Imagine getting phone calls from strangers, begging, and threatening you to invest money in your startup?
Cyrus Fazel (@Cyrus_Fazel) has experienced exactly that when he was raising money through an initial coin offering (ICO) at the end of 2017.
In this episode, we dive deep into the origin story of his startup SwissBorg. Cyrus shares his best-kept secrets as we relive the ups and downs before, during, and after the ICO. This episode is packed with useful information anecdotes and funny bits and pieces for everyone who is interested in crypto.
SwissBorg is alive and kicking and recently launched its Wealth App. Check it out at swissborg.com
#4 How to raise 53 million during the ICO Craze with Cyrus Fazel founder of Swiss Borg
Top / Hook and Problem
Cyrus Fazel: it's funny cause I had a dream a month before. I was saying to Anthony stopp the website, we're getting too much money.
every second we had phone calls and people crying for putting in money it was so awkward and people sending us emails.
I remember even have threats from a guy, I forgot this guy where is from, from Hong Kong.
It's like, you know the fuck I am. you said that we would be able to put five more million, 10 more million. We honestly, we would have got up, we easily could have gone to 100 million. Easily.
Hello and welcome to the Podcast
Jonas: hello and welcome to unforkable the podcast that brings you juicy stories straight from the blockchain. My name is Jonas and today on the show, how to raise 53 million during the ICO craze. The story of course is told by the guests you've just heard during the intro.
Cyrus Fazel: Hey guys, my name is Cyrus Fazel . I'm the proud founder and CEO Swiss Borg. Super pumped to be on this show.
Jonas: Together we dive deep into the origin story of his startup Swiss Borg. This episode is packed with useful information stories and funny bits and pieces for everyone who is interested in crypto. Cyrus shares his best kept secrets as we relive the ups and downs before, during and after the ICO.
Setting the Scene
but before we start, let's set the scene. First of all a quick reminder on the terminology .
Hey, Siri. What's an ICO ?
Siri: ICO is an action adventure game development. I sent you that studio.
Jonas: Hey Siri. What's an initial coin offering?
Siri: An initial coin offering or initial currency offering is a type of funding using cryptocurrencies. want to hear more ?
Siri: It is often a form of crowdfunding. However, a private IKOS, which does not seek public investment is also possible in an ICO, a quantity of cryptocurrency it's sold in the form of tokens to speculators or investors in exchange for legal tender, or other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Jonas: nowadays ICOs lost a lot of their initial appeal, but back in 2017 and 2018, There was a real ICO boom, going on. According to a study by PWC in those two years alone, roughly 1,700 token offerings raised over 26 billion USD combined. That's a lot of money. So what was driving this ICO madness? Two things. One speculation.
As you may remember, the crypto markets in 2017 went absolutely nuts. And basically every Shitcoin under the sun exploded in value and made some early hurdlers insanely rich overnight. This hype fueled to frenzy and people flooded into ICS in the hopes to get a piece of the pie.
Two Ethereum, Ethereum made it possible for entrepreneurs, startups, and yes, unfortunately as a, some scammer to launch their tokens on the Ethereum platform, a so-called ERC-20 tokens.
So there you have it. The combination of speculation and the technology made, 2017, 2018. The perfect time for token offerings. Now as we have set the scene, let's start to show.
Start of the Interview
Thank you so much to be on the show, Cyrus. I'm pumped to have you on.
Cyrus Fazel: Same likewise. Super excited.
Jonas: you actually grew up in New York and your parents migrated or had to flee Iran in 1979 . Can you give us some, some backstory.
Cyrus Fazel: Yeah, so essentially, originally, my parents are Iranian and Swiss. And I always call them that. I lived the life of the nouveau pauvre. Everyone talks about nouveau riche. It's what you make a lot of money. Uh, directly, I was the exactly opposite. They lost everything from, uh, since the iranian revolution. They were diplomats, well known diplomats, and, uh, and they migrated to the States because, uh, that was the thing to do back then. Uh, and I was born in New York. Uh. Lived there. Uh, then also in the early days of San Francisco, early nineties, and for a reason, my mom was always a very French, always loved French that, uh, you know, may the may 68 revolution at the Beaux Arts and was always like an artist that was always in love with France.
So, uh, we moved from, from the States to France, and, uh. That was a big move because, uh, what happened essentially is that, um, I was born in the future in some way, right, where you are in New York, Capital of Capital then, San Francisco, the early days of the tech world. And then I moved to France, which was like a, the middle, you know, middle age thing, you know, like 18th century, like type of, uh, going back into the past.
So it was very weird for me. And, um, learn the French culture. And then I was always wanted to, yeah. Go back into the future, essentially.
Napster to the Future
Jonas: as a young breakdancer in france he was tough for Cyrus to find the music he used to dance to back in new york. Lucky for him it was about that time when a new permissionless technology was born on the internet
Cyrus Fazel: back then there was no YouTube, no, I'm talking about late nineties, early two thousands. And, uh, there was no way to get access to, uh, the great music.
You know, I could call up my cousins in New York and say send me a mix tape, but that will take like two months. Right. Uh, so when we got introduced throuh my brother Alex, to Napster. We started the saying like, Oh, well if you know someone on the other side of the world, he could actually upload some of his music and you could download it
it was permissionless. It was very different. First you had to ask permission for each time you were, eh, be able to download the library somewhat. But then when he got permissionless system, similar to what's happening with private blockchains and, and public blockchains, is that, uh.
This would really enable you just to trust the ecosystem itself. And you would upload your content and you would download the content. You don't even know who you're downloading from, but your trust the source. And, um, that was when I was like, okay, this is groundbreaking. This turned my, you know, this really turned my, uh, my brain around, and I was like, okay, this is definitely the future.
Uh, and that was maybe the first time while I really tasted that beautiful. Uh, yeah. The sense of how a community powered by great technology could take over anything.
Napster vs Centralized counter Parts
Jonas: Uh, I want to come back on the Napster, uh, analogy quickly, uh, because, um, I think it's interesting cause you said it's the first touch with decentralization. Um, but now where we see years later, uh, who won was the centralized counterparts, uh, to Napster, like Spotify, uh, all the centralized guys won, do you see something like that happening again in crypto. If that's even possible?
Cyrus Fazel: Well, that's already the case. I mean, what does Defi do? Nothing today there was MAKER DAO has great projects and then there's a lot of different ones, but the big money is a, is done by binance.
So centralized technology is winning, uh, and has been winning.
And Spotify, you're very right. It's, it's, uh, you know, the guy just did a Napster and, and put some VC money in it and, and signed music deals, you know, not, not, not something amazing, right? YouTube already did this, like, what, 10 years before, but they didn't want to monetize it in the same way.
Some centralized technology in general has a better user experience because there's more money involved, and more importantly, it's not only driven by engineers. Spotify did not win because they had better tech and the tech behind Spotify, it fucking sucks.
but the other side is that usually these centralized tech guys, they have great product owners, great designers and great UX and all of the others One decentralized movements. I mean, new torrents is not as easy as going on Netflix and clicking on play. Right.
Introduction to Bitcoin
Jonas: clicking on play and downloading movies on those torrent sites Is actually also the way cyrus was introduced to bitcoin
Cyrus Fazel: the first time is through, um, when I was downloading movies, um, you know, on different websites, I was always looking, there was an address and I didn't really get what those address was for. And it was a friend of mine. He said, yeah, this is a Bitcoin. You don't have Bitcoins.
I'm like, no, no big coins. And I said, what does is the internet money? I'm like, Oh, would this be another internet money? These things never work. So didn't really look into it. Um, Um, then much later, uh, in 2015 or 2016, uh, I wanted to give a birthday present. tomy dad once and he's based in Iran. And my cousin told him that essentially his a alcohol dealer cause you can't buy alcohol in Iran.
Uh, his alcohol dealer, uh, was accepting Bitcoins, uh, for, for, for, whiskey. And, uh, so I said, okay, I'll buy some Bitcoin send it to this guy, and hopefully this guy will give a bottle of whiskey to my dad. Uh. Which never happened by the end, but, uh, he's still the guy, still received the bitcoin. I don't know. Uh, yeah, that's what, you know, that's what happens.
Introduction to Banking
Jonas: the first experience of sending Bitcoin over the internet. Did not exactly go as planned. Maybe this was the reason Cyrus started his career in a more traditional and very Swiss kind of industry banking.
Cyrus Fazel: , it was from this very wealthy family, but I was born in when there was no more wealth, uh, at least no more money. There was the wealth and the prestige, and they were education, intellectual part of it, but there was no fancy pants, the type of living, which is great.
It really taught me how to not enjoy money, but to enjoy life. My aunt always says the same joke, unfortunately. She died recently and she said, you remember when you were a kid? I said, what did you want to do? And I would answer with back, I'd say, well, I want to be a plumber and electrician.
And they'll be like, but why you want to be a plumber electrician? I'm like, well, I'm pretty good at it. And she's like, why are you good at it? Well, my mom couldn't, seem to afford a plumber and electrician, so I was like 12 years old and I was doing all the plumbing.
uh, so I was doing it all the time and then she was like, yeah, but you're really good in math and you like money. You like counting money and statistics and all of that. I'm like, yeah. She's like. All our cousins, all of them are quite arty and all of that don't you want to be the banker in the family?
I'm like, nah, not really. And then she insisted a lot, 20 of the 15 years later, um, I decided to get into banking, uh, because I thought it was going to be cool. I was going to make a lot of money. And by the age of 30, I'll be like a Philantropist or whatever, and starting wealth management here in Switzerland.
It's the best place in the world for wealth management. And, uh, I learned a lot, but it was still, it was not what I really wanted to do, it was not, I don't know.
I was, you know. You know I used to break dance. There's a lot of fun things. It's not really connected to, to myself. I thought it was, it was great, but I was always servicing the rich people. And again, I was like, well, you know, we could offer this to whoever we want. the 99% of the planet and not just that zero 1% I was servicing before. we really created Swiss Borg in order to, to bring Swiss wealth management to everyone by making it fair, by making it meaningful and then making it fun as well as, so that's something that we really tried to do at Swiss Borg Yeah.
How Cyrus met AnthonyJonas: Cyrus also has a partner in crime. His longtime friend, Anthony is CTO and co founder of Swiss Borg. They met during their student years at a party in a fancy club in the South of France. At that time, Cyrus could barely afford to cover the entrance fee, let alone the steep prices for drinks.
Here's how they met.
Cyrus Fazel: one night I went to this very famous, high end type of club. So when I would go there as a student, it was impossible to get in. Usually it was impossible I never got it, but that day I got in and so super happy. uh, but then inside it was like, way too much, like a, at least 25 Francs a glass as, as a students in France, impossible. It's impossible. And, uh, I see a big table of dudes. And, um, my friend is like, Oh, these are guys from my university. I'm like, what the fuck? How'd they get all that money? And my, best friend is from engineering school, like engineers, they don't have fucking money.
They just study hard. And, uh I didn't really like the guy. So those Anthony's co-founders is a really tall guy and I was like, who the fuck is that dude? And then he tends to be actually nice guy. He's even like offered a glass and all that share. I was like, Whoa, this guy's quite cool.
three months later, I meet him again. I'm like, so how, how can you spend so much money, what's your game? And he happens to be a very famous poker player. So he had made already, like, you know, 300,000 or $200,000 only playing poker. Uh then he was automating his different strategies and essentially playing poker. So he was not into finance, but he was already into this algorithm trading. And then we met. Many, many times. And, spent so much time together and, and eventually, um, convinced him to come and do this at Swiss Borg. And, uh, he's very happy today that we made this together. Yeah
Start of Swiss Borg
Jonas: how did a idea form your, do you remember like when you came up with the idea of of Swiss Borg and what it represented at the time? Cause I assume also it has changed since then a little bit.
Cyrus Fazel: Yeah. So the first version of Swiss Borg was actually a B to B to C model. So it was how with algorithms, uh, we could create a customized investment, mandates
Jonas: Basically the first iteration of Swiss Borg and nothing to do with crypto, it was a portfolio management software that they wanted to sell to institutional investors, such as banks, pension funds, et cetera. It was Anthony who pushed to do something with blockchain instead. And the timing was right.
Cyrus Fazel: when Anthony came, he was insisting on blockchain, and that was early, like January, 2017. Then I, we, we, got to understand the ICO craze.
I was like, okay, this thing is crazy. you know, in early March we said, let's go for an ICO because this now it's better.
We will actually be able to do what we dreamt about in 2015 to do. We can now do it thanks to blockchain because we don't need to work with all these different institutions and beef anymore. We could actually do it by ourselves and, uh, and, and offer it to the, to the majority in the world. And that is really when Anthony's like said, okay fuck it. Now I'll, I'll work. 100% will be devoted . And we just started living together and working day and night out of the apartment for a long time.
Jonas: I actually want to really do dive into that ICO story because it's so crazy because 2000 as we said already, like just setting the stage in March, you decide to do something with crypto. Then fast forward a couple of months, I don't know exactly the dates, but you have your raised 53 million swiss francs in crypto. So what happened in between? How do you get your word out? How do you, uh, convince people to invest in, and what do they get in return? What was the token? Uh, that's many questions in one. But, um, let's try to, to take this story a little bit apart cause I think a lot of people want to know that there's a learning there.
Cyrus Fazel: Yeah, there's definitely a fun learning. Um, so March we want to do an ICO. Okay. Uh, first thing we revamped the website, started recruiting few people.
Jonas: Where did you find these people? Sorry for interrupting. Where did you find, where do you find talents like that?
Cyrus Fazel: So I lorganize these hackathons, you know, like FinTech weekends. And, um, and especially, it's great because in these FinTech weekends you really see who's talented or not, you know, and in two days or two days and a half, you see the people are good at pitching and people are good at marketing people are good at dev.
You know, the front end guys, you, you really see in a very short time period that you could, you know, that there is, there's some talents you may have worked with them. And on top of it is like these guys are not probably not as happy in their jobs or they maybe don't even have jobs. So, um, we recruit like few people like that.
We didn't have cash. Okay. So we didn't even have a Swiss company, so we had like an English company. Uh, but if not that we haven't got Slitch nothing. We had a flat, a nice apartment in Lausanne we had two bedrooms and we had a dining room, which was office and the living room, which was the office.
Pre-IcoJonas: Anthony and Cyrus needed to raise some money quickly. They started meeting up with people from the crypto space to pitch their idea and selling tokens in a so-called pre ICO to early believers of the project.
Cyrus Fazel: we got to have lot of few meetings already in May. And if I'm not mistaken in June, we received like thousand Ether already. That was crazy. It was at $170. $150. But that's already, uh, you know, that's already a lot of money.
Jonas: Yeah. Wow. Yeah.
Cyrus Fazel: Yeah. So that was the way we're like, okay, fuck man, this is great. Uh, you know, with, uh, that money, now you could actually set up a company first.
Pre ICO MadnessJonas: while cyrus and his team were preparing for their ico the crypto boom was in full effect and it became clear that that gold rush mentality didn't necessarily attract only the best kind of people
Cyrus Fazel: we saw so many weird projects during those problems. like the Jesus coin thing or Bitconnect and, and I met people from Bitconnect as well, and they initially said it was a Ponzi scheme. I never invested in two Bitconnect, but I know people's like, yeah, it's a Ponzi scheme. It's great. I'm like, yeah, that's weird, man. That's like, you know, that's... I don't even know if you invested in a Ponzi scheme. If you, if you're not, you know, if you're not a accomplice and you cannot even go to the prison if you're in a Ponzi scheme, I don't know. But anyways,
it was a phase that everyone was in for the money. and people only didn't give a shit about the tech, to be honest.
it was just weird. And at the same time, you know, you had Ether that you bought in the beginning of the year at 10, $12. Six months later, it was 300, you know, 12 months later it was 1300.
So it was really a weird, uh. We didn't have any bank accounts for the, the company. No, no one wanted to open a bank account for us. So we had those magical credit cards back then, like Xapo credit card and few others, which we've just put like Bitcoin in it, and we would spend everything through that.
Goal of Swiss Borg Company
Jonas: you may be wondering what was the goal of that company? Swiss Borg. What were they actually trying to achieve here is how Cyrus described their vision in one of the very first promotional videos.
Importance of Video
Videos like these would become a very important tool to build trust and drum up interest for their ICO. While other founders in the crypto space tended to be more secretive, Cyrus and his team are always putting their faces and personality out there
Cyrus Fazel: So we're the, one of the first videos, which was not like, hi, this is blockchain. Blockchain technology with my ICO coin, we'll do this and that. Now, that was like always animation and flat design, shitty things, you know, that we saw on and on, we were on the opposite. We would say there is virtual, but then there's real people behind it and people invest usually in people, you know, that's what we do best.
You know, you buy Tesla because there's Elon Musk behind.
They're very often, there's a, technology is very important, the product, but you invest in people. So we really put our faces to it. That was something that, that worked really well.
Jonas: Yeah. No, it's interesting. But um, if you would have to like say one, one, one thing, that brought you the most attention or the most, uh, people who contributed to the ICO. Cause at the end of the day, there's 23,000 individuals that need to be convinced. How do you reach them and how do you, what, what makes them then at the end invest in your coin, basically?
Cyrus Fazel: You know, it's always hard to understand magic. Um what we always do as at Swiss Borg is that you always, you know, think global, act local, and we put a real face behind it. That's, that's the two things is that we have videos in Japanese because we are Japanese people. We had in Korean, because we had Korean people, we had it in French, we had it in English. We even had, you know, our second video, we had one of our dudes speakings in Swiss German. So I think so what, when you, you. You know, you feel attached to your project, you should attached the people behind it. I think so. We were very good at, you know, expressing the Swiss touch, expressing the international touch as well and the local touch.
Setting a goal
Jonas: The vision of Swiss Borg to build a Swiss cyborg advisor was ambitious democratising wealth management and bringing it to the masses is not a small task and would require a lot of costly engineers, designers, marketers, and enough runway to actually have a chance to survive. Anthony and Cyrus knew, in order to have a chance of getting their project off the ground, they would need to raise a lot of money
Cyrus Fazel: Everyone was laughing, you know, everyone was laughing. I remember everyone was like, yeah, yeah, 50 million. If you do like 10 we'll see. It's already good. Like, no, no, we're going to do 50 million and we're going to manage to do it.
you know, most companies are not profitable in the first five years. And our plan is that we thought that we would have a burn rate of essentially, you know, from 7 million to 12 million per year. And we needed five years runway, essentially, because that's the only way to take over a market.
Reliving the ICO
Jonas: So the goal was clear, raising 50 million. The marketing strategy was working as well. Plus they had the boost of the ICO craze going on. Now they only needed to launch the campaigns and wait. Well actually it was not that easy
Cyrus Fazel: So I first lost 10 kilos for the ICO. And you could look at me right now, people who we cannot look at me, but at least I was never anway in my life, just slightly fat. So I, I wait, I lost a lot. and it's just because working a lot. I think so. And maybe some stress to some extent.
Our starting our ICO was really, really bad timing. It was, you know, December 5th or seventh, 2017 and Bitcoin was like every hour, you know, going from like 5,000, 6,000, 7,000, 8,000, 9,000. It was just super awkward, you know, I remember like, you know, at meetups and we would pay beers for everyone. I was like, can we pay the end?
She's like, why can you, can you pay like now? I'm like, no, I'd rather wait the two hours. And you know, the bill would be like $2,000 less. Whatever right "Inaudible" and it was the case. It was really, it was crazy. So people were not investing, however, as we had a lot of commitments and we had a big rounds, from the pre ICO.
so the first day we came out, after 24 hours, we have 12 million. So like, wow, this is amazing. We're, you know, it's great.
Or 10 million. I don't remember exactly, but we had like, it was big or seven, 8 million, maybe two days, 12 millions. But then right after the two, three days, we didn't have anything. So it was horrible. So we essentially had like great start, and then it was really the desert, you know, the cowboy desert, nothing happening.
And we're like, what the fuck is happening? This can't, this is weird. And December 20th so 10 days later Slich nothing like 30,000 or 50,000 a day or you know. Nothing. And then, it's December 25th, I'm alone in the office, uh nothing. And I'm like, okay, well, we're, you know, it's going to be a hard one and you're not, not depressed, but extremely disappointed.
And, we refocused and changed the entire website and how the process was done. And we start really doing active campaigns more targeted, this time we, you know, we brought in a friend that really helped us a lot and December 31st we did like a another like, I don't know, 10% or 5% discount.
500,000 comes in, so I'm like, shit, man.
We're like super happy. I'm like, wow, this is great. January 1st 700,000 I'm like, Whoa. So the bar is going a little bit up now. we are 13 million January 3rd like 3 million in, and so we're not sleeping anymore. I remember being in Anthony's room and three o'clock in the morning and he's like. And you know, we, we built this ICO platform in five weeks, obviously it sucked.
And people don't realize that it's sucked, I mean, the servers were not powerful enough. We did, it won't say the name or the name of the company, but we didn't do it, uh, with the best servers in the world. So sometimes too many people's coming on it was crashing, but it's still very securely. It was really well done.
And we did it with bitgold. The system knows it was extremely well done, so that, that was great. But the infrastructure behind it was not like the best.
Jonas: A quick note from the cutting room in the next sentences, Cyrus confused the months a couple of times. When he says December, he actually meant to say January. Just keep that in mind for the next 30 seconds or so.
Cyrus Fazel: So we were, we weren't able to sleep too much and December 4th in one, like from 3 million to 6 million and then went from six millions to 12 million on December 5th then December 6th for like, almost like, you know, whatever.
And, and, and then, you know, it was, you know, it's funny cause I had a dream a month before. I was saying to Anthony stopp the website, we're getting too much money. And December 27th no, sorry, January 7th we're at 53 million and ICO was 50 million. Uh, but we knew that, uh, people would fail the KYC, so we would have to reimburse some people and all that.
So we said, it's fine if you give more than, than, than, than a little more of like Delta. Of, you know, 8% would be fine. So we went 53 and on December 7th every second we had phone calls and people crying for putting in money it was so awkward and people sending us emails. I felt really sad. I got a, I got in a verbal fight with a guy and he's like, dude seriously?
You have to put in the 5 million. I told you we would invest 5 million. And I'm like, dude, the fuck man, you had a fucking one month and now you're coming on, you know? And you're like, yeah, but it's really not until January 10th I'm like, yeah, but no. We reached our hard cap eight percent Delta, it's done.
And then we had even legal guys that in Switzerland at any place in the world, they were like, no, you said that we would be able to put five more million, 10 more million. We honestly, we would have got up, we easily could have gone to 100 million. Easily. I mean, easily. Uh, and it was super awkward. I remember even have threats from a guy, I forgot this guy where is from, from Hong Kong.
It's like, you know the fuck I am. I got, no, no. You know, I mean, he like, no, we're one of the biggest guys and this and that. If you don't accept our money, you will never be listed on any exchange. You know, I'm big here. And I'm like, well dude, I mean. What do you want me to do? I'm like, they're like, sell your tokens.
I'm like, no, they're pledged for four years. I can't do that.
And, uh, yeah, it was super awkward the way that I think says they'll only life, only time in my life where I can refuse money again.
When the bubble burst
Jonas: right after the ico ended in january 2018 to crypto bubble burst prices started to fall rapidly and as Swiss Borg's ICO funds were all tied up in different cryptocurrencies the 53 million worth of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other crypto started to lose value quickly
Cyrus Fazel: the sad story that goes with it is that December 7th, we're at 840 billion market capital market cap in crypto. two weeks later, we're at, you know, 500.
So that 53 million today represent only $16 million. Um, that's the sad story of what happened. And we were very, very smart at hedging our portfolios at shorting Bitcoin, but we weren't able to do much on Ether. We weren't being able to do much on Bitcoin Cash on Ripple, cause we accepted LTC. We accept a lot of cryptos.
We should have probably put all of that in USDT. But, um, yeah, it's always hard to time the market. You never know what things could have gone the other way around as well . It was super awkward and, uh, yeah, within, you know. A year, just a year before I was by myself. Uh, and, and 12 months later, we had a team of, you know, 15 people and 53 million in the account in our crypto, which was great. It's the best feeling that one can, have as I was even crying, I remember, um, it was amazing.
Outcome for investors
Jonas: But what was the outcome of all the believers and investors of Swiss Borg in return for their contribution to the ICO? They have received a Swiss Borg token called CHSB. Just like all of the cryptos the token has since lost a lot of value from its all time high
Cyrus Fazel: unfortunately. Uh, it lost a very big amounts to 90. We lost until 95%, I think. So, totally to the dollar. Uh, and today we're down like 70% towards the dollar, but we overperforme dEther, which was our biggest portion orverperformed Ripple by far away. Uh, we have overperformed LTC and Bitcoin Cash.
So essentially 70% of people who have invested in our ICO. Uh, actually made a great, a great amount of return. Even if people don't have that perspective, they're like, no, I, I bought it. You know, I put in a thousand, $300 in your ICO and today only have, uh, you know, whatever, $400. I'm like, no, you put an Ether in it.
So, and today you have 1.7 Ether probably. Uh, so you did a great investment. But people don't see it like that. Obviously. It goes, you know, they, they see it at the dollar nominal because that's their, their own portfolio. But, but that, that obviously, it's always the hard things about these ICOs is that, you know, you get drained down by all the suckers and, um, you know, we're doing our best, uh
The Wealth App
Jonas: During the ICO boom thousands of projects have been raising billions of dollars unfortunately the majority of those ventures failed and never delivered a product in the first place
Cyrus Fazel: so out of 2017 and 2018 there's been 10,000 ICO's projects. So that doesn't mean me they all did ICOs . That means that they at least wanted to add a white paper or a website and potentially a wallet. Um, and only 300 actually, uh, listed their tokens out of that. And only 60 actually have projects, uh, today.
So, um, yeah, every now and then there's another thing where people have to understand is that 82%, of ICOs haven't raised more than a hundred thousand dollars. hundred thousand dollars is pretty much, you know, few months of burn rate. So that doesn't bring you anywhere So it was an ICO craze, and it was crazy. But it was still very difficult to raise money. Everyone was like, yeah, you would have done an ICO in 2017 and boom, that's not true.
Snowball effect and Asian investing
Jonas: that's being said. I think it's fair to say that the circumstances were very special doing the ICO boom. For the first time, basically anybody with an internet connection could invest slash speculate in a brand new asset class with a click of a button. Without oversight or restrictions. This attracted a lot of inexperienced retail investors from all over the globe.
And Asia in particular had all the right ingredients of becoming a major player in the crypto investing space. There were millions of tech enthusiasts who were more than eager to take their chances on the latest ICO.
Cyrus Fazel: when you have that exponential snowball effects, uh, it gets massive, especially in Asia .
We didn't have Chinese people. We had mainly Japanese and Koreans, but when you have that snowball effect in Asia, people just dive in it. Um, then it happens to be, it's not the best investors that we did not see.
there's a cycle of, of Asian, of. Asian investing, which is buy ICO, sell it buy another ICO, sell it and repeat, which , you know, usually it doesn't work like that, you know, besides if your are in a bubble. If we would have done our ICO in June, 2017 yeah our token would have done like three X, four X whatever.
Jonas: While many Projects didn't make it through the crypto winter, Swiss Borg is alive and kicking earlier this year, Cyrus and his team launched the Wealth App where you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly on your phone. Go and check it out on their website but that's only the first step for the Swiss Borg team and their vision for the future
Outlook for Swissborg
Cyrus Fazel: we wants to create a digital ID that goes with, uh, essentially our accounts going forward.
And that's what we're really building. The Swiss Borg nation. We want to grow from this tribe to this nation as that's one of the features that we'll be offering very soon. Actually.
Jonas: thank you very much, Cyrus to coming on for all the insights you provided was very helpful. Very interesting. I'm rooting for you guys. Uh, every project is something exciting that is, uh, not only raising a lot of money, but also keeps then delivering.
Cyrus Fazel: So again, thank you so much you, Jonas uh, love the podcast Unforkable and really happy that I'm one of the early guys participating here, and I'm sure this is going to grow and, uh, and educate, uh, and have fun at the same time because those two competence will enable us to get to mass adoption.
So thank you for your hard work and, uh, and looking forward to listen to the next one.
Jonas: and if you're also looking forward to listen to the next one, please go to unforkable.cc and put your email address in this little box.
I'm always very happy to see people signing up for the newsletter, which by the way, I'm not even sending out yet. I'm just collecting the addresses, but it gives me a feeling that people are listening to people are there and I'm always happy to see if one is coming in. So please go to unforakble.cc and sign up for the newsletter thank you so much and until next time.