- Simon Seojoon Kim started investing in Ether in 2015
- By the end of March 2017, Kim had invested nearly $ 400,000
- The 36-year-old entrepreneur is a training software developer
As Simon Seojoon Kim recounts, he started investing in Ether, the coin that powers the Ethereum network, the year it was launched – 2015. (Also read: What is the best cryptocurrency for a long term investment? To find)
His friends told him he was crazy as he spent a large chunk of his savings on the new cryptocurrency. By the end of March 2017, he had put in almost $ 400,000.
Then Ether began to rise.
While Kim’s investments are difficult to verify, one thing is indisputable: the value of Ether has increased from the start of 2017. Over the past year, it has increased more than 10 times. And Kim, meanwhile, has become one of the most famous blockchain advocates in South Korea. After raising a first blockchain fund in December, he is planning a second this month.
“He’s like Yoda, the Jedi master of cryptocurrency,” said Sean Park, senior partner and managing director of Hong Kong-based Boston Consulting Group Inc., who worked with Kim on a blockchain project.
Kim is part of a growing class of nouveau riche who have made their money in virtual currencies. Bitcoin and Ether, the two biggest tokens, continue to rock wildly, but both have hit record highs this year.
“The most successful investment is when you spot a fundamentally strong asset that doesn’t get a lot of attention or is viewed negatively,” Kim said in an interview in Seoul, speaking about her first crypto bet.
The 36-year-old entrepreneur is a training software developer who has created and sold two companies. One was in education tech, while the other was a dating app.
In 2018, he co-founded Hashed, a sort of venture capital firm for blockchain projects. It takes stakes in companies and helps them to develop, in particular by setting up partnerships, providing financial advice and helping with public relations.
Hashed raised $ 120 million in December for its first blockchain fund. Its backers included South Korean giants Naver Corp. and Kakao Corp., according to the companies’ semi-annual activity reports.
Now, Hashed plans to raise at least 200 billion won ($ 173 million) for a second fund this month, Kim said.
Hashed investments typically range from $ 1 million to $ 10 million per company. He participated in a $ 7.5 million round of funding in May for Vietnamese game creator Sky Mavis, alongside billionaire Mark Cuban, following a round of funding in 2019. He also invested 2 , $ 5 million in Loco, an India-based game streaming platform, Kim said.
But Hashed has attracted big players like internet company Naver, the third-largest listed company in South Korea by market value. Hashed has the most experience in the blockchain industry, according to Naver, who has so far disclosed investments of 14 billion won in Hashed’s first fund.
“Our investors want to maximize their profits,” Kim said. “But they also want to know more about the market through us.”
Kim Kyonghwan, dean of the Graduate School of Entrepreneurship at Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, a city near Seoul, warns.
“Since the blockchain industry is new, unpredictability can be a risk in the short term,” he said. “Still, I think it’s a market that will eventually institutionalize and grow.”
Kim said there is huge potential as the blockchain technology market is still in its infancy. But on crypto trading, he encourages people with no experience to be careful before trying to make a quick fortune.
Sitting in a room named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Kim said he still holds most of his holdings in Ether. He said he was also a major investor in a token called Luna coin.
But when it comes to conventional investments like bonds and commodities, Kim prefers not to get involved. He even lives in a rented apartment with his wife rather than buying his own property, he said.
“Traditional assets are not in my best interest,” he said. “They just seem too old and outdated.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)