Southeast Asia has a growing population and more money, which makes it appealing to Cryptocurrency entrepreneurs and investors.
White Star Capital says that 600 cryptocurrency and blockchain startups are based in Southeast Asia. In 2022, startups in crypto, blockchain, and web3 made $1 billion, and they are on track to make $1.45 billion in 2021.
A survey shows that there are investors from the US, China, and Singapore in the web3 scene. Amy Zhao from the crypto investment firm Ocular says that Southeast Asia is a good place for web3 startups that focus on consumers. Investors said that the way people live in Southeast Asia is good for web3. Teens are more willing to try out new ideas and tools that are helping the financial side of crypto.
Southeast Asia’s population of 700 million is growing quickly because over 480 million people are online. By 2040, Asia’s share of the world’s GDP and consumption will come mostly from ASEAN.
In the last ten years, Southeast Asia has made progress in getting more people to use money. However, many people still don’t have bank accounts. 70% of the adult population has no bank account.
Crypto can grow even if banks don’t do it. Decentralized finance, or DeFi, has grown in the region because it uses distributed ledger technology to make transactions and promises users yield and cash without the need for traditional financial intermediaries. Vietnam’s Sky Mavis’s Axie Infinity and GameFi are both well-known blockchain games.
About 10% of Singaporeans will use cryptocurrencies in 2021, which is more than the 8.3% of Americans who will do the same. Chainalysis says that in 2021, both Vietnam and Thailand will start to use DeFi.
Zhao said that each country has an advantage in crypto
The Philippines needs “hardcore engineers” from Vietnam. The market in Thailand does well. Singapore’s foreign skills may provide more SaaS solutions.
An investor said that Indonesia’s strong web2 skills helped it catch up with web3. Pintu is a place where people can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. It raised $110 million in Series B, making it one of the best-funded blockchain companies in the region.
People in Southeast Asia who use Web3 are not all from there. Gemini said last year that it wanted to move to the area. Before the market crash, Coinbase wanted to hire people in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian countries like Singapore are open to crypto, which is illegal in China and is being looked into in the US.
Singapore’s pragmatism. Dubai may not have as few rules as Singapore. Zhao said that Singapore wants to make sure customers trust them for a long time. Singapore’s banking authority said that cryptocurrencies are risky and shouldn’t be pushed on the public in January.
Investors should know that regulatory sandboxes help new ideas to grow. MAS used the blockchain to make a payments network. Temasek, a company in Singapore, is behind Amber.
Most likely, Southeast Asian regulators will keep making rules about digital assets. White Star Capital says that as the use of digital assets grows, “sudden-stop” rules are less likely to happen.