Despite reports of frauds and scams plaguing the sector, key players in the digital currency space believe that the initial coin offering (ICO) phenomenon is here to stay and asserted that it is possibly even the best way to raise funds at this time.
Speaking at the DEALSTREETASIA Asia PE and VC Summit 2017 in Singapore last week, Quoine co-founder and CEO Mike Kayamori said venture capital firms should take advantage of this especially now that transparency issues are being addressed through regulation, such as those being undertaken by governments in Japan and Singapore.
Kayamori, who was part of a panel discussion on ICO perspectives, was joined by HelloGold founder and CEO Robin Lee, iCandy chief strategy officer Gerald Tock, Global Brain venture partner and APAC regional manager Takashi Sano, and Anson Zeall, the co-founder and CEO of CoinPip and chairman of ACCESS (Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises & Startups Singapore).
“[ICO] is the new and more efficient way to raise capital,” Kayamori said, “There is already enough guidelines and laws. It’s becoming a safer ecosystem for every participant.”
Kayamori disclosed to this portal in an interaction that Quoine now works closely with the Japan FSA (Financial Services Agency), although not so much with the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS).
“Bitcoin exchanges that touch fiat needs to be regulated. The first and last mile is important from KYC/AML (know your customer/anti-money laundering) perspective,” he added.
As a fintech company, Quoine provides trading, exchange, and next generation financial services powered by blockchain technology. It has offices in Singapore, Japan, and Vietnam.
Sharing the same sentiment, Lee of Malaysia-based HelloGold claims they make it a point that their product falls within the regulatory framework of the country onshore. HelloGold blends gold trading with blockchain technologies.
HelloGold recently closed a Series A round at a post-money valuation of $12 million backed by investors which include a Malaysian vehicle, Dani Sdn Bhd.
Lee noted the creation of tokens per country could take six months to a year to launch and a few more years to stabilise. HelloGold is currently looking for ways to accelerate this in the same manner with their fundraise, although it will be a function of money and human labour.
Sano, meanwhile, reiterated Global Brain’s plans of launching a blockchain subsidiary, the GB Blockchain Labs Corporation (GBBL), that will boost its contribution to the blockchain ecosystem as well as foster utilisation of the technology across industries and countries.
The Japan-based independent VC firm manages $500 million in assets across Asia Pacific and is focused on building a community-driven blockchain ecosystem by tapping the right talent for projects and creation of strategies through research and knowledge sharing.
Prior the ICO forum, investment guru Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, who gave the keynote address at this year’s Asia PE and VC summit, opined that he sees signs of a bubble bursting in bitcoin financing but later on said that he “missed out on bitcoin” after having a chat with Kayamori.
“We talked about the potential of cryptocurrency and ICOs. He said he missed out on the opportunity to buy bitcoin,” Kayamori said.