Nikkei Asia: South Korea’s incoming president vows big cryptocurrency push

Nikkei Asia: South Korea’s incoming president vows big cryptocurrency push

SEOUL/SINGAPORE — South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol will take office in May with no business experience but strong ideas on one of the most contentious subjects in finance, cryptocurrencies.

Yoon, a former top prosecutor who emerged victorious last week in the closest vote for the top office in the country’s history, has promised to allow initial coin offerings, or ICOs, as part of his broader cryptocurrency pledges.

A member of the conservative People Power Party, he has also vowed not to impose taxes on cryptocurrency trading gains of up to 50 million won ($40,000), treating them the same as stock winnings.

Yoon’s proposals were welcomed by cryptocurrency advocates who expect obstacles to be removed and the door opened to increased opportunities in blockchain technology-based assets.

“We definitely welcome his stance as he is confident about boosting the industry,” said Yoon Seong-han, secretary-general at Korea Blockchain Association, a lobby group for cryptocurrency exchanges and other market participants. “As ICOs are banned now, we have no choice but to issue coins in Singapore and other countries. Ventures and startups will be able to raise money easily from investors [if the ban is lifted].”

Yoon the lobbyist is not related to the president-elect.

Singapore-based Anndy Lian, chairman of Netherlands-registered crypto trading platform BigONE Exchange, also welcomed Yoon’s stance. “He understands the importance of crypto,” Lian told Nikkei Asia. “He understands the future, and it is unstoppable.”

Stocks related to coins have rallied on Yoon’s victory over Lee Jae-myung of the center-left Democratic Party. Lee took a cautious stance toward cryptocurrencies. Lee agreed with Yoon on allowing coin issuances but was negative on treating cryptocurrencies the same as stocks.

Cryptocurrencies, which can and do go on huge price swings, have prompted concerns over how they can be effectively regulated.

Shares of Vidente, a telecom facility maker that owns a 34.2% stake in South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb Holdings, jumped 11.3% over two days last week after Yoon was elected, before falling 5.37% on Monday and 2.39% on Tuesday.

According to South Korea’s financial regulator, the country’s cryptocurrency market reached 55.2 trillion won as of December, with average daily trading of 11.3 trillion won. More than 15.2 million people in the country have accounts with 24 cryptocurrency brokers. Of those registered, 5.6 million actually trade.

Traders in their 30s appear to be most enthusiastic, accounting for 31% of all buyers; followed by those in their 40s, at 27%; and those in their 20s, at 23%; according to a Financial Services Commission report released last month. By gender, two-thirds of users are men. More than half of users had cryptocurrencies valued at 1 million won or less, while 15% held 10 million won worth or more.

Stocks have traditionally been South Koreans’ favored investment vehicle. The country’s benchmark Kospi index in 2021 experienced a record year for initial public offerings, which totaled 17.2 trillion won. The index rose 3.63% last year and had a market capitalization of 2.2 quadrillion won.

Yoon’s electoral victory of less than a percentage point was largely propelled by support from socially and economically disaffected younger men, analysts say. This disaffection has been increasing due to high inflation, low growth and more recently soaring home prices.

The victor’s embrace of cryptocurrencies also comes as U.S. President Joe Biden last week signed an executive order ensuring responsible development of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.

“We must reinforce United States leadership in the global financial system and in technological and economic competitiveness, including through the responsible development of payment innovations and digital assets,” the White House said in a statement, describing one of the order’s objectives.

Yoon can implement part of his cryptocurrency policy through presidential orders, but his no-tax vow will need the National Assembly to revise a tax law. The legislature will also need to pass a bill to set up an agency to regulate digital assets.

This will require cooperation from incumbent President Moon Jae-in’s dominant Democratic Party, which has a majority of 300 seats in the legislature.

At least some of what Yoon proposes is likely to be achieved, according to Han Dae-hoon, an analyst at SK Securities.

“I expect Yoon’s policy to nurture cryptocurrencies is likely to be realized with the new government,” Han wrote in a note on Monday. “But we will not know until we see it.”

In Singapore, Yoon’s openness to crypto has been met with some skepticism. Although the city-state has positioned itself as an Asian hub for digital assets, its financial regulator has been selective in offering operating licenses to crypto players; only a handful of companies have been allowed to do business in the country.

Anson Zeall — emeritus-chair of the Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Enterprises and startups Singapore, a lobby outfit for over 400 businesses — said it remains to be seen how many of Yoon’s promises will be fulfilled.

“Action speaks louder than words,” he told Nikkei Asia. “We need to see what they [South Korea] come up with.”

Lian of BigONE Exchange voiced a similar sentiment.

“Singapore’s menu still has its advantages,” he told Nikkei. “[South] Korea’s money control[s] needs to be relooked [at] in order for crypto to move up another level, so Singapore is still in an advantageous position.”


Original Source:

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

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StashAway Episode 41: Entering the Metaverse, with Anndy Lian, Chairman, Asia, BigONE Exchange

StashAway Episode 41: Entering the Metaverse, with Anndy Lian, Chairman, Asia, BigONE Exchange

Episode summary

Anndy talks about the future of the metaverse and how you can be a part of it.


Episode transcript

Philipp: Welcome to another episode of In Your Best Interest, your personal finance podcast. I’m your host, Philip Muedder, and today, we’ll be entering the metaverse with Anndy Lian. Anndy is an early blockchain adopter and an experienced serial entrepreneur, book author, investor, board member and keynote speaker. Currently, he’s appointed the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization. He’s also the Chairman, Asia for Big One Exchange. Welcome to the show, Anndy. It’s great to have you.

Anndy: Good to see you again, Philipp. Good to see you.

Philipp: Yeah, it’s very good to see you, and I’m really looking forward to this chat today. Metaverse is all the new buzz in the world. I told you a couple of weeks ago when we first chatted, it’s at every dinner table I’ve been to now in the US and in Europe. I think the whole Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook having that branding and him talking about it made it so much more real or more people are looking at it now from a different perspective than just maybe more people who are very into the crypto space or NFT space, right? So I think now it becomes much more mainstream by him announcing this. So I’m very excited to talk about this today. If you have to explain it to someone in your own words: what is metaverse?

Anndy: I think there are a few things [02:00] that I must clarify in a certain manner. So maybe before that, I’ll just come up with my version of the metaverse. I think metaverse to me is more like a bridge between the virtual world and the real world and what we can do in the real world can actually be mimicked and reproduced and created in the metaverse.

It’s not so much of having meetings in the metaverse. And then you have a cute profile, a cute meme and you are talking. That’s not the real metaverse, you know? So if you imagine what you can do in real life, you can work, you can earn your money. You could also do the same in the metaverse and some people would then say, hey, you know, if I work in the metaverse, how am I going to get the money right?

Multiple ways; crypto is one of them, right? So I felt that many people are just telling me that, hey, you know, metaverse is all about cryptocurrency. But the true fact is that it’s not, right?

Cryptocurrency is one of the aspects that connects everyone together but if you look deeper and so forth, there’s also a gaming aspect of things. There’s also a lot of things that are behind the metaverse, even a finance ecosystem that can be built in the metaverse revolving around some metaverse finance kind of business model.

So, metaverse right now at this current moment, with the help of Facebook, and a few other really big companies, I think they are pushing it really hard. [04:00] People are looking at the stock, people looking at anything that is metaverse right now because there’s a small hype going on.

So I think for investors or retail investors, a non-financial advice, I think most of them right now are eyeing a few good stocks, a few good tech stocks. Yeah, I think there are a few really good crypto companies to invest in.

I think they are not wrong, you know, but I just want to say that the vesting period could be a bit longer than what you could imagine. Because, like Phillipp mentioned, this thing is not going to happen, in the next 24 hours or in the next month.

There are a lot of things to talk about; which metaverse should you be on, right? Are you going to be in A or are you going to be B. Is A and B connected? There’s a lot of questions that we have not really touched on. We have not really put forth our intention. So as of now, I can only say that we are not in the imaginary zone right now. All those things that I’ve mentioned, they are not far-fetched. So it’s very near. It’s very, very near.

Philipp: Yeah, Absolutely, and I think you mentioned some of the misconceptions, but are there any others that you are seeing out there, that people ask you about and that you think people are not, knowing what correctly, what it is?

Anndy: I think the other thing that I’m more concerned about is when they talk about the metaverse, and then some of them are buying land, digital land and keeping them. Some of them are quite hefty, quite expensive. But what I want to tell them is that [06:00] you are really just gambling because there is no clear indication right now whether it is virtual world A or B that is going to be the next one. So investors have got to be very, very careful.

It’s just like in the past, you know, people, during my time there was an MSN, there was Bing, there was Yahoo. Everyone thought that Yahoo is going to be the biggest leader in the search engine, right? Look at it right now, you know, I mean, they are still around, a billion-dollar company. But clearly Google has the biggest advantage right now.

I think whoever the leader is, may not be the leader at the end, right? Because there’s a lot of building blocks that we have not seen. What you see is just a small tip, very, very small. So as we progress on when things are clearer, I think that would be a better time for people to begin to invest in. And things would be a lot clearer from an investment perspective. But from a technology perspective, I think most of us who are more tech-savvy, we are very clear what the metaverse is going to be doing for all of us in the shorter timeframe and in the longer timeframe, so that part we are very, very clear.

Philipp: Yeah, and I want to get into that and to be clear about what the technology is. But before that, you mentioned that a couple of times. And I think it’s very, very important right to ask that question because we don’t understand it yet. But will it actually be a metaverse?

Is it the metaverse or are there multiple metaverses, right? Because I think what I’m questioning right now, is it going to be like Apple has the App Store and iOS and Google has the Android Store and Android, [08:00] and they are always going to be separate in a way, but they communicate on the internet.

So it’s actually the internet that is the glue between all of these different entities. Or is it going to be one space that owns it all, right? Like, if you’re Apple, you cannot be in there in the metaverse of Android or Facebook, for example, right? I feel it might start in each of those sections, but ultimately it’s the next version of the internet to me, that’s at least what I’m understanding. What are your thoughts on that?

Anndy: From a more idealistic standpoint, I think it is good for everyone to work together and unite. Then that metaverse would then be like, instead of having the analogy of Google and Yahoo, for example. I think the analogy is if we can all work together, then we can be one big earth, right? We’ll be one big metaverse together or you could do it on a separate basis. So ideally, I hope everyone can be united and then do what’s needed to build the metaverse up.

Then you can be Earth 1, for example, right? Then as you move along, you know, Earth 2 comes about right, Earth 3 and so forth. So my view is ideally it should be like that instead of, you’re America, he’s China, I’m Singapore and things like that so I look at it as one whole Earth.

So ideally, it’s like this. But before we can reach that state, we should be looking at what you have mentioned that there will be clusters right? There will be small clusters here, small clusters there. And as the competition grows, some of them will drop out. You know, some of them will be gone, that’s for sure. So right now again, it is still early, but I think the cluster strategy is going to be here for a while.  [10:00]

So we have, you know, companies like maybe Decentraland or Sandbox that are taking the lead right now but as the bigger players come out, whether it’s going to be Facebook or Amazon or PayPal and so forth. Things will change, definitely it’s going to change. And there will be multiple finance or banks in the metaverse. So again, there will be multiple banks and so forth. But sooner or later, you know, if we want to function this like a good economy, some of them have to go and then that would then form a very big Earth that we talk about, you know. So that’s just the beginning.

[BREAK] Philipp: So the metaverse is already here, and more metaverses are on their way. But there’s still so much uncertainty about how the metaverse will change the way we live, work, and play. Will we need VR headsets to experience these alternate worlds? Can we make money and live our daily lives in them, and if we do, what happens to our physical, real-world lives? We’ll cover more of that later in the podcast, so keep listening.

Philipp: Absolutely, and then let’s go back to that point that you made before technology, right? The people who are more technology savvy. You said they kind of know what it will be on from a technological standpoint. Do you want to elaborate on this and kind of what is your point on that?

Anndy: I think there are two things that I think are very important in this metaverse from a tech perspective. First thing will be Web 3.0 because with Web 3.0, it clearly means that things are going on a different, maybe a [12:00] different perspective per se right? You can see things like right now you can look at the metaverse in the gaming sector.

You know, you have Roblox, you know, you have Minecraft, you have a Fortnite and so forth. That gives you a glimpse on how things are going to be like. So Web 3.0 is going to make it a lot more sophisticated, a lot more engaging. And also, of course, from a safety aspect, Web 3.0 is going to fit in very nicely. So tech guys, we all know about all these things? The other thing that I want to mention is how is crypto going to fit into the whole virtual world or to the whole metaverse?

Philipp: That’s a good point because I think everything comes back to this crypto/NFT space because that was the precursor before Facebook just announced it. But already throughout the year, you heard it a lot more. And it’s always that connection back to crypto and NFTs and musical contracts and stuff like this, right? So that would be super interesting if you can elaborate on that.

Anndy: So again, the same thing that I’ve brought up about what you see in the real world will happen in the metaverse. So NFTs and all these things are just part of the concept because if you look at it from a more realistic basis, it’s like, for example, you have a lot of good paintings at home, right? There’s no way you can showcase all of them, but you can showcase that as an NFT artwork in the virtual gallery in the metaverse, right? Same concept. You know, you have a lot of watches you can’t wear all of them, but you could NFT them and showcase them, verify and showcase them in the metaverse. So I think NFT is the very first connector.

The next thing that [14:00] we will see would be something like I mentioned in one of my articles, you know, I call it metaverse-fi or something, you know, metaverse plus a fi behind. So, that becomes a place where you could earn, you could stake, you could get a good interest out of the things that you are doing in the metaverse, right?

You can buy the things in the metaverse, you can cash out as well, you know. When you cash out, of course, you use the crypto to cash out and then go back to fiat. And then of course, you live your real life and that could be the case, right?

That could be the case on how we can connect crypto and everything together because ultimately, it’s not just about NFTs and so forth. Someone somewhere has got to be able to become the financial giant, for example, in the metaverse to help facilitate all the payments, all the revenue streams and so forth. So I’m still waiting for a couple of good players.

You could come in to help facilitate things in the metaverse and again this is not crazy. You know you could have a real-life scenario. You know where you have firefighters, you have policemen, you have your law enforcers and so forth, those guys need to be paid as well. Paid by who? Paid by the Metaverse creator, right? So everything would be very real in the metaverse, it’s not just about AR/VR, you can literally live your life virtually on the metaverse, earn the money, do what you need to do even from an education standpoint. So this is just again, there’s no limit to what we can do in the metaverse.

Philipp: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I want to go back to tokens and crypto inside the metaverse [16:00] here in a second. But you did mention VR and AR, right? Because I think that it might be one of the misconceptions. Maybe not, but that’s the one thing that everyone asks for is it’s something, you know, it’s like close to The Matrix, right? We get hooked onto something. We go into the metaverse for 10 hours, and then we come back out of it into a Ready Player One-style kind of metaverse that’s where people that are not so sophisticated, probably are not so into the topic they think that’s what it’s going to be because obviously, people listen to the news and they saw Mark Zuckerberg with the headset on, right? So, is that necessarily –  that VR and AR headsets have to be involved in this or not?

Anndy: To be real honest, personally, I don’t think so. To be honest, that’s just additional hardware that you talk about and so forth. It’s just like when people tell me, hey Andy, things will get really very real in the metaverse. Very, very real – you’ve got to wear your headsets. You’ve got to be in a special chair where you could really feel everything and so forth. I said, Well, that is a very good thing to happen but then is it necessary? I think it’s not necessary, right? There’s always a mouse, there’s always the screen. As long as you can hear, you can see you are in the metaverse, man. There’s nothing going to stop you from that. But I had a conversation with one of my partners and she was telling me, we are all restricted by our physical body, right? We grow old, we grow sick and so forth, right? But in the metaverse, there’s no such thing,right? If it continues to be like that. How about [18:00] connecting our mind into the metaverse, you know, so when the physical body goes away, your mind’s activities are still in the metaverse, you know that that could be a new metaverse. It means that in the metaverse you are always immortal, right? While the real person could be gone, right. So that could be another phase of the metaverse, right? And that could be something. Elon Musk, you know, is interested in right when we talk about all the other different things that sound a bit like sci-fi right now but it can happen, you know, and that is the extreme end of the other side of that metaverse. Who knows?

Philipp: Yeah, so it’s not necessary, but it’s like it’s part of the interaction, I guess with the VR/AR aspect of it. So do you think that in terms of short-term, long term-developments that you see within this topic in the beginning? Like again, I told you, I have an Oculus Quest, right? The first version because I like to try things out. So I haven’t really touched it that much, to be honest, because it’s kind of boring, I thought so far.

Anndy: I sold mine.

Philipp: Yeah, see exactly right. Because I think like, yeah, it’s OK, you can move around. But yes, during COVID-19 would be nice, but then my friends don’t have it so they can go, you know, like it’s I think it’s more for playing right now than anything else, right? How do you see that changing in the short term and then in the long term?

Anndy: I think again, if you are talking about the specific product, If all your friends have it, you know, then it seems like a necessary tool, right? But if your friends, I mean, do not have it, everyone can just function on a mobile phone, [20:00] to be very honest. You know, a metaverse is not restricted to what you see. In the metaverse, you can also operate from what you hear so you can move around with a headset on and you can still be in the metaverse, right? So it’s not restricted by what you see visually or what you see and hear, but you can be separated. You know, you can be in a metaverse that there’s completely no sound, completely silent. That’s a metaverse.

You can be in a metaverse where there’s only sound. What’s stopping you from that, right? So again, that additional two or additional products is good for the brand owner, right? Hey dude, you got to buy this, you know, it’s on Amazon, it’s from Google, it’s from Microsoft. You use this and you can connect to the world. But then when you use this because of the hefty price.

Many of our friends do not have it. So I tell you very honest, I used it for about one and a half months. I used it twice and I said goodbye to the thing, because no one is connected to me man. And then and then is that a metaverse? Yes, it is also a metaverse, a metaverse of your own man, so I don’t see that as a selling point. That’s just additional things that companies try to upsell. That’s how I see it.

Philipp: Yeah, absolutely, and I think that’s all really, really good points, and I’m with you on this, right? So I think taking a step back then and talking a little bit more about how crypto fits into the whole metaverse discussion, right? And I think just talking about the Oculus Quest, it’s a network effect. You need people on the network in order to make it robust, right, and people making them want to use it. [22:00] So the same is true for the crypto projects. So which ones do you see, like you mentioned already, Decentraland and you know, some of the other ones, where do you see the biggest opportunities there? What are they working on? Like, what’s exciting about them? And where do you see the most opportunity, or at least not the opportunity to make money. But as a company themselves, like where do you see they can actually make a dent in that universe?

Anndy: I think in order to make a dent or make a good mark in what they are doing, there are a few aspects. Number one is the ability to let other people earn money, right? If they are holding onto a certain cryptocurrency, or a cryptocurrency within an ecosystem, the first thing is they have to make sure that people can earn money. So when people can earn that kind of money, you will see billions of people flocking in, right?

Real or not real, I don’t know, because some of them could be bots right? So first is the money aspect, right? Then you form the community and then within the community, you can come up with many different products, right? You can be, well in the metaverse, as long as you apply to be a policeman, you get 1,000 tokens a day for example. So investors come in and some investors want to work harder, they become a policeman, for example, and then some of them might come in and say, I’m going to open a bank, right? And this is the amount of tokens that I’m going to use and I’m going to stake, then they become a facilitator within a metaverse, right? Some people want to be a property developer, so they come in, they build more land, they reclaim the land, and so forth and so on.

Then there’s another role, [24:00] so all the different role playing will just add up, right? That’s the second point. The third point that I want to really bring out is how the metaverse and the real world connects, right? Because you can’t be on the metaverse 24/7, right? So there’s a point where you need to come back to where you are from, right? So, what is the connection point? It goes back to whatever you earn in the metaverse. Can it be cashed out and used in real life, right?

So that’s another portion, the bridge between the metaverse and the bridge between your real life right now, for your physical body. Yeah. So, these are the three things that I think are fairly good to look at. But if you look at the current market right now, there is a lot of speculation. So you will see a lot of NFTs being hyped up, the prices being pumped.

There are like some galleries like I’ve mentioned, some galleries where people can show off what they have and that’s about all right now, right? So right now at this current moment, what you see, things in the metaverse are very, very straightforward.

Either you play a game, you do an NFT, you show off some properties that you have. This is just the beginning. So whatever I’ve mentioned in point number one and point number two has not really happened yet. So I’m still waiting for that point to come. I’m also still waiting for that, really Big Brother that can now say that, hey, I’m the number 1 metaverse in 2020 or 2021 or 2022. [26:00] So we need to find a few of these big brothers because right now there isn’t a real competitor right now in the metaverse space, as of today. I want to first see the MSN that comes out, then I want to see the Yahoo. Then maybe the Google is going to come out. So there is a certain phase for it. Right now, I’ve not seen that yet. Until we see that first big competitor rolling things out and people are using it, then I think things will get really exciting whether it’s the price or whether it’s adoption, things will get really exciting after this.

Philipp: Yeah. Absolutely. And those are some good pointers there. Since this is a personal finance podcast as well, right? And we talk about investments and things like that. From that perspective, do you foresee the big banks being left behind in the metaverse or in the next, this whole decentralised finance coming up, right?

Being really strong now the last 2 years and really like, you know, it’s yield farming, right? Like you said before, earning money digitally. Do you think the traditional finance player will catch onto this trend because they have this cash? Same with those like you said, for a big player to come into the metaverse. But where do you see the link between traditional finance and this new decentralised finance?

Anndy: There’s a big link. If you look at the whole decentralised market or DeFi market right now, it seems big. But if you compare in terms of the size with the traditional finance, it’s just a very small amount of money right now.

So I think it’s not true that the traditional finance guys are not into DeFi. [28:00] I have seen listed companies, private banks that I spoke with. They are going into the DeFi space or if not at least into the crypto space. So I think things will catch up, and right now at this current moment, to be real honest, it is still good not to have all the traditional finance guys to come in because I don’t want it to be a case where the traditional guys come in and take over the lead and then and then bring over the bad habits as well in the traditional finance space. So right now, with the innovation period, I think it is good to be a bit more cowboy-ish in a way.

It is good to explore and also think the risk right now is a lot higher, right? So I think the traditional guys should not just come in for full scale because anyways, I don’t think they have such a big guts to do that right. They shouldn’t do that, but they should really start to look at crypto. Invest small amounts into certain companies and learn from that.

Because what we are doing in the DeFi world is not too different from what we see in traditional banks or traditional financial services companies. But it is how we operate, how fast things are and the speed alone is something that traditional guys will not understand. They would think that it is a Ponzi scheme. [30:00] This is a Ponzi scheme. Well, to be honest, many startups including those who are big right now, right at the beginning, everyone thought was a Ponzi scheme, right? They go in with a nice PowerPoint and see some really big words.

Philipp:  Sell a dream, right? Yeah.

Anndy: Some big words and then some sounds like bullshit. And then that’s it, you know, then they got a 5 million dollar investment, for example, because I do see it in angel investing as well. But coming back to the point is that right now the traditional guys are already putting a foot in.

They are trying to bring what they are doing in traditional finance into the space, bringing more liquidity into the space. I think it’s good. I dare say that I think almost all the big players, financial big players, have already started putting some money into the crypto space.

They are already thinking about how they could stake some of their assets into the DeFi space because they want to have some good returns as well. Do they dare to put in 90% of their holdings? They don’t, right? But many of which I think fall between 5% to about 30%percent and that’s the reality. People are already doing that.

Philipp: Yeah, exactly. I think those are good points. So we talked about the rise of the metaverse, right? We kind of think, hey, it’s going to come. It might take longer. We don’t know what the preeminent player is going to be, right?

Who is going to be the next Facebook, Google, Apple etc at this point in time. But with the rise of the topic, with getting it more attention, people are asking, how can they be part of it, right?

So let’s take it from two angles. One is from [32:00] someone who is already tech savvy. It’s probably much easier for them. They think about it all day long, right?

But for the listeners who have no idea where they should even start researching or, you know, obviously listening to this podcast already helps today, right? But what are some actionable steps?

Because I always believe that you need to try things out in order to learn about them. So that’s why I buy stuff randomly. And if there’s new technology, especially if people ask you for your opinion, you want to know, hey, at least what’s kind of going on? What would you suggest people start doing? Is it investing in crypto tokens, buying an NFT? What else can there be in order to get more exposure to this, or at least learn?

Anndy: I think there are a few steps to it. Those that are not very tech savvy, try to get yourself into a virtual classroom. That is a small glimpse of how a metaverse is going to be like, right? How are we going to meet friends in the virtual world? That’s number one.

Step number two is, it is obvious that cryptocurrency will be one of the key connectors in the space, in the metaverse. So try to get yourself in crypto, you can hold some stablecoin. You know, you have to know what is a Binance Smart Chain, what is Ethereum?

I think they should hold a bit of that, just to have a feel on how cryptocurrencies are like, how you can cash it out, how you can use that to buy some things, or how you could walk to Starbucks or maybe another coffee shop just to buy a drink. That’s the second thing that they should always do is try it out first man. And then the third step is to go into a bit of crypto investments, right? To see how the whole crypto finance [34:00] is going to work, right? Because many of us, or even some of my friends, if you asked them to transact in a DEX, a decentralised exchange, they’ll say hey, it’s so difficult to do it. How am I going to get my first hundred dollars into the investment? By credit card? Ok, but then credit card transactions sometimes takes 14 days with the KYC and everything.

And then in my ranking, the last bit is maybe I buy a AR or VR equipment, just to look cool,  just to tell people, hey, I’m in the metaverse, I’m not just chatting on the screen. That could be the final bit. Of course, the last bit would be like The Matrix – you got to plug it in, and then off you go. You’ll be there for a long time. So I think there are steps to that extreme.

But the main thing for me as an investor myself, try not to gamble, right? Always do your own research before doing anything. Crypto is not for everybody, as of now, but if you are willing to try with some money that you can lose, you are actually one of the pioneers of this whole innovative thing. So try with a minimum amount. Get to know what’s happening. Then when you get into the metaverse in the near future, things will be a lot easier. You know, you can tell your friends that I’ve tried it and made it in 2021. You’re a pioneer.

Philipp: Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned, you know, exchanges, we talked about the KYC thing a little bit as well. [36:00] Losing money or like, should they have it in the exchange or not, right? Where do you see since we still are not in one world right? Like we said, maybe it is in 10 years time, right? Or in 15 years time where everyone, you know, we govern together as one world instead of different nations.

But we’re not there. So every country has different rules about this all the time and regulations, right? Do you think overall more people, especially in the late 40s or early 50s, 60s, you know, those people who have a lot of assets actually in fiat currency, right? Denominated assets like bonds and stocks. For them to get in, I think one of the hurdles is that there is not too much regulatory oversight regulation. There’s that stamp of approval. Good or bad, right? T

hat should be discussed. Do you see this coming or would it be very difficult because of all these different countries, but everyone is going to do it differently. But that should probably drive adoption as well, right? Because I know a lot of people fear regulation, but in one way it could actually drive a lot of adoption because people will trust it more, right?

Anndy: Yeah. I’m actually one of the first few guys who are very much pro-government, for crypto. Many of my friends want things to be decentralised. They say, screw the banks, screw the government and so forth. That could happen but not now. So we got to be good buddies with the regulators because regulators are the one who set the rules in the real world. They help to accelerate things. They help to accelerate adoption. They help to indirectly finance the crypto world as well, right? So I don’t think that we should fear regulations.

And crypto being borderless, there are no boundaries in some ways [38:00] between the countries. What I do see in the short run is those people who are more tech savvy and willing to take up the risks and know the regulations well enough in their own country, they will start to invest. I’ve seen a big, big new influx of new users, from all over the world. You know, registering themselves on reputable exchanges. I have friends around me and so forth. They do that because they feel that some of the returns that they get back in the real world are not as great. So crypto could be a way for them to hedge some of their finances, right? If they have this kind of mentality and not the God of gambler mentality where they just show hands and so forth. I think those guys would be doing well, right? As you start to experience and experiment as well with the crypto market, you will realise what is your risk appetite, right? Are you going in for 1x or 2x? I think it’s highly, highly OK, man, not difficult, right?

You know, but if you are the greedy ones, you know, I have friends who made maybe $20 million, in the last bull run, right now, they are poor. You know why? They forgot to cash out. They forgot to convert it into a stablecoin, for example. They didn’t do that right because they were hoping that a certain coin can go up to a 1000x. Is it possible? It is possible but [40:00] you, you are staking $20 million and are left with maybe $300,000 now. That’s a big difference, right?

Philipp: Big, big difference.

Anndy: So as an investor, a real investor, you have to weigh your risk. What you should do next. And if you are not greedy, you come out with a 10x. God bless everybody, right? If you want to stay, wait for it to be a 1000x, it’s possible, but then you gotta get God to bless yourself, because I’m not. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, right?

So my advice is apart from doing good due diligence and research work, you’ve got to set a certain target for yourself. When are you going to exit? Are you going to be the greedy guy or you’re going to be the smart guy? Or are you going to like, go 1000x or nothing, right? So, it depends on individual risk appetite, but for beginners, I think just set a low return and then just go with it. Once you sell it away, don’t think about it any more. So that’s how it is.

If I keep thinking about the things that I’ve sold, you know, I could be a billionaire. And then right now, I’m not a billionaire. I would get damn depressed, man. So, we just got to set the right goals.

Philipp: No, I totally believe you and I do, because we’re going to wrap it up not too long from now, but I have a few more questions that I want to get to, and I want to actually get back to the way we kind of mentioned asset allocation. I want to get there in a second. But before that, we talked about how they can be part of it, right? How they can try it out, how they can be part of the metaverse in this crypto space in general. But how do I register myself almost [42:00] on the metaverse right?

Like, you know, having an email domain on the internet, do I need to have a web domain? Is there something like this in the metaverse? For my own identity, how do I trademark a brand or business in the metaverse? I think that’s what people are now thinking about. Oh, this is the next thing. Or if I do want to make money there, how do I? One thing is trading. But if I want to earn money with a product or a service or a business model, is there already such a thing?

Anndy: Ok. There are. If you look at it from a business perspective, yeah. You know, the big brands, Louis Vuitton, for example, they are into NFTs, right? So NFTs are really a step for them to enter into the space, creating brand awareness and then selling it. You can sell a T-shirt in real life and you can sell the same T-shirt in the metaverse, right? So are there things like that happening? Yes, they are. Is that going to grow? Yes, it is going to grow because as you see, more brands are using NFTs as a stepping stone to the virtual world or to the metaverse, right?

So we will see a lot more of this.

And then you ask about your identity and so forth. I think, just to be safe, you could use your own wallet as a login, right? We are all moving into the Web 3.0 and so forth, right? So the wallet can be your identity and then the wallet itself will help you to navigate [44:00] across multiple worlds, right? There’s no need for you to have a bank account in Switzerland, a bank account in Singapore that you could transact with. No such thing – with that one wallet it potentially connects you to all the virtual worlds or the metaverse and with that wallet itself, in some of these metaverse, they also empower you to create.

If you buy over the building, you want to have a makeover of the building and you call it yourself, Chanel, that’s possible, right? So that’s how brand building starts, right? It depends on the services that you are providing.

If you have enough, for example, if you have enough cryptocurrency, you can go in and become a bank. Who is going to stop you? No one is going to stop you. Do you need to get a license right now? Well, I’m quite sure that these metaverses do not have any form of license. They don’t have a license themselves, right? So in the world of metaverse, as long as you have the money. You can create anything you want. You can be the bank, you can be a mafia, you can be anything that you want as long as you have the money. Yeah, that’s how it works.

Philipp: Very powerful. But you talked earlier about what people can try out, putting a little of their eggs in that basket. How are you personally invested today in your own personal asset allocation?

Anndy: I think asset allocation right now with crypto about 70%. And the rest is 30%. Why am I saying this is because I believe that crypto will change the finance systems. Why is it 70/30? Because, we still live in the real life [46:00] so that 30% is how we function as a real human being, a real Anndy and a real Phillipp in the real world. Most of it are in crypto, even for the donations that I’m giving out, on a monthly basis, it’s all in crypto, because I felt that it’s a lot swifter, a lot faster, to do that, and some of these organisations that are overseas, they can receive the funds a lot faster. I don’t need to go to through a bank transfer with a swift code and then remittance, that’s just too troublesome, right?

Philipp: I’ll tell you, I used – when you say this, I have a really good story on this because I think that was eye opening and life changing, I think, because, you’re living in different countries, like you use Transferwise, but you still have the banks. It still takes time. You’re waiting for something to arrive. You’re paying wire fees. This fee, this fee, this fee. I recently made a transaction.

I bought something online and I used Lightning through the Strike app, and it’s mind blowing when you do it for the first time. It’s literally instant across the world and done, yeah, seconds, right? It’s frictionless. You just scan and done. And I was so impressed with that, and I think that’s what you mentioned earlier. This is where we’ll blow these people’s minds when they come from traditional finance, because that’s what it should be. It’s so ridiculous to me when you transfer money across borders – how long it takes, right? And the fees that are charged. And just sometimes you don’t even know where the money is for a few days because it’s just up in the air somewhere. And no one is acknowledging it. It’s sent. But the reception is not there, right? So that to me is huge. And just because you just mentioned this as well, this was for me one of those. It’s a huge moment to see that for the first time happening.

Anndy: It’s really real Philipp, it is really very real. [48:00] To give you an example, you could have bought something that’s very leisurely, right? Maybe another gadget, but you just imagine, you know, there is a disaster in a certain country. You know, you’re still going to send fiat over and then it takes a few days. They don’t have that kind of time to wait right, then send over some USDT, for example, send it over. They will find ways to transfer it into real cash. That’s not difficult.

There are a lot of – depending on where you are, some of them are very, very mobile. They have mobile OTC, running around and then you have money to change. They would just give you the cash. So I think crypto is really here to stay. 70/30 right now, is my proportion. It might grow to maybe 80/20. Or it might go a bit less depending on the situation. And some people ask me what bags I have and so forth? I mean, out of the 70, slightly more than half of them are in the top coins, right? And then the rest are all in the rather shittier coins we have all seen. Because it used to be real honest, yeah, if you talk to your friends, when Bitcoin goes up by 3% they will tell you, Oy man, it’s a Boomtown Charlie day, man; 3% is good.

But then if you hold on to some of these altcoins, you know? It could be a 1000% so that’s the reason why I separate the basket very, very clearly, right? And then of course, I have another basket, which is just purely for donations. So whatever that is being made or donated goes to the wallet and then the wallet itself would just be a fund for donations, because every month I’m doing that [50:00] at least for the 2+ years, ever since I was trapped in Singapore. So, I felt that a crypto allocation to your current asset is very important. Whether you’re going to cash out or hold the crypto that’s a separate matter but as long as you keep yourself in the forefront of crypto, you will learn a lot of new things on a daily basis and that kind of return would be very amazing. So that’s how I look at crypto and that’s how I look at the metaverse. I really hope that the adoption can go really fast in year 2022 because I felt that 2022 is a very, very good time for things to mature as we start to open things up, we will see a lot more adoption across different borders, across different worlds and so forth. And that’s going to be really cool. And again, that will also help to flourish this whole metaverse space. What we talked about, spiritually, you remain alive in the metaverse that should not be something that is too far away too. Shout out to Elon Musk and ask him to do more. Maybe he could help.

Philipp: Exactly. Shout out to Elon. Well, that’s awesome. Hey, Anndy, I learned so much today. If people want to learn more and find you on the internet, what’s the best way to connect with you, to see what you’re up to, to see your next steps? Anything you want to shout out?

Anndy: [52:00] Um, I think you could just reach me out to me on Twitter. If not, you can go to my website or if you are looking at things related to crypto and so forth, my big team from Big One Exchange will be there to also help you. We are very friendly. We hope to help everyone you know who have the questions. And that’s how it is. Anyway, it’s very easy to search for me. Thanks Philipp.

Philipp: Thank you. Really appreciate having you on.


Episode contributors

  • Anndy Lian (Chairman-Asia at BigONE Exchange)
  • Philipp Muedder (Head of Financial Planning at StashAway)


About StashAway

StashAway is a brand of Asia Wealth Platform Pte Ltd (201624878Z), which is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (CMS100604).


Original Source:

Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

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Op-ed by Anndy Lian: The rise of the use of blockchain and crypto in Southeast Asia

Op-ed by Anndy Lian: The rise of the use of blockchain and crypto in Southeast Asia
By Anndy Lian – Oct 29, 2021 | 09:25 AM GMT+7

TheLEADER A recent Chainalysis report showing stellar growth in cryptocurrency adoption in Central and Southeast Asia (CSAO), making it the fourth-largest crypto market in the world, should come as no surprise.

According to the blockchain analytics firm, the region saw a 2 per cent growth in global market share between July 2020 and June 2021. Which may on face value does not sound significant, but this growth made CSAO the fourth-largest cryptocurrency market in the world, with over $572.5 billion in value sent during the year. This number represents 14 per cent of total global cryptocurrency transactions – and a growth rate of 706 per cent for the region for the year July 2020 to June 2021.

This rosy regional picture of Southeast Asian crypto development had a reality check when on September 24th, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) announced that all cryptocurrency transactions in China are illegal.

“Virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities,” the PBoC confirmed, warning it “seriously endangers the safety of people’s assets”. Is this a sign that crypto innovation in Southeast Asia is stalled, or are there good reasons for optimism despite the China ban?

“We will see an increasing exodus of Chinese crypto entrepreneurs, and I believe it will lead to a diffusion of crypto technology in Southeast Asia and accelerate the rise of Southeast Asia as a hotbed of crypto innovation,” said Singapore-based Lily Z. King, writing in Forkast.

King suggested an upside to all the FUD caused by the ban, which will drive a significant decentralization of crypto power from China to other markets, particularly Southeast Asia.

“As the economy of Southeast Asia has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, the new inflow of crypto capital and technology might bring a much-needed boost for their digital economy. Taking the long-term perspective, this diffusion is good for the builder-type among Chinese crypto entrepreneurs and is good for the crypto movement globally,” she concluded.

If that thesis is correct, what existing trends in crypto/blockchain are likely to simply accelerate, rather than jump-starting new innovation?

In the Chainalysis report, which to note looks wider than Southeast Asia to include central Asia and Oceania, there has been a marked growth in decentralized finance (DeFi) activity. From May 2020, DeFi activity (as a share of all transaction volume) skyrockets, reaching above 50 per cent by February. This activity is primarily driven by Uniswap, Instadapp, and dydx, with significant activity on Compound, Curve, AAVE, and 1inch.

But behind these insights what can we see in regional user and business adoption that can help understand the possible impacts of the China ban?

The island-state of Singapore is widely regarded as a leading force for crypto and blockchain adoption. According to a Hacker Noon article, there are 634 companies incorporated in Singapore related to crypto, with a total value of $8.3 billion according to CoinMarketCap.

Despite this existing activity, in late 2020, a new multi-million-dollar program was launched to strengthen Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem. One of the program leaders, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said the need for such support was due to the lack of large-scale successful use cases outside the fintech sector which was hampering mainstream adoption.

“Its nascence means end-user companies have a lack of codified business models on how to work together using blockchain’s trusted environment. The industry is showing signs of silo-ed, specialized, blockchain solutions rather than interoperable network blockchains,” said IMDA.

The IMDA also noted that support for startups seeking like-minded partners was lacking. While the Singapore Blockchain Ecosystem Report 2020, published at the end of last year, found that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated the application of blockchain technology, used to verify health credentials.

A key driver for crypto businesses setting up shop in Singapore, independent of the latest China ban, is the regulatory clarity provided by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). And indeed, Singapore is already home to many Chinese crypto companies, including Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange founded in China.

“Singapore provides the regulatory clarity with various regulations for different kinds of crypto activities (payment tokens, securities, custody, crypto fund management, etc.). Naturally, that would be attractive for any crypto companies, whether from China or elsewhere, to consider setting up shop in Singapore,” said Chia Hock Lai, co-chairman of Blockchain Association Singapore.

Consider the demographics of the region’s top six economies (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam) with a combined population of around 580 million, of which half are aged below 35.

In terms of grassroots adoption of crypto, as opposed to business adoption in Southeast Asia, Vietnam not only tops the rankings for the region but for the world when calculated in terms of the transaction volumes for peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms.

As Chainalysis reported, for their 2021 global report, many residents use P2P cryptocurrency exchanges as their primary on-ramp into cryptocurrency, often because they don’t have access to centralized exchanges. Another reason given for the high uptake in Vietnam is the interest in gambling, which as its illegal gives a boost to demand for such activities through crypto-assets.

Southeast Asia also has a sizable unbanked population, primarily found in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Of the estimated 1.7 billion unbanked people today, 290 million live in the region. This is another contributing factor behind the high P2P uptake, certainly, it’s why Facebook’s crypto wallet Novi is predicted to have a high uptake in the region.

In the Philippines for example, 71 per cent of adults do not have a bank account, according to a 2019 report by the country’s central bank. And unlike the US where younger users have failed to drive Facebook adoption, in the Philippines, almost 33 per cent of the users are aged 18 to 24. This user profile is supported by figures from Metamask, with Filipinos making up a fifth of its ten million active monthly users – driven by the success of the NFT-based game Axie Infinity which allows people to earn by playing.

“The largest swath of gamers on the platform come from the island nation – a little more than 40 per cent – according to the powerhouse behind Axie Infinity, a Vietnamese startup called Sky Mavis,” according to Business Insider.

“The biggest driver for crypto over the next few years is not going to be DeFi, it’s not going to be opening up centralized exchanges. It’s going to be GameFi,” Lu said in a recent Forkast report.

“GameFi is going to drive the crypto adoption in Southeast Asia and South Asia…blockchain games and a play-to-earn sector is what is going to take the adoption of non-crypto users and [turn] them into crypto users once they realize that they can earn more money or supplement their earnings with the game where they can play for two hours, three hours. It’s pretty crazy,” Lu confirmed.

The rich diversity of crypto adoption, whether successful crypto-based businesses or grassroots play-to-earn gamers, shows that there is great potential in Southeast Asia.

While Singapore in many ways is leading the way, the need as identified by the IMDA for interoperable network blockchains underlines that there has to be coordinated action from all stakeholders, to make Singapore the world’s leading user of decentralized technology, faced with the concerted efforts of the Chinese state to be the dominant blockchain power.

Whether it’s better serving the needs of the unbanked, or leading the way in the use of blockchain to spur medical research, the opportunities for innovation are there for the taking.


Original Source:


Anndy Lian is an early blockchain adopter and experienced serial entrepreneur who is known for his work in the government sector. He is a best selling book author “Blockchain Revolution 2030”.

Currently, he is appointed as the Chief Digital Advisor at Mongolia Productivity Organization, championing national digitization. Prior to his current appointments, he was the Chairman of BigONE Exchange, a global top 30 ranked crypto spot exchange and was also the Advisory Board Member for Hyundai DAC, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. Lian played a pivotal role as the Blockchain Advisor for Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an intergovernmental organization committed to improving productivity in the Asia-Pacific region.

An avid supporter of incubating start-ups, Anndy has also been a private investor for the past eight years. With a growth investment mindset, Anndy strategically demonstrates this in the companies he chooses to be involved with. He believes that what he is doing through blockchain technology currently will revolutionise and redefine traditional businesses. He also believes that the blockchain industry has to be “redecentralised”.

j j j