Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Alyssa Tsai, Founder and CEO of PANONY, a consulting firm that aims to arm the global blockchain industry with localized knowledge and access to resources to engage effectively. Tsai talked about building a successful business, gaining trust from top-tier firms, starting an accelerator to help drive the blockchain community, and her vision for the future of blockchain.
Asia Blockchain Review: Can you tell us about the inspiration for the founding of PANONY? How have you gone the extra mile to establish your company?
Alyssa Tsai: The idea of having a professional consulting firm started in late 2017 when blockchain industry peers complained to me about not having any agencies delivering services in a proper manner. Having a very legitimate background myself — from a renowned law school to the world-leading PR firm Ogilvy to Australia’s best data-driven consulting firm Isentia (which counts Apple and Huawei as clients) to the fashion bible Vogue — my past experiences sitting on many sides of the table and helping top-notch firms, together with my investment experiences in crypto with my own thesis and due diligence, have empowered me to consult for industry leaders in blockchain.
With this skillset, I started building a team of talented individuals with my Co-Founder, Tongtong Bee, a former senior journalist with PRC state-owned media. We recruited the best talents, who share the same values of integrity, professionalism, and being client-oriented, from other top-tier firms.
We have set high standards in establishing ourselves on par with world-class firms, including curating company culture, holding training workshops, setting up strict working protocol and SOPs to ensure we are doing things the right way rather than the convenient way. While some other firms might rush and deliver poor quality services, we act with full confidence and are willing to take our time to grow with our clients through all stages, from ideation to strategy to execution.
We also go the extra mile in bringing on board the brightest veterans who share our vision and act as advisors of PANONY. Advisors like Qtum’s CMO Stella Kung and many more have helped us thrive in this industry.
ABR: How does PANONY gain the trust of clients in top-tier firms? What are you doing differently from other players?
AT: It takes a lot for PANONY to stand out and outperform ourselves. When we were relatively new, clients chose us because they believed in the team. As many well-known investors are aware, the team is one of the most important parts of all business. Our efforts to assemble the best talents worked out well.
Many other PR agencies or consulting firms rely on personnel with no background in PR or little knowledge in blockchain technology and tokenomics. Our team consists of journalists, PR experts, developers, investment bankers, and others that have previously helmed a blockchain project. With our collective expertise, we are fully capable of advising clients.
Now, after years of teamwork and service, we have also built splendid showcases and word-of-mouth proving that PANONY is a professional consulting firm that knows blockchain and crypto the best. On top of that, all of our services are tailor-made; to have a successful business, one cannot simply duplicate someone else’s work. Our strategies are unique and customized, exclusive to each client.
ABR: Can you share your opinions on building a successful business and the essential elements of building a strong brand? Can you offer tips from your experiences?
AT: The most important elements of building a strong brand is its mission, core values, and propositioning in its market. Having a clear mission helps you motivate and be powerful to move forward and to enable all stakeholders to understand why you matter to them. Getting the core values and propositioning set up will help accelerate further deployment and enhance recognition.
Think logically and creatively. This is also what we do for our clients when they have branding services or brand upgrading inquiries. We have a full process to ensure we are aligned with our clients and have taken all stages of a business’s growth into account. We also see things in the long run, in five-year time spans, and try to be scalable.
ABR: In your opinion, when will blockchain see mass adoption? Or has widespread adoption already begun?
AT: I do believe mass adoption is occurring already. It is an ongoing and gradual process. From what I know, all the leading enterprises have been working on it. When it comes to this, our role becomes even more significant in accelerating adoption and making it practical and executional in local areas, by advising them to head in the right direction and faster.
Take Facebook’s Project Libra for instance. Considering its existing user base and capital size, the Libra is definitely bound for mass adoption once it launches.
ABR: What is PANews’ role in driving the development of blockchain in Asian markets?
AT: PANews is one of Asia’s earliest blockchain news outlets to produce original content with actionable insights in assisting entrepreneurs, founders, and c-suites identifying key developments in the Asian blockchain industry. Led by Editor-in-Chief Tongtong Bee, a former state-media China News Agency reporter dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of research, PANews is also a Tencent Data Report Award winner and is regularly cited by Forbes, Caixin, CCN, and Cointelegraph.
PANONY Consulting provides paid tailor-made services, and, in parallel, PANews is the complementary advisory arm empowering industry leaders through our publications. By digesting what we have interpreted through our news, readers are able to stand on the shoulders of giants, learn from the best, and act accordingly to overcome barriers.
ABR: Can you tell us how PANONY, as a startup accelerator, helps blockchain projects to reach their goals in the Asian market?
AT: PANONY is a professional consulting firm considered by many to be a remarkable startup accelerator. The capabilities we bring to support blockchain startups in all aspects have helped many to rise strongly in Asia, especially for the Greater China and South Korea markets, through our well-established business.
Case in point, we helped US startups raise millions of dollars from impactful Chinese token funds, and then continued to collaborate on all sorts of post-investment management support, including public relations (PR), marketing, community building, and stakeholder relations. We are also partners with many leading firms in the blockchain industry. Overall we are happy to help one another connect and grow together.
In addition, we always go above and beyond to offer insights into cultural differences, helping entrepreneurs understand these nuances so as to make better decisions and avoid pitfalls.
ABR: What is the potential for blockchain in Southeast Asia? Are there any countries that we should keep an eye out for?
AT: Singapore is home and headquarters to many blockchain projects already, and I believe Vietnam will be the next force to be reckoned with in the blockchain space.
Some of my partners have been talking about the strong growth of their business in Vietnam. Whether it be user growth of exchanges, the number of participants at meetups and conferences, or how active the community is, all are sending very positive signals. I’ve also heard that Starbucks in Vietnam now accepts tokens as payment. This is super exciting!
ABR: How is blockchain changing the world?
AT: Blockchain is an inevitable power that leads us to the future. Like AI and the Internet, blockchain will enable us to unfold the next stories of humanity. We disrupt ourselves and evolve. We redefine freedom, work, entity, and identity.
Blockchain is for sure going to change the world, but questions remain: How should we use it? Which direction are we going? We should use blockchain to make something worthwhile, something superior to all that we have now.
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