A wake-up call for blockchain investors

Lan Kim Duy Tran, founder of OffChain Saigon - Aug 11, 2022 | 09:55 AM GMT+7

TheLEADERBlockchain is essentially a knife. If used correctly, it can help to make delicious meals that both the chef and the customers enjoy. On the contrary, that knife can become a weapon that harms many people.

A wake-up call for blockchain investors
As a blockchain investor, Lan has drawn valuable lessons from his failure

Lessons from the times 'broken hands'

"Blockchain is full of scams." Indeed, those who have ever learned about blockchain have heard this saying with a cynical, disparaging, and angry tone. i.e., because of losing money when investing in blockchain projects. Yet, somehow, I sympathize with these people after the painful experience of failure.

In 2021, when the gamefi market (video games with financial elements) was booming, many projects overgrew, and the market sentiment was concentrated here; the money flowed in a lot and received lots of interest from the community. So, like many people, I invested in several projects with the hope of making a profit.

With little knowledge when I first entered the market, plus FOMO (fear of missing out) and my greed, I did not research those blockchain projects but put money down fast. As a result, I did not carefully review the founder team's reputation, the project's quality, and many other factors.

Inexperienced in project appraisal, lack of knowledge, and appraisal methods, I made decisions based solely on feelings and the psychology of wanting to get rich quickly. As a result, I fell into the traps of scam projects. The projects' websites were no longer accessible, the tokens could not be sold and even lost liquidity, and the founder team disappeared.

The number of scam projects in the blockchain community is not negligible, and most scam projects succeed because they hit the greed and ignorance of investors. The forms of fraud are diverse, of which there are three common ways:

One is Phishing. This is a form where an attacker will pretend to be a reputable unit and lure users to a fake website to trick users into providing personal information. Usually, the target will be to get 12 seed phrases (characters used to access the cryptocurrency wallet) of the user. The scammer will send users a link to a website and ask them to enter 12 seed phrases for technical support. Once the information is leaked, the asset in the wallet will be taken immediately.

Two is Rug pull. The built project is filled with media, causing the community to be swept away and invest in those projects. But as soon as the project owners have enough money, they will disappear, take all the money in the project, and the investor will not be able to react as well as know who the investors are, where to claim the funds or sue.

Three is a third party that requests permission to allow them to access the crypto wallet. Once granted access, the scammer has lines of code to transfer all assets to another wallet in seconds.

Use "knife" the right way

If blockchain is so ugly, why in the world and Vietnam, many projects still developing, many international events and competitions for investment from abroad still take place without being banned, or has the world turned its back on them? But controversies always arise when something new emerges, such as artificial intelligence or, more recently, the metaverse.

The answer is simple because blockchain is essentially a protocol, a technology product, and harmless.

Blockchain can be likened to a knife. Depending on the user's purpose, the knife can become a tool that contributes to the creation of highly delicious dishes or become a dangerous weapon everyone fears.

On the positive side, there have been many successful blockchain application projects worldwide, contributing to creating value for businesses and society. A good example can be the decentralized finance model (Decentralized Finance) that helps to transfer money directly in any geographical area in a short time without the need for a third party, thanks to blockchain technology.

I immediately think of the domestic agricultural industry regarding blockchain application to domestic sectors. With immutability and traceability, blockchain will help raise the product and brand value of businesses in the livestock and import-export sectors.

For example, the startup Drinkizz of businessman Tyna Huynh (Huynh Dinh Ha Giang) applies data digitization and blockchain technology to make all data transparent through the model "from organic farm to smart can".

With the Q.R. code on the O.N.E can, Drinkizz becomes an innovative product when customers can retrieve all product data from the product's origin with a simple scan on the phone. Organic ingredients, production process, product distribution, drink flavor, nutritional parameters for the body, Drinkizz's waste management and recycling process.

A wake-up call for blockchain investors 1
Tyna Giang and the Drinkizz project

Learn to use the 'knife'

When I discuss with business people who want to apply blockchain to their businesses, they are very interested in blockchain's benefits, such as brand enhancement, products, services, and better customer experience.

However, when it comes to implementation plans, most ideas are on paper and cannot be implemented. The reason is that businesses lack a position with enough knowledge and understanding of blockchain to coordinate with blockchain technology implementation units and retrain the team to use the new process.

Because the blockchain project will approach the process and system quite profoundly, business owners fear the technology transfer process will affect the company's operations. Also, because no one on the business side can consult and take primary responsibility for this process, the risk is too high for them to accept.

This is a barrier that I find quite similar to the ERP implementation projects in the enterprise that have appeared before. There was a time when everyone heard about ERP systems, and businesses were racing to apply ERP systems. Still, many implementation projects were unsuccessful also because the company itself lacked a position with sufficient knowledge to understand and operate the ERP system. This lack of position is a great challenge to bringing blockchain closer to businesses, but it is also an excellent opportunity for blockchain project agencies.

To evaluate blockchain more objectively, protect yourself from fraudulent projects using blockchain technology, participate in enthusiastic blockchain projects and bring essential values to society, the first and only way can be learning.

That was probably the first lesson I learned, but it was pretty expensive at the expense of a lot of money. After that, I used to get mad at myself, thinking blockchain was just a scam. But somewhere, I still know about the real value brought from blockchain projects.

A wake-up call for blockchain investors 2
An activity of OffChain Saigon

Confused about different sources of information, I decided to learn and understand more about blockchain technology and its applications so that I could make objective judgments.

In a flat world with the prevalence of technology, the source of knowledge and lessons learned is shared by everyone, from youtube, books, podcasts, the web, colleagues, and the community. In addition, people with foreign language ability, especially English, will have access to a tremendous amount of knowledge.

In addition, I participate in meetups and online blockchain events and discuss with founders, teams, and investors. At the same time, I became more involved when building blockchain projects with my colleagues. Only skinning in the game gave me a close look. In addition to external information channels, I will get a multi-dimensional view of blockchain and make my assessment of blockchain projects that have, are, or are coming to the market.

Currently, I am participating in building OffChain Saigon community that is connected with the OffChain community in 52 cities around the world. We aim to help investment funds, projects and communities abroad have the opportunity to contact, learn and exchange with blockchain projects in Vietnam and thereby form cooperative relationships and bring these blockchain projects to the international level.