Marco Coffen, a Dubai-based investor, tech strategist, and real estate developer, has immersed himself in the cryptocurrency space the last five years, having concluded that bitcoin is, as he put it, “the gold of our time.”
The native Australian further believes that the original crypto is “complicatedly simple” and that it has given rise to the larger trend toward decentralized finance (DeFi), a form of finance that depends not on a central authority but rather blockchains and smart contracts.
He plans to develop a crypto trading platform of his own, while fully cognizant of the licensing and regulatory challenges facing those who do so. Of particular interest to him are portals that would allow users to complete initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Marco Coffen also remains on the cutting edge of other technological developments, aware that digital transformation is crucial to companies in every field. He is particularly well-versed in artificial intelligence, which will impact sectors such as computing, transportation, and even pharmaceuticals.
Additionally, he is environmentally conscious and foresees a major shift in the near future toward green energy. To that end he has business interests in electric vehicles and household waste management.
Growing up outside Sydney, Marco Coffen was influenced greatly by his father, who worked as a carpenter, and his mother, who served as a healthcare administrator. It piqued his interest when he saw a project taking shape on a construction site where his dad worked, but he also drew on his mom’s business sense. As a result, he gravitated to property development and continues to work toward a degree in property economics.
He later moved to the UAE and became involved in tech, security, and IT companies, while maintaining an interest in architecture and design. He considered the move to IT a natural progression, given the way the world is evolving and the growing digital needs of every organization.
He lives with his wife Stephanie and four children — two sons and two daughters — in Dubai.
A Conversation With Marco Coffen About Cryptocurrency
Question: What sparked your interest in Bitcoin?
Marco Coffen: My interest was sparked by the decentralization aspect. I am all for privacy and I am kind of a libertarian in some regards. I think that it’s also the future and as time goes on it will become a mainstream currency. In fact, it’s already trending that way.
Also the story behind bitcoin is amazing to me. The fact that its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, is anonymous and the fact that bitcoin works so well is amazing. It’s almost divine, the way it has just turned up in the matrix, so to speak.
Question: What is the biggest misconception the average person has about cryptocurrencies? What should be understood about them, that perhaps escapes notice?
Marco Coffen: In the past there was a misconception about bitcoin perhaps being a Dark Web-type currency that was used in shady deals, and that it had no value as a currency, as it’s just in a computer.
The thing people need to understand is that bitcoin is beautifully engineered. It has properties that most people don’t understand — properties that come from a number of past planned digital currencies, a number of which failed (e.g., DigiCash, Hashcash, B-money). The result is an anonymous, trustless, decentralized electronic currency that is finite, which is unlike standard currencies such as gold. There is only a certain amount of bitcoin available to be mined, which in time could make those cryptographic blocks very expensive.
People should understand that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are here to stay and worthy of investment, because they represent a unique opportunity.
Question: You’ve mentioned that you want to build your own crypto platform. How does one go about doing that? What specific challenges do you face in doing so?
Marco Coffen: Yes, I’m planning some very interesting platforms that allow people to complete a number of actions relating to crypto, from ICOs to algorithm-trading to peer-to-peer payment systems backed by crypto. The overall goal is to create platforms that are decentralized and don’t restrain people in different jurisdictions from investing in what they believe in.
Obviously, there are regulatory challenges, but I believe these challenges can be overcome and that mainstream adoption will come in the near future.
I’m very interested in tech and I research tech start-ups a lot. We are living in times of great change. Digital transformation is an everyday reality. Never before have we been connected to the degree we are now. Never before have everyday people been able to invest as they can now.
Entrepreneurs are changing the world, whether through green technology, healthcare, transportation or communications. What’s exciting right now with cryptocurrency is that we are able to invest in them at early stages, as through initial coin offerings.
Challenges will come, of course, but with challenge comes opportunity. Eventually with more players and more funds in the space, regulation will come and the crypto space will go mainstream.