Developers and investors across Asia gathered at one of the biggest cryptocurrency and fintech conferences in the region to discuss the shifting landscape, evolving regulatory frameworks, and the overall state of Asia’s crypto markets.
On September 11th and 12th, Invest : Asia 2019 attracted developers, investors, and stakeholders across the crypto community, financial institutions, and the tech industry to jointly explore how Asian crypto markets function and impact the world at large.
At the two-day conference and expo, participants from across the region and beyond flocked to Marina Bay Sands Convention Center in Singapore to network, expand their business, and get updated on the latest developments in the industry.
Other tech companies in the areas of blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Network Virtualization & Software-Defined Networks (NV/SDN), and 5G also joined the event, enriching the dynamic between industry stakeholders and putting on full display the entire spectrum of opportunities open to players in Asia’s markets.
Throughout the talks and presentations at the event, several speakers arrived at the same conclusion that cryptocurrency is playing a larger role in Asia’s financial markets, even after the ICO bubble in 2017 caused cooling sentiment in the cryptosphere and prompted investors to more carefully consider crypto projects and investment opportunities.
Overall, experts stated that the entire industry is seeing rapid growth, as regulators work to keep up with the demands of the market.
Bobby Ong, Co-founder of CoinGecko and recently listed as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, suggested that the crypto markets in Asia are thriving due to its young, digital-savvy population, love of speculation and risk, and overall non-restrictive regulatory climate.
Ong noted that 58% of all trading and 65% of IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings) this year are from Asia, with Singapore widely recognized as the fundraising hub of the region.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Allaire, Co-founder & CEO of Circle, expressed optimism for the Asian market, saying “lots of activities are flourishing in Asia” and that the rise of stablecoin and DeFi point to “the birth of the new global financial system.”
Several sessions at Invest: Asia 2019 were devoted to different types of investment and fundraising, with STOs (Security Token Offerings) emerging as a possible way forward.
Antony Lewis, Director of Research at R3, revealed that three key challenges in the STO landscape of Asian countries are ecosystem readiness, regulatory harmonization, and opportunities for good investments.
On the other hand, Zachary Cefaratti of Dalma Capital Management Limited called for infrastructure upgrades, saying, “What the STO space needs is not new regulation on STO but an update of the legacy system to adopt STO.”
Another rising business vertical is crypto-custody. Coinbase disclosed that it has been receiving up to US$400 million in deposits per week. Meanwhile, Vincent Chok, Founder of Legacy Trust, pointed out that Asia is leading the crypto space because large populations are still unbanked, requiring Asians to get innovative with new financial instruments.
Nearly two decades ago in the early 2000s, Southeast Asia suffered a financial crisis that greatly impacted investment in the region. After almost 20 years, the overall financial landscape has returned to a point of strength, with investments being made from within the region itself and from foreign investors. With the rise of cryptocurrency and fintech, the years ahead are shaping up to reverse the flow of innovation, from Asian countries to the rest of the world.
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