Dunstan’s story is characterized by a transition from card collection to the blockchain. Dunstan was one of those people that started entrepreneurship from a very young age, secondary school to be more specific, doing no less than selling collectible cards from different games. As the natural progression of every entrepreneur should go, with the rising popularity of the internet, Dunstan didn’t miss the opportunity and started trading collectible items online.
With his early engagement in online games, Dunstan started gaming on a professional level.
Even though I am not an expert in online gaming, even I know that collectible items in certain games can be traded for quite a substantial amount of money. Thus, in order for Dunstan to continue his “business”, as he likes to call it, the need for virtual currency arose. He started looking into cryptocurrencies. To keep purchasing collectible items, he had to find a way to generate virtual currency and began mining Bitcoin.
Considering the fact that this was 8-9 years ago, we can confidently call Dunstan a Bitcoin pioneer.
“Those earlier days you could mine 50 bitcoins per block, so those were interesting days and we needed bitcoins to acquire virtual items, for example, items from Runescape and World of Warcraft”.
This early exposure to Bitcoin really changed Dunstans’ perspective on business and started training crypto influencers about 7 years ago, which he describes as his first professional experience within the crypto space.
“Seven years ago I started training crypto influencers, training people in evangelizing of especially Bitcoin, evangelizing the thought of decentralization. How it helps, how it brings power to the masses, [and] financial sovereignty back to the masses”
Dunstan also mentioned that he considers himself a Bitcoin maximalist, which is of no surprise to me.
The next stage in his blockchain journey was ICO consultancy, which Dunstan set-up around four years ago, providing guidance for projects. Due to his secretive nature, as he characterizes himself, Dunstan prefers to not reveal the particular names of the projects and I didn’t insist either. Who knows, maybe he is raising unicorns under his wing? My favorite thing about this whole blockchain world is that it’s full of surprises.
As much as I enjoyed listening to Dunstan's background, I wanted to hear more about the anatomy of a blockchain project, the token economics. You can find one or two videos, where Dunstan speaks very passionately about the importance of the token economics and with his early exposure to business, it was quite natural that token economics is an actual subject for him. However, when I asked Dunstan, whether he thought token economics was an essential part of a blockchain project, his response was quite interesting.
“Yes and no, of course, because it’s business itself. So there are two situations right now. We have tech companies that don’t know how to run businesses, and we have business people in crypto that do not know what a good tech is. We need both of these people in the company as part of the team.”
A fair point isn’t it? How many times have you met business developers that barely have any knowledge about the technology they were selling/promoting or developers that had no idea how to run a business. Check out any blockchain conferences and you will find a bunch of them. According to Dunstan, it doesn’t matter how many people talk positively about the project or how great the technology is, without proper business development and marketing in place, the project will most likely be tanked.
Speaking about projects, we also went over the subject of an ICO vs STO, which is quite a popular subject these days. Almost every conference I attended lately, had this particular subject on their panels, followed by long, enthusiastic discussions. Nonetheless, Dunstan doesn’t really agree with the notion that STO’s are the future of fundraising, but a hybrid model of an STO and ICO could be the real innovation, but more about that later, because I want to share with you his thoughts on STO’s and their similarities with the traditional fundraising model. Dunstan challenges the idea, that STO’s are the new thing in fundraising and bring better liquidity to the investors and projects.
“We go back to the same old market, where only accredited investors could come and invest, how does that bring greater liquidity or funding to the project itself? That’s number one. Number two, there are so many jurisdictional barriers exist within an IPO and if you think about it, what more an STO is?”
Dunstan also mentioned the cost of initiating an STO, which is substantially high. He doesn’t consider that as an effective fundraising model. He thinks that, if you want to do an STO you might as well raise funds through private equity, that would make more sense. Now let’s go back to the hybrid model and what’s Dunstan's vision of it.
“Just imagine a situation, where you invest in the equity of the company, the smart contract will produce the new tokens based on the new value of the company itself.”
The possibility of it is an entirely different conversation, however, the existence of such a hybrid model of fundraising could be quite interesting.
At the end of our conversation, Dunstan spoke about the current state of blockchain and it’s future, and he has quite a constructive approach to it. He separates blockchain in two layers: first is that the value now can be encoded on the internet, meaning anything of value can be digitized, including collectibles and non-fungible items, creating a place for commodities and securities as well.
As for the second layer, Dunstan thinks that blockchain will become a technology that will be implemented in most of the businesses because it can help them reduce issues concerning governance and increase trust in the user base. He sees blockchain as a means to restore faith in users, to make them believe again, especially now when a lot of big companies are misusing the user data.
I’m afraid this is all I could fit in one article from a very interesting conversation with Dunstan Teo. he is a great guy with interesting ideas, so if you would like to listen to his ideas, Dunstan will be speaking at CoinAdvice conference 2019 in Thailand. Dunstan is based in Singapore, but he travels around a lot and refers to himself as a “Global Citizen”