01. To work as
Saerom Kan, Senior Advisor
Q. What is the role of advisory within the Finance Service Group
Chain Partners advisory provides consulting services and acceleration, and also supports the business development of other divisions. In 2018, the team focused on providing comprehensive services to Korean companies preparing for token generation events, including investment advisory services, consultation for marketing strategies and token economy design. From January 2019, the team was re-organized as the Advisory division within the Finance Service Group, taking on the responsibility of connecting companies and projects in the digital assets market and identifying new business opportunities. Every member of the team is a project leader who oversees and manages multiple projects. Each armed with cross-functional capabilities in marketing, investment, and advisory, we actively cooperate as a team to consistently deliver results.
Q. What capabilities are essential for working in advisory?
The ability to aggressively create business opportunities is of paramount importance. Both the capacity and will to follow the rapidly evolving market environment and unearth new opportunities --these capabilities are critical. Consistent study and research are very helpful in generating insight for evaluating various blockchain projects or related companies. A proactive attitude of stepping out into the field whenever necessary is also a much-needed trait. Important information comes from the field, not from papers. Substantial information on market movement can only be acquired by building trusted relationships with relevant players. Proficiency in foreign languages also comes in handy as there are many instances when you need to closely collaborate with international projects. Although fluency is not a prerequisite, some level of Chinese, English or Japanese will definitely be helpful in creating business opportunities on the global stage.
Q. How do you gain insights when evaluating projects? Is there a standard?
I think things are very different now than it was in 2018. To tell you “how” by using the standards of 2018, the first question we considered was 'why blockchain?' We examined whether the technology or concept of blockchain was utilized to tackle a problem that was difficult to address with existing solutions. We also often referred to white papers. We were able to see the values prioritized by the project by looking at what factors were emphasized in the token economy design, and whether the project had a unique value proposition. However, the most important aspect was to meet the project team members. As work is done by people not machines, the best way to learn about a team's capacity and direction was by directly interacting with founding members.
Q. Do you have a dream, Saerom?
I want to further develop my expertise related to discovering and accelerating good projects, and also contribute to advancing the industry. As the market is in its beginning stages, a lot of projects require connecting professionals coming from different fields. I hope to become a problem solver, connecting those who are in need and building a successful ecosystem.
I believe that advanced technologies can improve existing practices and resolve inconveniences, and blockchain can be one of those technologies. Although it won't happen overnight, I hope to contribute to developing the industry by advancing quality blockchain projects and budding startups.
02. Blockchain is
A catalyst for driving professional expertise
Q. What does blockchain mean to you?
It is a technology sector that has allowed me to acquire business insight and expertise in a short period of time. Upon joining the company, I invested many hours to accumulate knowledge on blockchain and finance quickly. In order to effectively support client projects with advisory service and acceleration, you need to have knowledge on not only blockchain but also about token economy, regulatory environments, and general information about the business scope of major companies. I think the long hours I spent analyzing markets and sharing insights with various industry experts has helped me grow into who I am today. Technology-wise, I think blockchain is the epitome of a trust protocol. It is a base technology that can digitalize many areas that need an element of trust. I am convinced that the next innovative technology will soon be introduced following blockchain.
Q. What led you to the blockchain industry? Were there any instances of regret?
I was deeply attracted by the new industry evolving around blockchain. As I was searching for jobs, I had a clear goal of finding a career where I could develop and nurture my own areas of expertise. I felt that it would be easier to achieve this goal in a new industry rather than in a traditional one. At the time, I stumbled upon an essay written by the CEO, Charles Pyo, as he was preparing to launch Chain Partners and I was intrigued by the blockchain industry.
Although the current market conditions are not at the best and the industry has contracted as a whole, I have no regrets. I firmly believe that blockchain technology is an excellent tool to create something entirely new or solve inconveniences in existing industries. Those remaining in the industry are continuously experimenting with the technology and opportunities can still be found everywhere. I hope to build use cases among these opportunities and contribute to maturing the blockchain industry.
Q. What do you find the most difficult about working in the blockchain or digital assets industry?
Responding swiftly to changes in the market is one of the challenges. (However, at the same time, timely response is the growth driver of our team) The blockchain and digital assets industry is by nature susceptible to changes taking place in the cryptocurrency market. Hence, the market contraction that began in the latter half of 2018 has posed difficulties for our team. Amid decreasing investment opportunities and the unlikelihood of new viable ICO projects, we had to consistently come up with novel strategies to lead the industry. All of our team members went through some period of doubt, but reaffirmed our commitment by thinking that ‘every crisis presents an opportunity.'
Personally, I found it most difficult when there were things that I could not provide decisive help with when advising projects. Comprehensive analysis of many factors is needed for a good advisory service, including not only market conditions but also internal/external regulatory environments and the perspectives of stakeholders. When you are taking into account so many factors at the same time, things sometimes don't go the way you think they should. This is somewhat inevitable as the advisory business has to build a new business case by connecting the needs between various stakeholders.
03. Chain Partners is
An organization that creates a tightly-knit framework
Q. What is Chain Partners to you, Saerom?
I think an analogy can be drawn between the staff at Chain Partners with spiders that build webs and hunt for food by using self-produced thread. People at Chain Partners proactively find opportunities rather than wait to be told what needs to be done, that results in shared-growth between the company and the employees. Although the silk threads of a spider look incredibly thin, they can build strong houses. As such, we wove our silk threads together to create a robust business framework.
Q. What do you like most about working at Chain Partners?
The biggest positive of working here is my co-workers. All my colleagues, including myself, have boldly invested our career into a new industry that poses high risks and uncertainties. I am inspired by the go-for-it spirit of my co-workers, as we work together to discover opportunities in this new field. Everyone working here is highly committed to becoming the best at what they do. Having met these people, whom I want to work together for a long time, is the greatest satisfaction I have gained from Chain Partners.
Also, there are lots of opportunities to foster professional expertise, for new recruits and seniors alike. Even as a new-comer to the advisory business, I could lead projects with ownership and face external challenges, which helped me quickly develop my capabilities. You can experience personal and professional growth with the company as you work at Chain Partners.
Q. What is the most memorable event working at Chain Partners?
What comes to mind is the time I participated in a blockchain conference held in Korea during the summer of 2018. It was a large-scale event that gathered developers and experts from major crypto funds and projects from around the world. I thought of the conference as the perfect opportunity to discover promising global projects and made my best effort to build networks. I eagerly met with a lot of people, asked about the needs of their businesses and built ties for Chain Partners. I took part in an overseas project afterwards, thanks to some of the people I met at the conference, and I still maintain good relations with many of them.
I also think that my time at the advisory team will be an enjoyable memory for me. Based on the insights I have attained and the network I have built, I am actively connecting business within Chain Partners and client projects with necessary resources. I think of my role as a problem solver that meets the various demands of all market players. I hope to use my abilities to contribute to the development and maturity of the industry as a whole.