Cryptocurrency has enjoyed a surge in mainstream adoption, support from financial institutions as well as a rollercoaster journey this year. People have become more familiar with digital assets, going beyond Bitcoin (BTC) to Ethereum (ETH) with its applicable financial services use cases, to household names like Visa coming into the space and spending US$150,000 on a CryptoPunk NFT.
All this adoption points to a wider affinity, as well as growth of digital assets as it moves towards becoming a more sustainable asset class. With this in mind, we are also seeing more cross sector collaborations between digital asset platforms and other companies, as well as more cash injection as investors increasingly become more confident.
Asia Pacific’s leading cryptocurrency platform Zipmex is making waves this year, having announced a THB 300 million fundraising round from Thailand’s OOH media giants; Plan B and MACO. We sat down with Zipmex Thailand’s CMO, Proud Limpongpan to find out more about the partnership, and how Zipmex is positioned to capture the digital asset boom across the region.
What’s the synergy between Plan B & MACO and Zipmex for this investment?
This partnership between Zipmex and media giants Plan B Media Public Company Limited (Plan B) and Master Ad Public Company Limited (MACO) will ultimately help Zipmex reach millions of customers across Thailand and South East Asia.
Plan B and MACO are both giant multimedia companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Gone are the days of seeing billboards as mere static advertisements. We will be making sure the next time you see one, it will definitely be a more interactive experience!
So, not only is Zipmex able to leverage on the out-of-home media advertising services, but also the range of innovative platforms and strong engagement marketing segments of Plan B and Maco’s business units including sports marketing, esports, artist management, and gaming.
What they offer essentially allows us to create value across multiple high growth industries and services.
It all comes down to the vision we have to become a full functioning ecosystem, beyond a cryptocurrency exchange platform.
We can imagine a lot of integration with gaming universes, like tokens and digital money. Is this where you see the synergy?
Absolutely. The gaming industry has seen explosive growth amid the pandemic, Asia Pacific alone is home to 1.5 billion gamers, with the market value at US$70 billion, according to Google and this is a market we’re very excited about.
With gaming, we’re looking to sponsor skins in games, and provide our exchange token, ZMT, as tournament prizes.
We are also planning to bring the “play-to-earn” concept to markets, our clients can play and earn points to redeem for digital assets.
There’s a lot that we can do together with ZMT as the token which underpins everything that Zipmex does.
This is the first time a media company in SEA has invested in a digital assets platform What’s the angle here?
Yes, this marks the first time in Southeast Asia for listed multinational media companies to tap into the digital asset trend as it is set to transform the realm of financial landscape and lifestyle. I believe the investments from both media firms represent confidence and trust in both Zipmex and the industry that we operate in.
As an industry that places a premium on protecting and monetizing intellectual property, it does not come as a surprise that Plan B and MACO have joined forces to invest in the most regulatory compliant digital assets platform in the region.
Plan B is the leading provider of out-of-home media advertising services with a variety of innovative platforms and strong engagement marketing business including sports marketing, artist management, and gaming.
Plan B and MACO together probably have the most comprehensive coverage in Thailand.
When you put it like that, a media and crypto play makes sense. Could you dive into more detail?
Sure. Aa digital technologies develop, the media sector evolves with it – always innovating to harness the technology to create and distribute content in the battle for eyes and ears.
From creating virtual reality to video games with the likes of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in its attempt to integrate into the digital asset industry, there is no shortage of approaches to grab our attention.
Digital assets have now become a lot more mainstream. With blockchain technology, the lifecycle of any assets can be tracked as well as opening doors to many opportunities.
Cryptocurrency payment is experiencing a global paradigm shift. With this, the link between media and cryptocurrency will continue to evolve as a two-way partnership.
Do you think the media industry can leverage blockchain?
Definitely, that’s the value in blockchain; when applied correctly, it can create value across various industries. We have actually ramped up our blockchain capabilities, as we recently led the investment round into Atato, the Asia based company that has been helping financial institutions build out their blockchain-powered digital assets solutions.
In this way, we can work with media companies to also transform the way content is created, consumed and protected.
What’s the vision for this partnership?
With this partnership – we aim to bring Zipmex closer to becoming Southeast Asia’s crypto bank.
Fun fact about us, the company was founded in Thailand. We had to wait 18 months to finally get our operating license and launch here, so we went to the other countries and started operating there first.
With investment from Plan B and MACO, we intend to localize our services, and cater towards the Thai market.
In many ways, we’re returning back to our roots.
How can the Zipmex ecosystem and its various products fit into this goal?
With the help of these two investors, and our other investors (soon to be announced!), we aim to integrate personal finances with personal lifestyle through product offerings: savings (ZipUp and ZipLock), trading (Zipmex Exchange) and spending for goods and services via crypto (ZipSpend).
When you think of crypto – whether it be in terms of investing, saving, or spending your proceeds — we want all that to happen on the Zipmex Platform.
All in all, the vision is to grow beyond what was started off as a digital assets exchange, to offer our clients unique enriching lifestyle experiences as well as investment and savings tools.
What are you most excited about for this partnership?
Mass media can play a large part in driving investor decisions in crypto investing. With this investment, we now have validated trust (apart from just having 2 licenses from the SEC) and can together work towards making Zipmex to be the top of mind brand for everyone. It’s also the same thing with the industry – it went from a grey-market one to one that’s regulated and has been talked about by anyone and everyone.
It’s almost impossible to not have heard about bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general during the past year!
Talk to us about NFTs. Would Zipmex be interested in getting into this space?
Recently, NFTs have risen to become the new buzzword. You see artists, actors, fashion brands, many from different segments of the creative industries come out and partake in this new use case of blockchain.
Actually, we are working on creating a country-specific NFT as well such as working with famous artists of that country, or packaging exclusive experiences for that country into the NFT.
We are also going to make it deeply social, and with our wide consumer reach, across SEA, we are best positioned to do so.
Any way we can learn more about it now?
You can already see some of this through our beta-version ZipWorld. All you need is some ZMTs, and then you can redeem these coveted items on our platform.
We are working closely with our partners to create products and services that we can innovate, support the lifestyle, and enhance our client’s experience on our platform.
Now, that’s a lot of things in the pipeline! We’re excited. Can you share anything else?
Things move quickly in this space, and ultimately we want to continue creating value for users across Asia Pacific. Plan B & MACO are not our only new partners, we have a big announcement coming up next week, so watch this space!
For more information, head over to Zipmex here.