The blockchain and cryptocurrency space has expanded in many unexpected ways after the still-elusive Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008. While Bitcoin still dominates most headlines, many other cryptocurrencies have propped up to improve on Bitcoin’s gaps, and its underlying blockchain technology has expanded far beyond the financial sector and has found use cases in many other industries.
This has made blockchain one of the most talked about innovations today, what with its potential to revolutionize how many processes work through decentralization. And with Asia’s unique situation in terms of financial services as well as in many other industries, the conversations on blockchain in Asian markets have gone a different way from those in Western countries.
This list contains eight entrepreneurs, content creators, and even government officials that have been on top of these conversations. Here are eight cryptocurrency and blockchain thought leaders from Asia to follow:
Known by many in the industry as “CZ,” Changpeng Zhao founded Binance in 2017, which grew to be the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume only a year later. Binance currently allows for the trading of 159 crypto tokens, and it has become what the company calls “a US$4.38-billion blockchain ecosystem.”
This has made the Chinese-Canadian CEO one of the go-to blockchain thought leaders for insights about the development of the technology, the nuances of cryptocurrency, or—perhaps most popularly—the volatility of Bitcoin prices. In a feature by Bloomberg, Zhao was quoted in saying that the current rise in Bitcoin’s value is still influenced largely by individual or retail traders as opposed to institutional crypto investors. He also frequently talks about how blockchain can play out in the mainstream, such as him mentioning his thoughts about centralized regulation on decentralized assets in an interview with Changelly.
After Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, dubbed him as the “Crypto Congressman,” Jason Hsu has become one of the most prominent government figures to advocate for the widespread use of blockchain technology. The entrepreneur-turned-legislator is bringing digital innovation into the Taiwanese government, and blockchain technology serves as one of his biggest tenets.
The Crypto Congressman has spoken in many conferences and hasbeen covered by many major business publications, but many of his insights on blockchain and cryptocurrency can be found on his Medium. Among his most popular posts is on his plan to “make Taiwan a blockchain island” where he laid out potential industries and processes that the Taiwanese government can decentralize.
One of the most discussed topics in the blockchain sphere outside of cryptocurrency is the huge opportunities in decentralized apps, and Kyle Lu is one of its biggest blockchain thought leaders. He’s the founder and CEO of Dapp.com, the world’s largest decentralized app store with over 2,200 apps built on seven blockchains. It has also built the world’s largest community dedicated to decentralized apps with over 100,000 registered members on its platform.
Lu has spoken about decentralized apps in many forums and conferences, most notably in the 2018 World Blockchain Forum in New York. He also regularly shares his insights on decentralized apps and where he sees the industry going in the future, such as in an interview with App Developer Magazine.
Japanese entrepreneur Mai Fujimoto wears her title of “Miss Bitcoin” proudly, having been a prominent figure in the Japanese cryptocurrency space since 2011. Her company, Gracone, provides consultancy work to companies dealing with blockchain and cryptocurrency. Another one of her major projects, Kizuna, which enables individuals to donate to high school students in need using Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Miss Bitcoin has spoken in various conferences and summits, where she often focuses on how to improve the mass adoption of blockchain technology, her experience as an advisor to various crypto startups, and her efforts to integrate blockchain into social impact initiatives. In a feature on Japan Today, Fujimoto shared her journey to becoming a “crypto-evangelist” as well as her hopes for how the technology will be used in the future.
Tushar Aggarwal’s first foray into the blockchain industry was through his podcast, Decrypt Asia, where he interviews various experts and executives about the state of blockchain around Asia as well as their respective business ventures. His episodes are also featured on Tech in Asia and YourStory, as Aggrawal struck a partnership with the two websites to extend the discussion beyond the podcast’s audience. These have led him to become one of the principals of LuneX Ventures, the first venture capital fund in Southeast Asia dedicated especially to blockchain-focused startups.
His unique position as a blockchain-focused investor and content creator has granted him several speaking engagements and interviews across Asia. In a video interview with CryptoCoinShow last October 2018, he shared how innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrency isn’t dependent on whether the crypto market is bearish or bullish—a decreasing Bitcoin value doesn’t mean that there’s less activity in the blockchain industry.
When Val Yap established PolicyPal in 2016, a digital platform making the purchase and management of insurance policies much easier, she became a noteworthy figure in the growing InsurTech industry. But when her startup ventured into the blockchain space after raising US$20 million from an initial coin offering, she became one of the most prominent blockchain thought leaders. The company is now working on a peer-to-peer insurance marketplace as well as blockchain-powered insurance policies catered to crypto companies.
As one of the major proponents of innovating the insurance industry with blockchain, Yap has been widely featured in articles and conferences alike. In a feature on The Edge Malaysia, she discussed how blockchain technology can improve the efficiency and security of the whole insurance policy process.
Tech executive Zac Cheah established Pundi X last 2017. While it has its own crypto token like many other blockchain companies, Pundi X extends its services further by enabling crypto payments in brick-and-mortar locations through its XPOS, the world’s first blockchain-powered point-of-sale device. It’s currently present in over 30 countries around the world, and it’s compatible with over a dozen major cryptocurrencies.
Pundi X’s focus on making blockchain technology more accessible has made Cheah a speaker in several crypto and fintech-focused conferences all over the world. He recently spoke at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain last February 2019. In an interview with Crypto Rand, he reinforces his and his company’s mission of emphasizing blockchain’s real-world use not only in payments but in many other facets of everyday life.
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