Blockchain North Founder & CEO, Florent Thévenin, speaks with Adam Cai, Founder & CEO of VirgoCX at the VirgoCX Kick-Off Party for the Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto, 2023.

Flo: What was your personal a-ha moment that led you to blockchain?

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Adam: I think blockchain, in general, fundamentally changed how the traditional financial service industry works. It removes the intermediary and it’s actually trustless. I have spent 10 years working in the financial service industry. The a-ha moment for me was that there were so many different use cases, such as trading and lending.

In the traditional world, we need hundreds of people to support a business. But with the decentralized protocol, we only need some developers and everything can be carried on by the protocol itself with no error. I think that’s the a-ha for me, because we wouldn’t have even imagined this to be possible in the traditional industry, with such high efficiency, at such low cost, and it can run 7/24 with no arrow.

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Blockchain is obviously an inherently digital industry. How important is it to have these live events for the community, business, or for the industry?

I think it’s extremely important for the people. Most of the time, great ideas come from discussion and from sharing. It definitely does not come from you sitting in front of the computer tweeting all the time.

Tonight [VirgoCX Kick-Off Party for the Blockchain Futurist Conference 2023], we have so many different speakers sharing their perspectives in terms of how they see the future of crypto. I think these ideas can bump into your own thoughts and it can build up based on other people’s perspectives.

I think all those discussions contribute meaningfully to building your own business and figuring out what our next steps are. This is the best venue to connect with talented people who have a lot of different perspectives. It’s very important and it’s complementary with digital communication.

In terms of next steps, regulation is the talk of the town, and the most important hurdle to get over. You have a unique vantage point because you’re navigating that regulatory environment. Can you share what it’s like and what you are having to deal with in Canada or elsewhere?

I think in Canada, we are still pretty lucky that our regulators, in most cases, are cooperative and they are all open to different ideas, even though sometimes it can be tough to figure out the guidelines and regulatory framework. At least they give you the chance to talk and they’re actually showing their commitment to work with us to decide how the industry should work.

I think within Canada, it’s a really good environment for new ideas to incubate. We also have the necessary people, users, investors, and regulators that give you a good environment to try things out without trying to enforce it all the time, like the SEC.

For the future, if you have good ideas, think about how you can do this in a compliant manner. And in that way, I think your business can be sustainable. In Canada, you do have the chance to run a sustainable business, which can make a good revenue, but in the meantime, it’s compliant.

Right now, the bear market is the best time because the valuation is very proper. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for nothing. It’s good timing to build.

How would you describe the state of the Canadian crypto market? You operate in Canada, but also internationally. 

Compared to the global level, we still don’t have enough star products, per se. But we have a really good amount of talent: developers and business people who have brilliant ideas.

I think what we really need is to attract capital within Canada, educate investors about our industry, and get their risk tolerance up so people don’t have to always go to the US to look for money, even though the US has much more money.

I think in Canada, because of the environment, as I mentioned earlier, they’re pretty open. You can run a compliant and sustainable business in Canada.

So why not? We’ll build an ecosystem together all in Canada. Right now, the bear market is the best time because the valuation is very proper. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for nothing. It’s good timing to build.

What is the biggest announcement from VirgoCX right now?

One is that we are actually growing internationally. Recently, we launched in the US within the process of getting the Hong Kong license to be able to export to Asia.

The second thing is that we acquired Arxnovum Investments. So, we officially entered into the crypto asset management business. We have become a full service crypto financial service company. Not only dealing with trading, but also asset management.

Any final message for the community about crypto?

We’re in a bearish market, but let’s keep building. I think the right moment for the industry is coming very soon, and as long as we believe crypto is the future, all of us are going to win.

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Interview edited for clarity.
Emphasis added by editor.