Sangho Grolleman

Chief Executive Officer

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Sangho Grolleman is the CEO of Cryptopia. He has been active in cryptocurrency since 2018 and worked with several cryptocurrency startups both as a team member (CEO and COO) and as an external advisor. He has extensive experience as an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and full stack developer, as well as a teacher and trainer. He also brings over 30 years of gaming experience as an avid gamer. He believes that we are uniquely positioned to leverage blockchain technology in the gaming industry.

Please tell us about your background.

I live in the Netherlands and grew up in Gouda, which many people probably know from Gouda cheese. It's produced everywhere around the world, not only in the Netherlands, but it has to be produced according to specifications before you can call it Gouda cheese. I have three sisters and had a happy childhood. And then I went to Utrecht University, where I studied International Economics and Economic Geography. I also went abroad to study, so I lived in Bangkok for six months and I really, really, loved it there.

Is there any type of food that you prefer that you could eat every day?

Actually, there are many types of food I can eat every day. But you can really wake me up with Thai food like Tom Yum. When I lived there, I also ate almost every day a sort of spicy salad with pork and sometimes beef. With all the flavors, like the acidity, the sweetness, the hotness—it’s perfect. I can also eat Korean food every day. Also Middle Eastern Foods. I like bread or bread types like pizzas and flatbreads. Yeah, basically I can eat everything.

Do you cook?

I'm the cook at home, so I cook every day for my family. I’m really a hobby chef. I don't have just one recipe. I like to try new things and then make them my own. I do always try something new and then I think when I like it, I always adjust it a bit. I also made a start-up out of it because I was cooking every day and doing grocery shopping and I felt like, OK, that can be much more efficient and fun if you do it digitally and you connect different resources. So I actually have my own food commerce start-up.

How did you become involved with Cryptopia?

It's funny because I moved from Amsterdam to Haarlem, another city in the Netherlands. My neighbor was the brother of Hansco. So we got to talk and got to know each other. We started talking about work and about what I was doing. He said, OK, I have an idea and we need a guy like you that can be the project manager, talk with the developers, and make sure we do the right things. I got interested: OK, what do you do? I didn't know about Ethereum yet, I only knew Bitcoin. Slowly I got intrigued by the project and that's how I joined.

What did you find intriguing or attractive about the Cryptopia project?

This was in 2017 during a previous crypto startup. That's when we started working together, and I met Frank, and I took on the role of the COO and eventually CEO. We didn't succeed with that startup and everyone went their own way. Last year, Frank called me and said, hey, I've been busy over the past two years with Cryptopia. And I knew he was doing that because we were in contact still and he was telling me about it, but finally it reached the point that he wants to show it to me. And then I was really like, wow, you're far ahead and you have a proof of concept. I knew about NFTs and I knew about De-fi, but I never went into it. This was a chance for me to have a good look and analyze prospects and what Cryptopia is doing. And then I decided, OK, wow, this is really fun and great. Frank said, first of all, we want you to join us to be the CEO. And I was like OK, that's not possible part-time, as I was at heading a school at the time. He said no, that's not possible at all. It was a hard decision for me to break away from the school, but I saw so many opportunities in this space and Cryptopia is different from all the other NFT game projects out there. It's not like I can wait two years and then get in. It's now or never. So I got on board.

Which faction would you prefer to join and why?

I like them all. But my preference and those tied to my role, of course, is the traditional faction because they are all about balance, right? And the more the merrier? Apart from them, I really liked the eco faction because I really care about the environment. I also like the tech faction, because tech is also probably going to help us with battling climate change.

How do you think Cryptopia plays a part in raising awareness for climate change and global warming?

That's a good question. I say we lead by example. While it’s a bit difficult to do in-game, you can join the eco faction and maybe also a bit the traditional faction, and use the in-game mechanics to handle carbon emission, say using policy to tax it. It affects your play and limits your output, especially for the industrial faction. It makes people aware that, though it’s a game, if you produce a lot, you pollute a lot, and your carbon footprint gets too large. Everyone will then be affected.

What's a key ingredient for success as a citizen in Cryptopia?

As a citizen of Cryptopia, the key ingredient is that you must hold the notion that everything you do matters. As small as you are, or maybe you don't have many resources and you're not a tycoon, you still can play a role, and that role is still rewarding. You can play for free in our game, and you can also earn for free. You don't need to invest first, you don't need to buy an NFT, you don't need to buy anything. You can just download the game and play. And by investing your time, you get rewarded. Your actions matter because it's a blockchain game. Everything you do, everything you contribute to, will be recorded on the blockchain and is irreversible. I think that's the key part of the game and any individual player—your choices matter.

Would players be spending a lot of money on NFTs?

Well, not all players, of course. It’s also not necessary. We believe in the freemium model that you already have in the traditional gaming sector, making us different from other games. Free players also contribute to the game by investing their time. They're adding value to the game by playing the game.

Any future plans for Cryptopia that you're looking forward to?

Well, of course, launching the game itself, there's that. What I personally look forward to is connecting with other games. It’s exciting and it's possible. At some point, we can reach out to other projects or vice versa and see how we can integrate. We are 100% decentralized and we run on the blockchain. But we also partly run on a peer-to-peer network, which consists of nodes. Cryptopia uses game nodes to do networking services. You know you need to see other players in real-time, right? For that, you need networking traffic. And usually, the game does it via game servers or centralized servers, but they rent these from Amazon or Google or Microsoft, big tech companies that have policies towards crypto projects that are, let's put it this way, not really reliable. If they suddenly change their policy and say they don't want to have anything to do with crypto, you're screwed. In our case, the game state and essential stuff like the wallets and transactions are on the blockchain, making them decentralized. But the rest of the game will be spread around probably 10,000 nodes, on computers run by players. And this opens opportunities for other blockchain games who want to take a decentralized route. We can say, hey, we have a network of 10,000 nodes on Cryptopia, but they can also run other games. In connection with this, we also plan to let them use our multi-sig wallet. Other games don't have it. They still work with Metamask or some other external wallet. We can provide our wallets to other games. I look forward to helping other games by providing them the blockchain services and infrastructure to run their game.