You deal in wine. That’s the beauty of tokenization, isn’t it? It creates a new world of bankable and easily transferrable assets which were not bankable….
Exactly. The blockchain gives us a ledger which is always automatically updated so you know at any point in time who owns how much of object X or security Y; it helps to fractionalize objects people can own, such as one in a thousand of a wine portfolio that they would not usually be able to afford. That creates a new field of emotional investing and access to products that were not available before. In Switzerland, we are lucky in that we have complete regulatory and legal clarity via the new DLT law.
We have recently tokenized blue-chip NFT CryptoPunk #6808 using its Desygnate primary market issuance platform, and as of January 2022, CP6808 tradeable asset tokens are available exclusively to Sygnum clients for co-ownership on SygnEx, Sygnum’s secondary market. This represents the first step towards embracing the emerging NFT market and Web 3.0 experiences into Sygnum’s vision for Future Finance.
Being the world’s first digital asset bank comes with its pluses and minuses, doesn’t it?
Yes. Being first in the space means we have created the know-how and built the IP – even co-developed various measures with the regulator. We are proud to be able to play this role and committed to doing our part in helping to shape standards which allow regulated financial institutions to enter the exciting digital assets business while protecting the integrity of financial hubs such as Switzerland and Singapore. Another advantage is just market traction. We are, and forever will be, the world’s first digital asset bank; from a marketing standpoint, it helps in recruiting, with investors and with clients.
One of the disadvantages is charting new territory. Sometimes you create yield loss on the path of finding what works or not. In such cases, a fail-fast mentality is very important: to accept some costs and to then shift and forget, because even the losses have contributed to your knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.
On that – being CEO and indeed founder in this space – any words of wisdom?
I have a rule that I spend at least a third of my time every week with clients and partners. You learn a lot there: the pulse of the market, what do they need, what people want, and how to be a part of that selling process of our products.
I believe in reading a lot; however, getting one’s hands dirty is clearly more important. I have tried pretty much every DiFi liquidity pool protocol in some shape or form. You need to explore, both the fringes and the failed things, and accept it all. On the crypto side, you need to be on Twitter, Telegram, watch RealVision etc., but to be able to weave out 99% of what you read.
I would stress the importance of independent thinking and of having the conviction to follow through on what you believe in and what you have thought through, especially when people try to make you fearful that you’re doing something wrong. An entrepreneurial journey will always be constant oscillation between euphoria and terror – I enjoy this and am comfortable handling lots of ambiguity along the way.