Michael Terpin Talks Puerto Rico, Regulation, and the Future of Token Investing
Bitsonline chatted at length with long-time blockchain investor and advisor Michael Terpin at the conclusion of the CoinAgenda event in Las Vegas last month. In a frank discussion, the Transform Group CEO talked about the regulatory and taxation environment facing entrepreneurs in the blockchain/cryptocurrency space, the appeal of Puerto Rico as a home base, and what he predicts the coming years will bring for ICOs and tokens as investment vehicles.
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Regulatory Models, Blockchain vs the Dot-Com Era, and Uses for Tokens
Terpin was the first member of the Bitcoin community to officially shift his residence to Puerto Rico, in 2016. Hundreds have since followed in an attempt to turn the island territory into a cryptocurrency haven. Its friendly regulatory and tax environment (while remaining a U.S. territory) make it a tempting destination for blockchain developers and ICO operators, though Terpin admits the concept still has a way to go before the community flocks there en masse.
Given the innovative nature of blockchain tokens as investment capital raisers, and the SEC’s lack of clarity on how they’re regulated, Terpin’s advice is valuable to anyone looking to enter the space. In this interview he gives his views on the tech industry’s evolution and predictions for token investment — utility vs. security tokens and their respective value, the hazards and opportunities involved, and whether startups should even consider them.
It’s still early days, and we’re just seeing the beginning of the “STO” or “security token offering” concept. Can security tokens one day replace the equities market? Can utility tokens have longer-term value to investors and service users? What are the risks associated with each, and how should startups structure their business to benefit from them?
Terpin is one of the few people who has studied the issue in detail. Using his decades of experience in tech investing and giving hypotheticals on what tokens can actually do, he predicts the future of capitalism in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Terpin Named as a ‘Top Five Influencer’ in the ICO Space
Terpin was recently named as one of the “Top Five ICO Influencers” in a report by TGE Blockchain Marketing and Advisory, a Canadian blockchain marketing firm. Joining him in the list’s top tier were Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Silicon Valley investor Mark Andreesen, and Litecoin founder Charlie Lee.
“It’s been an honor to work with some of the blockchain industry’s brightest entrepreneurs as an advisor, and to provide guidance as they develop and launch groundbreaking technologies,” Terpin said. He promised a new wave of innovative startups “as our ideas around cryptocurrency and ICO/STO fundraising evolve”.
As well as being founder and CEO of Transform Group, Terpin leads Transform PR, a global public relations firm that has served more than 200 clients in the blockchain field; Transform Strategies, the company’s advisory division; and hosts CoinAgenda, an event series for cryptocurrency investors.
Terpin is also an advisor to several blockchain companies including Aion, Alpha Networks, Polymath, Purse.io, ShapeShift, VideoCoin and WAX. He co-founded BitAngels, the world’s first angel network for digital currency startups, and is a General Partner at Alphabit Fund, a digital currency fund with $400 million USD in assets under management.
Are blockchain tokens the future for investment and fundraising, and can they do a whole lot more? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Images and video via Bitsonline, Jon Southurst, Tyson O’Ham