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Blockchain Explorations in Asia — Summer 2018

Shyam Kamadolli
Oct 4, 2018 · 4 min read

We recently completed our first overseas reconnaissance as we look to give our portfolio greater geographical diversification. Given the summer lull in the Americas and Europe, it seemed an opportune time to connect with a part of the world that does not slow down much in July and August: Asia.

First stop, India!

The choice of Mumbai as a stop on this tour was one of convenience rather than necessity. Having procured an incredible airfare to Mumbai, I set up meetings in an ecosystem where I have deep connections, given my previous investing experience in this part of the world.

Going in, having heard of scams in the market, regulatory restrictions, and limited local tech talent at the protocol level, I was skeptical about blockchain deals here. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Some notes from meetings with key market participants:

  • India is a stifled market for crypto. Just 600,000 traders/wallets account for about 0.3% to 0.4% of global trading volumes. For a country with 1/6 the population of the planet and one of the fastest growing / largest economies, that is warped even with PPP adjustments.

Onto Dubai in the UAE

Dubai is turning out to be a hotbed of blockchain activity. This is largely due to Russian and other Middle-Eastern expats choosing it as a base for crypto operations and the attraction of technical talent from the Indian subcontinent and Middle East. Major projects like Telegram are based in Dubai, and under the guidance of Consensys, the government has made blockchain a priority for its economy and governance.

Although it was 120F outside, I met some interesting entrepreneurs as I moved from thankfully air-conditioned cars into air-conditioned glass buildings in a surreal city sticking out of the desert sand beside an exceptionally calm sea.

  • Discovered a remarkable passion project. I met the passionate team behind the Dhonor.org effort to put organ donors and organ provenance on the blockchain. The project has gained a lot of traction regionally and globally.

Showstopper: Singapore

A friendly regulator has made Singapore the de-facto capital of blockchain ecosystems. I met with large venture funds, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, and media influencers in the blockchain ecosystem here.

  • Liquidity rules. There is a trading mindset here — and investors seem to prize liquidity above all else. The bull run in ICOs continues as far as they are concerned, so trading post-listing is on everybody’s minds.

The travel was hectic, and in the summer months quite uncomfortable, with high desert temperatures in Dubai, monsoon rains in India, and equatorial muggy days in Singapore. But I returned with a slew of new relationships and interesting investment opportunities which will help us round out our fund’s geographical diversification.

Applied Crypto Ventures

A specialized venture capital investment firm focused on…

Shyam Kamadolli

Written by

Entrepreneur turned VC and PE investor; Blockchain/Crypto/AI/ML focus; blogger; technophile, foodie, polyglot, poet

Applied Crypto Ventures

A specialized venture capital investment firm focused on applications of advanced mathematical and cryptographic techniques like blockchain, directed acylcic graphs, and other distributed ledger technologies.

Shyam Kamadolli

Written by

Entrepreneur turned VC and PE investor; Blockchain/Crypto/AI/ML focus; blogger; technophile, foodie, polyglot, poet

Applied Crypto Ventures

A specialized venture capital investment firm focused on applications of advanced mathematical and cryptographic techniques like blockchain, directed acylcic graphs, and other distributed ledger technologies.

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