Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Ian Lee, Vice-President of Signum Capital, a Singapore-based firm that exclusively consults in blockchain-enabled companies. Lee had recently joined us as an expert panelist at Unblock Bangkok to discuss Thailand’s blockchain landscape. In this interview, the Signum VP talked about the company’s mission to realize the future of blockchain economy, the firm’s game-changing projects, the importance of token generation events, and whether cryptocurrency will enter the mainstream.
Asia Blockchain Review: How is Signum Capital realizing the future of blockchain economy? How are you working to achieve this goal?
Ian Lee: Blockchain, like any other technology, is working towards making the future more efficient. However, it is a technology that is not so easy to comprehend, as it evolves really quickly and there are multiple barriers to overcome. We selectively invest and help companies to grow through our network of connections. Projects include Carry Protocol from Korea and Velo from Thailand, a remittance protocol. These kinds of companies are paving the way for the future use of blockchain technology.
ABR: What is Signum doing differently from other players in the market?
IL: Every company has its own methodology and culture. For us, we are here to support our investees in whichever area they require help. Recently, we have been very focused on helping a firm with its pre-raise, from token structure, private placement, PR, and marketing plans to connecting with exchanges. It’s a journey we take together, instead of merely putting in money and hoping for returns.
ABR: Can you tell us about Sparrow? Why did you choose to back the options trading platform?
IL: Sparrow is a Singapore-based digital assets trading platform. Launched on June 10th, 2019, Sparrow allows individuals and institutional traders to trade digital asset options that are transparent, customizable, secure, and really simple. It’s a great solution for traders, funds, exchanges, and individuals to boost the yield on their digital assets or protect them from market volatility.
We as a company, as well as individuals, are actively using the platform as well. I strongly recommend anyone with digital assets to check out the platform.
ABR: Can you tell us about some of your game-changing projects and the impact you have made in the blockchain community?
IL: We are really excited and looking forward to the launch of an upcoming project, Velolab.io, a next-generation credit and reserve network with the goal of using blockchain to create a universal fiat credit that is borderless and frictionless for any kind of financial settlement.
With that said, throughout our time investing in this space, we have developed trust amongst many blockchain firms globally, be it a fund or a project. We take our investments seriously, and in turn, the community takes a deeper dive into our investments.
ABR: Why are token generation events important? How do you contribute to events?
IL: It really depends on the token usage and aim of the token generation event (TGE). We’ve seen many projects that were able to fully raise through private placements, but went ahead with setting aside a certain allocation for a public TGE in order to gain outreach and community building. Depending on the purpose, we advise the project on different ways to approach the TGE.
ABR: Can you tell us about your project with Fysical, the decentralized location data market protocol? What are the next steps for this project?
IL: Fysical is a decentralized location data market protocol for the next data frontier: the physical world. With an initial focus on human location data, it provides the decentralized infrastructure for the next generation of big data: what stores you visit, where you travel, and how you move through the physical world. There are so many projects out there meant to tackle different subsets of data.
Data is knowledge, and knowledge is power. That is why “Google wants to know your location”.
ABR: From your experience in supporting high-profile blockchain companies in the region, what is the potential for blockchain in Southeast Asia? Are there any countries we should keep an eye on?
IL: Southeast Asia is very interesting. Every country has its own unique culture, and the approach for technology has to be localized. The potential for different blockchain use cases might have to be ‘country-specific’ to begin with and further tailored for expansion.
A very strong use case, for example, would be remittance. With the support of last-mile settlement networks, what if people could cash-in/cash-out from convenience stores all over the country without paying a huge fee for traditional remittances?
Let’s keep an eye on Thailand over the next two months. It’s going to get interesting.
ABR: What is the future of cryptocurrency? When will it reach mainstream users?
IL: I can’t predict the future, but it’s definitely going to be less speculative. We are seeing more conglomerates, family offices, and large corporations either studying or entering the space. The current market is still too speculative for it to reach mainstream users. However, with projects like Facebook’s Libra, given the number of users the social network has, there are so many things that can be done. We’ll have to wait and see.
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