Success, setback and serendipity all came into play as Ronny embarks on a journey that will culminate in a powerful billion dollar idea. The life story of Ducatus CEO Ronny Tome continues. Here’s the second part of our exclusive interview. #MondaysWithRonny
PREVIOUSLY ON THE LIFE STORY OF RONNY TOME
I’m originally from Germany, I was born in 1971 in the small village
I decided to travel for a while and came to Bali, Indonesia at the age of 24 in 1995.
…I became the sole importer and distributor of Erdinger Weissbier, which I did for about ten years.
HIS STORY CONTINUES…
In 2005, I met my partner Mario Hintermayer, who is the founder of a company in Austria called VitaLife.
VitaLife produces special alternative wellness products based on pulsating electromagnetic resonance called VitaLife
and I bought one of these machines because I had a lot of back pain at that time during my,
or caused by my sport history, and I found that the product helped me a lot
so I wanted to distribute these products as well in the Indonesian market
and especially amongst my friends because there were a lot of people I knew with back pain.
So I went to Germany, went to two seminars that I attended
and I met Mario who I then invited to come to Bali
and join me for holding seminars and starting the business out of my office in Bali.
He came in September 2005, we developed a friendship,
and we decided that we wanted to build a resort in Bali for alternative healing
and bought 18 hectares of land in the center of Bali in Tabanan.
So that was my start into the real estate business.
We developed the concept, we developed the manual for all these treatments which was a very very special kind of idea.
But unfortunately in 2008 and 2009, we were hit by another financial crisis that started in the US
with all the banks and the Lehman Brothers and
the investors that we had secured at that time unfortunately decided
that they will not be able to continuously support us.
So instead of just putting the plan aside,
we decided if we can’t go for the big project, we will start with smaller projects,
and we designed a project in Seminyak, the main tourist area of Bali,
which was called at that time Del Mango and we wanted to create some very very special villas
that we were then to sell to individual investors, and to manage.
The whole project started in 2011 and by 2013, the first villas were finished.
But the property cycle in Bali at that time had taken a negative turn
and it was very difficult to find buyers for villas or properties in Indonesia.
We had sold four villas by then already, but we had a total of 12,
and I was looking for alternative markets and alternative buyers,
something different from all the other offers that the other agents in Bali were offering.
A friend of ours then told us about Bitcoin
which at that time reached its first peak in December 2013 with the price of just over $1,000.
And because the early people in Bitcoin
got involved at the very low price of just a couple of cents or a couple of dollars,
that now left a group of people, the lucky ones who got involved early with some spendable money,
but the market for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency at that time was very young and
there weren’t many places where people were accepting Bitcoin as a payment.
So I decided that it would be worth a try to offer our villas in Bitcoin.
I found a website in the U.S. called Bit Premier,
which was selling luxury items online accepting Bitcoin as payment.
So we were the first to post a real estate on that site
and I decided to go for one of our smaller villas, a one-bedroom villa to be posted.
Just roughly after one week, I got the first interested buyer
and the manager of the website contacted me to see
if I can give him more information because
this buyer showed interest and wanted to know more details about the villa.
I then got in touch with the buyer directly, we had a couple of Skype calls,
and at the end of our discussions, he basically decided that he wants to go for the villa and askED what my best offer would be.
I asked him then for the budget and he said that he doesn’t really have one.
It all depends on the deal that I can offer him.
So I offered him a 2-bedroom villa, which at that time was selling for more than US$900,000 dollars,
and I offered it to him for US$750,000 dollars which resulted in a total price of 963 Bitcoins.
So suddenly overnight, I became the owner of 963 Bitcoins,
and I didn’t really know what to do with it
because it wasn’t possible to exchange them immediately into fiat currency so I decided to hold them.
THE DUCATUS INITIATIVE WAS BORN
What then happened wasn’t so much fun because the Mt Gox Exchange in Japan
which was then the biggest exchange in the world was hacked…
It wasn’t that strange for us to think that maybe
we can do it ourselves, we have a lot of experience by then…
Ronny Tome is the CEO of Ducatus Global. Ducatus Global Pte Ltd is a Singapore-based company that is the administrative heart of the Group worldwide. Our globally distributed management team provides management and professional support for the whole Group. Centurion Global Limited, based in the Cayman Islands, is responsible for the production and global distribution of the coins through the Ducatus network. Additional group of companies in Dubai and Singapore are responsible for charity projects, education and training, e-commerce, franchise cafés, health, travel and property. For more information, visit https://ducatus.net