Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Zipmex CEO Marcus Lim, who took part in last month’s Unblock Bangkok meetup as an expert panelist. His firm, Zipmex, is a digital asset exchange focused on providing retail and institutional investors the ability to invest securely in cryptocurrencies. Marcus talked about his vision for Zipmex, the potential of the cryptocurrency market in Southeast Asia, and how Zipmex is tackling the issues of trust, security, and regulation in the crypto industry across the region.
Asia Blockchain Review: What was the inspiration for founding Zipmex? Why did you decide to enter the crypto market?
Marcus Lim: I was born in Singapore but raised in Australia and, prior to starting Zipmex, was the CEO and founder of Oneflare.com.au — Australia’s fastest growing marketplace for local services. The company raised over AUD$19.5 million in venture funding and was partially acquired (35%) by Fairfax Media, one of the largest media company in Australia.
After Oneflare, I moved back to Singapore and started Segway Ventures to invest in technology companies in Southeast Asia. This was where I started exploring and investing in blockchain companies at the early stage of 2017. The problem, I realized, was the issue of getting access to purchasing and selling digital assets and cryptocurrency.
That’s why I decided to start Zipmex.com. My aspiration was to make Zipmex the most trusted digital asset exchange in the Asia Pacific, and our approach is to be licensed and regulated, partnering with financial institutions in Asia.
ABR: How do you address the issues of trust and security for your clients? What are some of the key issues that you have encountered?
ML: Zipmex addresses trust and security issues in a few ways:
ABR: How do you deal with the different regulations across different countries in Southeast Asia?
ML: In countries such as Thailand, Australia, Malta, and the Philippines, we have applied for the necessary license or approval from the appropriate government authorities.
In Thailand, Zipmex has applied and is pending approval for the Digital Asset Exchange license. In the Philippines, we have been granted the FTSOVCE license by the CEZA government. In Australia, we have been approved and registered by AUSTRAC to operate a Digital Asset Exchange.
In countries where licensing has not been implemented, we seek consultation with the appropriate authorities to understand the regulations pertaining to AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) and prepare our application for when the licensing program is implemented.
ABR: What are some of the key milestones achieved by Zipmex since its establishment in 2018?
ABR: Can you tell us about founding Oneflare? How has your experience with Oneflare helped you with running Zipmex?
ML: In 2011, I founded Oneflare, an online marketplace for local services that connects customers and services providers together in Australia. The experience at Oneflare has helped me in:
ABR: What is the future of digital asset exchanges? Which areas do you think need the most improvement?
ML: The most exciting development in the space is definitely the evolution of digital assets from utility tokens to security or asset-backed tokens. There is a huge race for companies around the world to be compliant with local jurisdictions and for blockchain companies to build the right technology and infrastructure for this new ecosystem. The STO (security token offering) wave will definitely be orders of magnitude larger than the ICO (initial coin offering) industry.
The area that requires the most improvement is regulation — there is definitely a real need for better regulation in this space, and governments and regulators globally are drafting and implementing the right policies and licensing required to operate in this space. Better regulation will mean consumers will be protected, while identifying and deterring bad actors from harming the brand and reputation of the community.
ABR: What factor(s) are necessary for blockchain technology to achieve its full potential?
ML: Adoption of blockchain. Penetration and relevant adoption of blockchain technology are absolutely key to sustainability. The technology must demonstrate significant value creation across a multitude of industries, from banking and logistics to agriculture. Without successful adoption and good use cases, the industry will not be able to progress and evolve.
Greater involvement from institutions. Institutional investors allow for significantly larger trading volumes than most individual investors, meaning that even if there are fewer trading partners transacting in the digital currency space, the industry can still sustain itself.
Stablecoins. The growth of stablecoins is key for two reasons: first, a result of the long-term instability of non-centralized tokens; and second, the current leader in the stablecoin industry, tether, is positioned to be replaced by a national currency coin.
ABR: How is your company trying to transform the crypto landscape?
ML: Zipmex’s vision is to be the most trusted digital asset exchange in the Asia Pacific.
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