While famous personalities such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have never been shy of the fact that they own a cryptocurrency, many people who have limited understanding of the subject still continue to cast doubt on this new technology. In a world where more than 3,000 cryptocurrencies (as of this writing) exist, there is certainly a room for scepticism. The question is: how can we separate the good from the bad? Or more importantly, which crypto will stay and which ones will be gone tomorrow?
We recently caught up with David Putnam, CFO of Ducatus Global Pte Ltd to get his thoughts on this hot topic. David, a resident of Hong Kong for more than 20 years, has worked as an investment banker, diplomat, and as the CEO of a publicly listed company. Through his work in complex corporate, governmental and transactional situations, he has gained a rich experience of financial, commercial and regulatory matters. He is responsible for overseeing Ducatus’ financial affairs around the world. David is a British national, and in addition to his native English, he also speaks, reads and writes Mandarin and has a working knowledge of Indonesian and Cantonese.
Can you tell us a bit about your career and your role at Ducatus?
David Putnam: My background really revolves around finance and complex cross border transactions. Prior to joining Ducatus, I worked for some 15 years in investment banking with a number of banks including Citigroup and Schroders. I was also the Head of Asia Pacific for an American bank called Houlihan Lokey. I first came out to Asia as part of the UK diplomatic service and was based in China for nearly 3 years. As a result, I’ve had a fairly broad range of exposure to a wide variety of international transactions in both public and private sectors from financial services to technology and more and, through this, I’ve also had a lot of exposure to all different types of legal structures which has come in very useful as we build Ducatus and the Ducatus Crypto-Economy around the world.
At Ducatus, my title is Chief Financial Officer and I am mainly responsible for the finance function but I also monitor and oversee the legal function and work with our CEO, Ronny Tome on the negotiation and implementation of the many strategic initiatives that we are pursuing.
How would you describe the current state of the cryptocurrency market? Do you see more positive than negative, overall?
David Putnam: I would say that it’s still at an early stage of evolution but the rate of development is rapidly accelerating. That’s why we are now seeing significant institutional involvement and a slew of regulatory attention all around the world.
For Ducatus, regulatory attention is a good thing because we are a company that both can, and maybe more importantly, wants to, conform with all relevant laws and regulations. That gives us a significant advantage over many other cryptocurrencies out there which are, in effect, just ad hoc communities that do not have the ability to steer themselves or adapt to the changes in the regulatory environment. Regulation is necessary to the true global adoption of cryptocurrencies and that is our goal. Along with all these pressure of course, the rapidly changing commercial environment adds even more pressure on cryptocurrency market participants, and here again, being a company rather than a community and having such an international management team gives us a huge advantage when it comes to staying ahead of the curve.
For Ducatus, regulatory attention is a good thing because we are a company that both can, and maybe more importantly, wants to conform with all relevant laws and regulations.
There are a lot of cryptocurrencies that exist in the market today. What makes Ducatus particularly different from the rest?
David Putnam: Quite simply, we are developing Ducatus as a commercial initiative with a truly global scope and this is different from almost every other legitimate cryptocurrency. Our belief is simply that a project this large and this complex needs to be underpinned by a real company with a real management team and the traditional functions and capabilities of leading companies in all other sectors. In short, because there is a phenomenal amount of work required, if you don’t have the right team and if that team is not 100% focused on the business your chances of long-term success are close to zero. Without a stream of revenue and a team of suitably experienced senior executives to implement a well-considered development plan, success becomes a matter of luck and we feel we owe our coin holders more than that. We all see these teams which pull off a ‘successful’ ICO … but then they go nowhere because they can’t execute. Our model is different, we have been thinking long-term since day one.
Once you come up with an idea of a cryptocurrency and start introducing it to the market, you quickly find out that you need to have a team of properly qualified people dedicated to developing and implementing the right strategy. Absent that, the currency will fail.
The truth is there are lot of tokens in the market with very specific and restricted business models and as we’ve seen recently, a single change in the commercial environment could lead to those people being put out of business simply because their business model relies on a set of circumstances which no longer exists. Our approach is much broader. We’re looking to establish a more usable and user-friendly cryptocurrency to stand alongside the larger, better established, coins and to help holders of our currency have greater flexibility and usability than those other coins currently offer.
Our approach is much broader. We’re looking to establish a more usable and user-friendly cryptocurrency to stand alongside the larger, better established coins and to help holders of our currency have greater flexibility and usability than those other coins currently offer.
Ducatus’ main mission is to transform the global financial landscape through crypto-economy. What would you consider are the key steps to turn this into reality?
David Putnam: We divided it into three (3) tasks, namely:
Distribution. A currency needs to be distributed. It needs to be global. If it’s not in the hands of large numbers of people in many countries then it can’t really fulfil its function. So, the first plank of our strategy is to ensure wide distribution of the Ducatus cryptocurrency and we achieve that through our own particular model of network marketing.
Usability. It needs to be accepted by third parties in exchange for goods and services. Again, that’s driven by distribution. If you have a million people holding your currency, then you’ll be able to find a large number of merchants who will be willing to accept your currency. Then the wheels of crypto economy will start to turn.
Convertibility. Merchants accepting the coins or people holding the coin looking for liquidity need to be able to convert those coins into other forms of value, be it a fiat currency or goods and services. They should be able to use it to say, pay the salaries of their workers. Convertibility is key.
This is fairly easy to remember. If you put those things together, it actually spells D-U-C, which is our ticker symbol!
There are a lot of negative impressions about cryptocurrencies in general. What would you say to those people who think negatively of cryptocurrencies?
David Putnam: There are a lot of people who have negative thoughts about so many different things. For example, when cars were first invented 130 years ago but there are still people who think the world would be better without them. For most of us however it’s not a question of whether we should have cars or not but how to make them better. Anything new will always be met with some amount of scepticism whether it’s cars, the internet or cryptocurrencies. People just need to look beyond any initial reaction and think about how it can help them and how it can be improved.
Cryptocurrency is complex by its very nature and therefore it’s hard for many people to understand. The natural tendency is to view it with suspicion and seek to reject it. The simple fact is that cryptocurrency is a tool. If people choose to use it then they will derive value from it. If they choose not to use it, then that’s alright too, the conventional financial system still exists so if you have access to it and don’t object to its shortcomings you can obviously do so. What we’re doing is just giving people more tools. Our current financial system is friendly only to those who have what in many countries counts as large amounts of money. Cryptocurrency gives people a way of being able to take control of their own financial affairs without having to see whether they qualify to a particular bank’s minimum deposit levels, or whether they are accepted by any form of savings institution. Imagine someone who has no access to proper housing, it will be very difficult for that person to open a bank account because opening a bank account without an address is incredibly difficult. If you don’t have a fixed abode, you can’t have a bank account, and if you don’t have a bank account, it’s harder to pay your rent and your bills so it becomes a vicious cycle. Bottom line: all of this is about giving people more choices and more power and control over their own lives.
How do you see Ducatus evolving in the next 3-5 years?
David Putnam: We have a number of significant announcements coming up but our overall objective is to be global, accessible to everybody and to become the world’s most user-friendly and usable cryptocurrency so we would like to be, potentially at least, a part of all types of financial transactions in all sectors, in all countries for all people. Just these next few months will show how fast we are moving towards that goal.
To learn more about Ducatus and its management team, visit www.ducatus.net