In Conversation with Nic Chin: Co-Founder & CEO of BITTO Exchange

From marketing to cryptocurrency, Nic Chin shares what it takes to start a business in the cryptocurrency industry.

Investing in cryptocurrency is tricky. What more, starting a business in one? Meet full-time cryptocurrency trader and entrepreneur, Nic Chin.

With his 10-year experience in the cryptocurrency market and blockchain technology, he co-found BITTO Exchange in 2017 which provides an ultimate investment environment that’s transparent, safe, and effective for both cryptocurrency traders and investors. Nic shares what it really takes to run a start-up in cryptocurrency.

Q: Tell us about your journey in being a full-time cryptocurrency trader, coach, and subsequently the CEO of your own company.

A: I started off initially as a forex trader, dabbling in creating custom forex trading algorithms and researching for a semi-automated method for trading.

This led to discovering cryptocurrency which includes learning how to trade, mine, and create a token that represents monetary value.

In my case, I’ve always been an aggressive trader and investor which led to a few of us co-founding BITTO Exchange. We’re one of the very few cryptocurrency exchanges established with a registration obtained through a strong financial hub which is in Labuan.

In Conversation with Nicholas Chin: Co Founder & CEO of BITTO Exchange

Q: What has been your inspiration to achieve such a feat?

A: I grew up in a single-parent family, with my mother getting married in the UK and bringing me along. So, I spent most of my teenage young adult years in the UK. This has provided a different perspective on life growing independently. I had to work long hours in McDonalds, Nandos, anywhere to make sure I had an allowance through my part-time jobs. 

I’ve always wanted to fulfil my dream of having financial freedom and travelling the world. With that in mind, working for others felt like a barrier to achieving that goal. I had my fair share of failures, but ultimately the main inspiration to stand back up and move forward is wanting to make a difference in my mother’s life and to show that all the failures and mistakes in the past were a paved way to success. Now, that inspiration has developed even further in hoping to help my close family and friends.

Interested in starting up your own business? Ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur? Find out more about how you can start your journey with experienced mentors here.

Q: What made you venture into growing a business in cryptocurrency? With your background in Marketing, how did you end up in cryptocurrency?

A: I had a very crazy idea of wanting to make an exchange that covers every aspect and wondered how any cryptocurrency can obtain its value and legitimacy. So I took the time to learn contract coding and went from a marketing background to a minor tech development background. Because it’s not easy to find someone you can trust, I had to learn how to read and develop not only a website and a smart contract but also the fundamentals of how everything works in an exchange. And this has brought about other opportunities in crypto and blockchain.

Q: What were some challenges you’ve faced along the way — both in starting your own business and in cryptocurrency?

A: It was a very challenging experience to get funding for the project at a point in time where the majority of people in the world still can’t wrap their heads around what exactly is cryptocurrency and blockchain.

The technical development of the exchange was also a challenge as it integrates both IT aspects with banking security implementation. Not many developers in the world have that experience and expertise. Though, travelling to meet various people around the world was a perk in itself and the people I met were also from various countries and backgrounds. We’d spend a lot of time and resources which if it was done in China alone, would have garnered a lot of funding easily. 

That was also the reason why we were never located in Malaysia until recently. Malaysians sadly tend to belittle other Malaysians and tend to want to do everything themselves instead of really investing in a start-up company. A majority of the government funding is also left for people with connections rather than for projects that can truly generate a higher Gross Domestic Profit for the country. That’s still a fact today versus other countries where the locals support their start-up company. China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Thailand are very good examples.

The primary challenges are definitely the funding and finding the right talent as well as receiving help.

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Q: What’s your advice to those interested in running their own business — especially one related to cryptocurrency?

A: This is a very challenging industry to be in locally. Many local cryptocurrency networks are very supportive only of those that are based in other countries, not Malaysia.

That’s a very sad but true nature of where the investor wants to use your idea and do it themselves. If it's not popular, especially when it’s just starting, Malaysian investors would typically support an already very popular project based overseas. 

In Conversation with Nicholas Chin: Co Founder & CEO of BITTO Exchange

But don’t let this stop you! If you’ve a very good idea, research and find out if it’s already something in the market. If not, get a team of people who share the same vision and get support from a cryptocurrency or blockchain company that has been around long enough to be able to help kickstart your project. Anything is possible in the crypto world. 

Do set a realistic expectation. I didn’t start with a rich family background, neither did I get a lot of support from my close friends or family — except my mother and my partner. A lot of hard work, struggling, brainstorming, and negative thoughts will be thrown at you even more so in such an unorthodox industry like crypto. 

If you intend to run your own business, it probably takes twice as much effort compared to traditional businesses without necessarily seeing any form of immediate returns. If you can persistently endure the challenges, long hours, and painstaking efforts, then by all means go ahead. 

Like everything in life, you are either moving forward or moving backwards. Continue to persistently put positive energy and effort in whatever you intend to do so you’ll have a good chance at success.

Q: What’s your advice to those interested in investing in cryptocurrency?

A: Investing in cryptocurrency is easy! Anyone can do it. But, again, make sure you have a realistic expectation. 

I personally feel that having 30% return on investment (ROI) per year is fantastic — anything beyond is a blessing. In many cases, you’ll see those online who invest $100 and expect to get a return of $1 Million in a week or a month. It’s as possible as winning the lottery (read as: super slim chance)

Set the right expectations and have a game plan for your investment. If you had saved 5% of your earnings since the age of 21, you’d end up being a multimillionaire sooner or later. Now, you’re given a great opportunity in this age to have a place to put your earnings which can yield higher earnings than just putting it in a fixed deposit. So, like all things, do your own research, learn, and understand.

A friend I know, took 2 years to grow $1000 to $40000 and sadly lost it in a matter of months.  Why? She didn’t take time to understand what she was investing in and ended up investing in short-term hyped up projects that bust. The moral is to never dive head first into something you don’t know.

Want to learn more about cryptocurrency and creating your own coin? Join ‘BizPod Workshop: What is Cryptocurrency and How to Create Your Own Coin in 5 mins’ this 30th July only at Taylor’s Future Movement.

Preevena Jayabalan is currently pursuing Cambridge A-Levels at Taylor's College. She is also the Vice President of Marketing of the Taylor's Lakeside Model United Nations Club, Co-Lead for the Public Engagement Department of Senate18, and one of the 45 selected fellows for the Felo Parlimen Malaysia program. She's a bibliophile and a strong human rights advocate.

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