Bobby Lee, ex-CEO and co-founder of BTCC (former BTC.China), the first cryptoexchange in China, exclusively shared with Bitnovosti his vision of the key differences between Western and Asian cryptocommunities, the forecasts for the next bitcoin bull run and crypto business comeback to China, in the course of the Coinsbank’s Blockchain Cruise 2018.
BN: Hi, Bobby, what is your general impression on the Blockchain Cruise conference?
Bobby Lee: The general impression is very good, I enjoyed it. This is my first time on a cruise conference. I think it’s organised very well. Great to see all the familiar faces, and, you know, great people in the industry, a lot of products, a lot of regular people.
BN: You visit many conferences around the world: which of them can you describe as must-visit crypto events of the year ?
Bobby Lee: I think, this is one of them. I think it’s great to see all the fans of Bitcoin cryptocurrency on this cruise. This is the largest event organized by this team, I think, the third one. This year I traveled a lot of countries in Europe, especially in Europe, and it’s great, because I usually spend more time in Asia, in China. So it’s good to see that crypto is alive, and, well, not just in China, America but also here, in many European countries. It`s a global phenomenon – that’s the most important part.
BN: In your opinion, what are the key differences between the Chinese and European crypto communities?
Bobby Lee: I think, the key difference is the scale of speculation – people in China are much more focused on speculative trading. I don’t know exactly what should be present in the crypto community. I think it should provide opportunities for transactions, payments – for different people in different countries with different issues. In some countries with bad economies and failing currencies, people use crypto in everyday life, like we do with fiat, in order to break through the national economy limits, and it’s good for all of us. You know, soon we’ll see people demanding crypto for salary – that’s gonna be exciting as well.
BN: After all the recent crypto restrictions, introduced by the Chinese government, could you summarize, please, what’s happening now in the local crypto community? What’s going on beyond the ‘total ban’ curtain?
Bobby Lee: Yeah, in China the government has officially banned all the exchanges. This summer all crypto deals went underground. People are still buying tokens of ICOs, so it’s hard to stamp it out completely but generally, government is not happy about people buying cryptocurrencies at all.
BN: What’s today’s general trend for Chinese crypto business: move abroad or stay in the shadow and wait for better regulation?
Bobby Lee: The companies are all moving abroad because you cannot run or trade with a cryptoexchange in China these days. But the users are staying in China, people are still transacting internationally, because you can’t block electronic communication, and that’s the most exciting fact about it.
BN: As far as I know, not so long ago you have sold your share in BTCC.com, so, what’s your plan for now, what will be your next step?
Bobby Lee: I don’t have any new projects or new plans. I’m spending a lot of time, for instance, giving speeches. I am also pursuing my passion, which is playing poker, so I don’t have any business plans for the nearest time.
BN: I’ve heard that you were planning to write a book on Bitcoin…
Bobby Lee: I’m thinking of that but I haven’t started yet.
BN: Are you going to stay in China despite all the limits on crypto trading?
Bobby Lee: For the next year – yes.
BN: Have you refreshed your crypto portfolio recently? Are there any important updates? Do you still bet long-term on Bitcoin?
Bobby Lee: Yeah. I have Bitcoin, I own some Litecoins and Ethereum, and I also have Bitcoin Cash. That’s it for now, I don’t think I’ve changed anything significantly.
BN: In your view, which transformations the cryptomarket will experience in the nearest future?
Bobby Lee: I’m excited about the upcoming block halvening, an important benchmark that we’ll reach in 2020, so that’s about two years away. I think that Bitcoin ETF will be approved, it’s just a matter of time. Even if it gets delayed again, this only means it’ll take some more time before people in SEC give their approval. The United States is a free country, and there’s nothing inherently illegal about a Bitcoin ETF, so we’ll take some more hoops to jump over.
BN: Do you share the opinion, that Bitcoin ETF can significantly transform the market and bring along massive trading manipulations?
Bobby Lee: I think it’ll open doors to speculative traders, bitcoin’s price may go on another rally followed by ETF approval, but there will be a correction after all. In general, I think it’ll have neutral effect on the market. I would not expect a big price boost from the Bitcoin ETF. There is a chance that will become a catalyst for a next rally but not before 2020. The next bull market will start after 2020, that’s my feeling.
BN: What is your opinion on Chinese governmental initiative to issue a national cryptocurrency?
Bobby Lee: Any national cryptocurrency is not a cryptocurrency. It’s just a digital version of the fiat currency, so, to me it’s nothing, it’s not the same as real crypto like Bitcoin. I don’t foresee anything special about it.
BN: Is there any chance that crypto exchanges and crypto trading will return to the country and gain legal framework for legal operation any time soon?
Bobby Lee: I think, eventually China will allow the crypto exchanges to operate, absolutely. Each country needs the exchange options to let people go on and off Bitcoin rails. Right now China is taking crypto off the market to get a better perspective of the market, like it was with the one-child policy. They had it for 20-30 years, and then eventually they relaxed, and I think the same will happen to crypto, hopefully it will take 20-30 years or maybe just few years, we’ll see.