Meet the Team | Mic Phillipou | Co-Founder
As the BLOCKLOAN story unfolds, we want to introduce you to the masterminds behind BLOCKLOAN and the rest of the team that is revolutionising global lending on blockchain.
Meet Michael Phillipou, co-founder and co-CEO of BLOCKLOAN, Lodex and CryptoCoin Intelligence, Mic has a colourful background in retail banking and wealth management from Westpac, BT, MLC aligned businesses to Bendigo Bank. With his passion to create better customer experiences with tech, Mic has been busy over the last 3 years building an empire.
Today we talk to him about why her created BLOCKLOAN, the future of crypto and so much more.
“Blockchain technology promises to deliver many benefits and if you are in the category of financial services, you owe it to your company to investigate the efficiency gains it can deliver.”
1. Why BLOCKLOAN?
Banking is challenging for people at the best of times. It’s something that usually requires a lot of time and effort when trying to get access to credit. You have to fill out lots of forms and provide a lot of details. You then need to wait for your application to be reviewed before receiving an answer as to whether you have been accepted or rejected. This manual process is no longer acceptable.
BLOCKLOAN aims to address these issues. Utilising blockchain technology, BLOCKLOAN will be a global peer-to-peer lending marketplace where consumers can access credit in crypto in real-time in a simple, cost effective and transparent way.
In addition, the nascent but exciting ‘asset’ class of cryptocurrency is becoming more and more mainstream. We are seeing larger institutional players take positions into the market and more and more retail investors would like to have exposure in exciting blockchain businesses but don’t have an easy or safe way to do this.
BLOCKLOAN will address this gap by enabling retail investors to use their equity portfolio as collateral to invest in crypto in a safe and secure way.
2. What is your current take on the state of the Crypto/Blockchain market?
We saw a boom year in 2017 for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) where over $3billion were raised. The prices of Bitcoin and the main cryptocurrencies soared and many retail investors came into the market. Now that many of these blockchain businesses who completed their ICO in 2017 now need to be delivering results based on their roadmap of milestones, we are seeing that many of these businesses are failing to gain traction.
In addition, there has been negative press around scams and hacks, as well as regulatory uncertainty, so these components have no doubt had an impact on the prices of cryptocurrencies, which have more than halved from the high point in January 2018. Clearer guidelines on regulation are a good thing for both investors (buyers of tokens) and blockchain businesses to understand what the rules around operation.
I think we will see more and more institutional money come into the space, which will provide much greater stability in the prices of cryptocurrencies. My prediction is that the market will get stronger (although please don’t construe this as advice! It’s just my personal opinion).
3. How are you building on the learnings and foundations of Lodex?
After 10 months of building the Lodex platform, we have certainly taken in learnings. We are a business to consumer model and competing to win customers in a crowded financial services sector. We have quickly learnt that content is king so we have built media platforms to communicate with our target audiences for both retail banking customers as well as blockchain and crypto investors. These platforms provide strong educational and entertaining content for our readers to keep them engaged and build our following base further. Our CryptoCoin Intelligence platform is perfect for our foray into the launch of BLOCKLOAN.
Also, as BLOCKLOAN is the next evolution of Lodex, all the learnings we have had from a legal, marketing, sales, business development, HR and digital perspective, we will take in with us to BLOCKLOAN.
4. What is the big opportunity at the moment?
Broadly speaking, the biggest opportunity is to create decentralised marketplaces where the middleman is cut out of the transaction, which reduces costs, increases efficiency and saves time.
From a BLOCKLOAN perspective, using blockchain technology to cut out the middleman is the greatest opportunity, combined with facilitating borderless transactions for accessing credit. Essentially, the technology can cut out the middleman; enabling transactions to take place in real time, safely, securely and potentially on much better terms than before.
5. When building your team and advisors, what has been your strategy?
We follow guiding principles as a company when we select team and advisory board members in order to select ‘best in class’ personnel.
After benchmarking the best available talent across a range of criteria including track record of delivery success in their relevant field of expertise, the first critical criteria to meet is that they need to believe in our vision and mission of the company. We then assess key qualitative criteria like whether they have a ‘can-do’ attitude, are team players, like being part of fast-paced disruptive businesses and are resilient.
Finally, we always select people who are smarter than we are and from an Advisory perspective, we have selected resident experts with long reach in the areas of FinTech, Blockchain, AI, Banking, Media, Marketing, Security, Technology and Data to ensure that we have a well-rounded view of the market. We are very confident in the strength of our team all round and believe we are well placed to execute on our vision.
6. Any companies that you are following closely?
Absolutely. We benchmark all of the players in the financial services category (and there are some very strong ones indeed, but I won’t name them here!) and analyse the market leaders for different components (e.g. KYC, credit scoring, use of non-traditional data etc.) of their offering. We then take the best of what is out there and do it slightly better. In addition, we consider other sectors who are using blockchain and look for opportunities for further innovation and possible partnerships, so that we can leverage their strengths, and scale quickly. I cannot understate the importance of building strong partnerships with global players.
7. Any tips you want to share with people looking to invest in an ICO?
It is a very young space and unregulated in most countries. Accordingly, there are risks associated with investing in digital tokens/coins, so research and read up on any tokens/coins that you are interested in, and answer some key questions about the ICO such as the following:
1. What problem does the business solve?
2. Does it need to issue a token in order to solve the problem?
3. What track record of success does the team have in delivering business solutions? Are they diversified in their experience?
4. How well is the Whitepaper written?
5. Have they included a competitor analysis in their whitepaper and why are they better than the current players?
6. Are they realistic in terms of what they propose they can achieve in their timeline?
7. How do they intend to spend the ‘revenue’ from the token sale? Does it look like it is well balanced spending or too heavy towards a certain area?
8. How does the token model work? Is there a finite supply and not the ability for the company to emit more tokens? Watch for these points, as more emissions will dilute the value.
9. Do they have a working product or an MVP? Or is it just a whitepaper with what the company plans to do? The latter makes it more risky.
There are review forums which act as good sources of information and start off by paper trading (that is, without actually using your own money), and then when you are comfortable with the process, use a very small amount of money that you can afford to lose.
Cryptocurrencies have historically been very volatile, meaning that their prices can move up or down significantly day by day, so as an investor or buyer, please be aware of this.
Want to read more about BLOCKLOAN, check out the whitepaper here.