6 Questions for Yat SIU of Animoca Brands

We ask buidlers in cryptocurrency and blockchain for their opinions. And we add a few random zingers just to keep them amused! Our 6 Questions this week go to Yat Siu. He is the cofounder, group Executive Chairman and managing Director of Animoca Brands. He is a veteran technology entrepreneur and investor. Animoca Brands is a global leader of blockchain and gaming and has the mission of delivering digital property rights to all gamers and internet users. Animoca aims to create a new asset, play-to earn economies, and a more equitable digital platform contributing to the creation of the open Metaverse. Yat started his career at Atari Germany in 90. In 1995, he moved to Hong Kong to establish Hong Kong Cybercity/Freenation, the first free webpage and email provider in Asia. He founded Outblaze in 1998, an award-winning pioneer in multilingual white label web services. Outblazes messaging unit was sold to IBM in 2009 and Outblaze was renamed Outblaze to become an incubator for companies and projects to develop digital entertainment products and services. Animoca Brands is one of those incubator projects. 1 We have seen many of the next great apps for crypto, including smart contracts, DApps, NFTs, and DeFi. However, none of them have taken off yet. What will be the next big thing? The killer apps for crypto are here. They just need to grow and penetrate further. Gaming, specifically GameFi, is the killer app. Axie Infinity, The Sandbox and other games have captured the imaginations of thousands. They allow their users to create their own game content and receive materially from it. The top DApps are games. DappRadar currently lists six games among the top 10 DApps. I don’t expect that to change. 2 What kind of opportunities for blockchain-based businesses would you be interested in if you were investing in startups right now? We are actively investing in both start-ups and established companies all over the globe. We are especially interested in projects that drive mass adoption. Metaverse-related companies are crucial to future growth. Openness is another important quality we look for. We invest in projects that help to grow the open Metaverse. This includes platforms and protocols such as Polygon, Flow, etc. Marketplaces (OpenSea. Bitski. BNV. as well as consumer products such as games and worlds. The companies we invest in should be open to transparency. I worry that large Web 1.0/2.0 companies will try to control the Metaverse and make it a closed system. These proprietary metaverses will not be democratic and will not have the openness and digital rights that should characterize the next iteration. Tech giants like Facebook may offer users some ownership, or they might just take the user’s opinion at face value but then impose strict content and usage licensing as we see in social media. It is impossible to create a democratic, responsible and equitable Metaverse without digital property rights. 3 Which countries are most supportive of blockchain? The blockchain industry will be a winner if it is supported by developed economies. Germany is an example of this. There, spezialfonds permit pension funds and insurers up to 20% of their investments in cryptocurrencies. Germany is also home to a major bank (Commerzbank), and the stock exchange (Deutsche Boerse). Countries that invest in blockchain will not only reap the benefits but also the talent. This is evident in the way that Australian crypto companies are moving overseas, reducing Australia’s competitiveness in this growing sector of technology finance. The U.S. will continue to be a major environment for blockchain-related businesses and associated venture capital, despite its increased regulation. Global crypto growth is fueled in large part by U.S. capital and venture capital. Regulating blockchain is important. I hope it can be done without stifling innovation and growth. The open and transparent nature of the tokens, both fungible and not, allows for growth to be driven by the network effect. The network effect is a system where more people join and the value system becomes stronger. For a nation, refusing to accept blockchain and crypto would be like saying no to global free trade and the World Trade Organization. 4 What talent do your lack and wish you had? What talent would you use if you had it? My mother is an opera singer and director, and I studied music. It was hard to sing in my entrance exam to the music conservatory. I think singing would make me more active musically. Singing is an easy way to express culture and can be done anywhere with no equipment. My mother and I are not gifted singers so we leave this task to my family. 5 What would you do if you didn’t need to sleep? Right now, I would use most of the extra time for work. There are so many important things I have to do and I enjoy my work! If I didn’t need sleep, I would try to divide the extra time equally between work, family, and personal time. Sometimes, family time involves me buying NFTs and playing with my children (my oldest son is an active NFT collector and blockchain gamer), so some of the time spent with my family might also count as work. This works for me! 6 What was your most embarrassing moment in life? I love hiking. A few years ago, I went hiking on Lantau Island in Hong Kong with a friend. We ended up battling through densely vegetated headlands that were unbearably hot and humid. We were bitten by swarms insects, scratched by sharp branches and sprayed with a thick fog. This was one of those times when hiking is not enjoyable. We could see the sea from just a stones throw away through the haze and shrubs. We decided that it would be more enjoyable to walk along the seashore while enjoying the fresh ocean breeze. So we set off. Below the cliff was a strip made up of rocks that met the sea. My friend pointed out that there was no other way to descend the cliff. But at that point, I just wanted to leave behind the insect-infested shrubs and go down the cliff. Ibrahim El-Mouelhy, my hiking companion on that day and our chief communications officer today, will describe the event. Ibrahim El-Mouelhy was my hiking companion that day and is our chief communications officer today. He described the event as: Yat has always been an optimist and a risk-taker. This was especially evident that day. He moved purposefully towards the edge of the cliffs and declared, with great confidence that we could climb down to the beach. The cliff was too high and steep for me. The beach looked like a mess of jagged rocks. Yat took his backpack off and threw it over the edge. He casually turned around and threw his backpack over the edge. I was paralysed in shock and horror and convinced that this was Yat Siu’s final act as a future captain of industry, but also as a tragic victim to sunstroke. I heard his screams for help almost immediately. I ran to the edge of the precipice, looking down to see Yat struggling to hold on to the spiky grasses. The steep incline was unquestionable. Evidently, he had had a change in mind about the negotiability and was now just trying to avoid falling to his death. I saw the rocks below him and reached down to grab Yats’ hand. I’m a big man and I used to lift weights so I thought it would be easy to pull him up. It was not easy. My attempt to lift him caused our combined weight to cause my foot to break through the edge of the cliff. It was made of matted vegetation and dirt, not the hard rock that would have been suitable for our Hollywood-style antics. The situation quickly changed from a one-armed pull to a desperate attempt to evade death. I had to take a step back from Yats’s edge every time. The ground would crumble under me, and I would have to fall backwards while still pulling on Yats’ arm. We then scrambled back to safety. Although it took only a few seconds to pull Yat from the cliff, these were some very intense moments. We made it out alive and unscathed. After that, we had to trek for over an hour through the thickets to find a way down to retrieve Yat’s backpack. A wish for the blockchain community: The blockchain community has, collectively, the extremely important task of building an open Metaverse where users will have the ability to own their assets as well as data. To own your data means to own your future and be free. Our youth must create (and build in!) the open Metaverse and provide sufficient mass and relevance to ensure that closed systems embrace openness. This is how open source transformed closed source. Without the open-source movement, the world would be very different today. I wish all young, ambitious entrepreneurs to be open-minded, fair, collaborative, and interoperable in their work. They should strive to provide the best products possible not only for crypto enthusiasts, but also (and especially) the billions of people who are yet to enter the crypto world.

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