chance to compete in the financial world. That could be a whole other interview in itself, but in summary, the regulatory and practical barriers are very hard to overcome – money and network make a good part of the solution. I learned so much and that is why today I can appreciate even more so what some of the game changers like Genesis Vision, Melon and Blackmoon bring on the table. This type of business should be an equal opportunity for everyone, and anyone proving the necessary skills shouldn’t be stopped by those administrative obstacles.
Long story short, I’d say that that groundfloor starting point makes of Tokenpot a unique story in the financial world. Besides, we did implement a few attractive terms:
• Relatively low minimum: $30k USD
• No lock-up period for investors
• Scalable R&D team to cover a growing market (ICO rewards mechanism)
• Boosting local projects and providing a quality network in the Miami hub area
• History of very early implications in the most disruptive DLTs
Q: Do you have any examples of blockchain technology currently in use? If so, what are they?
A: • Financial/Lending (such as MarkerDAO/Dai, Compound, Celsius network, BlockFi) — Those applications are the ones the most in use today. We call and wrap this in the name of Decentralized Finance, or DeFi. The most used today can be found on this real-time tracking website. MakerDAO, for example, is a fabulous way of offering collateralized loans, with no central authority at its core. In addition, MakerDAO is an issuer of a stable coin, called the DAI, pegged to one dollar each. The essence of MakerDAO is decentralized governance (the DAO part), designed in a way that has not failed so far, and protected by multiple preventing mechanisms of black swan scenarios. There are many reports and papers describing the inner workings of it, as it is a brilliantly complex and effective ecosystem born at the end of 2017. But the point is that people use it today with passion and satisfaction. The feeling of owning and managing your own finance is powerful.
• Games assets (NFT) — emerging games are gaining steam as players start seeing the benefits of owning the underlying assets of the game. For example, in 0xuniverse, a game in which players can conquer planets, utilize their resources to build ships and corporations (and later win the war of corporations and battleships), each planet is designed as a unique token (Non Fungible Token), stored on the player’s Ethereum keys (or wallet). Whatever happens to the game in the future, the player will always have the assets he played with. There are also open markets for those assets, that are independent of the game’s company. It’s like a new level of freedom for those players: true ownership and time monetization, in addition to unlocking a new world of possibilities. Same goes true for all types of other games and collectibles, such as MMO cards (Gods unchained), VR (Decentraland and upcoming paracosm games), etc..
• Notarization of data — A few months ago, DocuSign announced, for example, that they will use Ethereum public blockchain to sign electronic documents. This is because using the trustless properties of a blockchain and their timestamps, there is no way to hack or falsify those signatures. Similarly, notarizing documents or storing any type of data in the blockchain opened the door to many applications that have been implemented but failed to go mainstream yet.
Q: What do you think it will take for blockchain technology to hit a tipping point where people are actually using it in day-to-day life?
A: It will likely come in waves and stages, for different types of people. Before the mainstream adoption, it will first be used by and benefit the corporates‘ ’internal systems. If we go back in time just a little, the internet became popular only after the intranet phase experimentation. This is because corporates have IT research teams that can safely onboard them to new technologies before the average interface becomes friendly and easy enough for the mainstream. There is, however, a population of individuals that will continue to fuel the essence of the technology, for their own interests, be it a hobby or independent professional services.
That being said, let’s try to tackle the question of “when”. I strongly believe that as soon as 2020s ish, the adoption curve will do a major jump. It will not be mainstream yet, but it might be a few games having a few hundred thousands of players onboard, trading their unique assets on an open market. There will be a few hundred thousands of people organizing their whole finance on a daily basis via crypto applications.
In parallel, there may be many innovative physical products such as smart devices using the blockchain behind the scenes. They may be used or become popular without the overall knowledge of the blockchain technology being used yet. This is because one part of the mainstream adoption will inevitably be education and time. Time for the newer generations to mature. But as soon as the economy/incentive layer kicks in some cases, overall awareness and participation in the underlying networks shall increase.
Those products are likely to come from giant tech factories such as Bosch, so this ties to the corporate part I was talking about. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that this phase will play a major role for the next phase, mainstream adoption, which I’d say would hit a tipping point around 2024. Those guesses are doomed to fail anyway — as they may become true progressively, they are no more distinguishable from the reality of every day. The “crypto” distinction will disappear. The “blockchain” might just become an accounting system in language, especially that it is likely to be more hybrid systems, a mix of private and public, added with the flexibility of auto governance and metalanguage interactions with us humans. That’s how early it is today, and at the same time, that’s how fast it could evolve, in my opinion. I’d like to finish that thought process with, no one really knows what will happen, including me. Let us enjoy the way there, and more importantly, build and shape together fairness, more efficient systems, and better macro/micro economy all around.
Q: What is the most exciting blockchain technology project you have come across? Why do you like this project?
A: IOTA’s purpose is something one can grasp easily. I like that they are focused on one precise objective, which is enabling a new realm of microtransactions for devices, or in other words, machine to machine payments. It’s still early and the tech roadmap is not complete yet, however, the business delivery side is progressing fairly well, with many relevant partnerships/developments.
I went to CES 2019 and smart cities were one of the most important focus of many US officials. That involves shaping the vision on how the data will be shared and monetized in the coming world of smart cities. “Who will own the data?“ They ask. They have many questions unanswered, but IOTA is fitting in the topic incredibly well while tackling those questions all at once.
IOTA facilitates the sharing of data between machines, with payments streaming based on real-time utilization. This is possible only because there is no fee in IOTA transactions. One such example is parking your car. Would it not be better to pay exactly the amount of time you parked per minute or second, instead of hours? And doing this without you having to calculate or signal when you take the car back? This is possible only if the payment and interactions are made directly from the car to the parking service collecting the fees. Such an application is about to be finalized as we speak. But many others aim to leverage the same concept at its core.
Disclaimer: I am personally invested in IOTA.
Q: What do you think are the biggest opportunities for blockchain technology in the next 5 years? Which industries are most likely to put blockchain technology in use in the medium term?
A: As mentioned above, IOT is one. I would add VR and AR because the added digital economy layer of blockchain will provide the necessary incentive to truly dive into those meta-realities. Besides, industries such as finance, gaming, supply chains/shipping, healthcare, and most of the remaining ones are likely to be positively impacted in that order.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say…
A: I am just personally excited with all the developments that are taking place. Always remember, the “crypto” scene right now is more than just a market with currencies, it is a movement. It is shaping the future in many industries, in many ways. It is the intersection of many essential and profound topics. It is for us, people, our power and our right to really speak, act, and implement.