I’ve gone quiet on social for a couple of months now. A lot has happened since Fusang decided to put our IPO on hold: because we saw the intrinsic volatility in the market, and the fundamental shakiness of the economy. Asset prices have gouged for too long on the teat of free money. And as Warren Buffet once said: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you see who’s been swimming naked.”
Team Fusang was chomping at the bit to launch the IPO. Never mind for ourselves, but to prove to the world that a blockchain-based token could represent something more than hype or speculation. That it could represent real equity — OWNERSHIP in a company trying to build a productive business. A platform that both delights and serves its clients.
But we knew that if we took the selfish decision to plunge ahead for our own enrichment, and listened to all the pundits on Telegram urging us on (likely without even really understanding what we were trying to do), we knew that we would be doing a disservice to the entire ecosystem of people trying to use crypto to change the world for the better.
We would be like every other crypto platform out there that pays lip service to “democratisation” and “alignment”, but makes bank on the back of their users’ woes. ROBBING-the-hood instead of Robinhood. Dumping our shares onto the unsuspecting public that were investing because they trusted us to put their needs above our own.
And so we decided that discretion would be the better part of valour. To put the IPO on hold. To come back to market when we actually thought it would be a good time — when all of our investors, old and new, would actually make money because the world saw the incredible potential of the unique platform we’d built.
We saw the fragility in the market. A house of cards waiting to come tumbling down. But even we could never have expected just how bad it would get. I guess when markets crash, a lot of people and investors who claimed to be missionaries, turn out to be mercenaries. And when the money disappears, so do they.
Phew. Bullet dodged. And we look like geniuses, from the fortuitous combination of a little bit of intuition, and a whole lotta luck.
In many ways I see a large part of the crypto market spiralling out of control. A senior banker once told me, than when companies get desperate, they start grasping at straws. And one scandal after another ensues.
Someone gets a tattoo of a howling wolf, and cryptoland gets excited. #WAGMI they say. And then the moon falls out of the sky. And people start committing suicide. Because they were told that the answer to “When Moon?” was only a question of When, not If.
But actions have consequences. IRL. Social media influencers who have been secretly paid in crypto to pump & dump coins all this time might just be in it for a quick buck, but sooner or later, all chickens come home to roost. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.
Somehow no one in crypto has gone to jail — yet. But it will come. Because regulators are, quite rightly, finally awaking from their long slumber, and recognising that their job extends beyond managing technicalities — or making sure large rent-seeking incumbents continue to get their pound of flesh. It is understanding the fundamental truth: that capital markets in their original conception were a place for capital to flow towards businesses that produced the goods and services society most desired. Innovation that begot modern civilisation, ever since the invention of the joint-stock company.
Not about mortgaging your house to #HODL and hoping and praying that the latest coin with the best hype will allow us to #lambo so we’ll never have to work another day in our life.
It can seem like the world is coming apart at the seams. War. Faminine. People walking around in masks as we live through a real-time apocalypse movie. First we blame the hamsters. Then we can’t get enough chickens. And all the while, the icecaps keep melting.
We stand around at conferences nodding that yes, of course, ESG is essential. And then promptly rush headlong into the embracing bosom of dirty coal, when our own individual energy security is on the line.
It’s easy to lose hope in such an environment. To walk around with our shoulders slumped; our faces long. To shrug and sigh and say, well, what can we do? Maybe humanity as a species is destined to rip itself apart.
But I believe that now is not the time for timidity or pessimism. For division and isolation. For fear.
I believe that right now will always be the best possible time to begin building the future. Together. Brick by brick. Taking two steps forward, and sometimes one step back. Or maybe even three. But always ploughing forward, because we believe in our heart of hearts that a brighter tomorrow awaits.
Because while we may not be able to see even a glimmer of light in the depths of night, we keep the faith that soon, inevitably, a new dawn will arise. Hope will harden into belief, as experience is forged into wisdom. And together we will gaze towards the heavens, and with outstretched hands, seize what is to come.