A Decentralized Future in Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for the emergent blockchain-cryptocurrency sector. Chainalysis highlighted this fact in its recent report. From July 2020 to June 2021, the total value of cryptocurrency transactions in Southeast Asia surged 706% to $572.5 billion, comprising 14% of the global transactional value. 

That blockchain-based projects and cryptocurrencies are becoming popular globally is one reason for SE Asia’s rise to center-stage. Innovation has been the foundation for the region’s blockchain transformation, so to say, and not the mere imitation of global trends. And consequently, the popularity of these projects isn’t hype but is in fact grounded upon real and long-term solutions to pertinent concerns. 

The Chinese crackdown on cryptocurrencies has significantly catalyzed the growth described above, particularly in countries like Vietnam and Singapore. Moreover, the impact of COVID-19 is undeniable. And against this backdrop, let’s explore some of the most promising Southeast Asian blockchain projects. 

Axie Infinity: Playing to Earn 

With a valuation of over $3 billion, Axie Infinity (AXS) is one of the most successful blockchain games in the world. This NFT-based game has gained heavy traction among millennials, especially during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Popularizing the Play-to-Earn (P2E) model and broadening the scope for real, crypto-based income has been Axie’s biggest contributions so far. Deprived of conventional livelihood due to pandemic-induced economic shutdowns, many people in SE Asia relied heavily upon gaming as a steady source of income. And Ethereum-based Axie Infinity drove this opportunity significantly, with its simple gameplay, low entry barriers, and broad access. 

The game is similar to some of last decade’s favorites, like Pokemon and Tamagochi. Players can nurture their Axies and engage them in battles with other Axies. And in the process, they can earn Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) or Smooth Love Potions (SLP). While SLPs are its in-game utility token, Axie Infinity launched the AXS token in November 2020. The latter is currently priced at $138 apiece, with a market cap of over $8 billion. The platform also has an integrated marketplace, featuring the so-called Clock Auction. Furthermore, Axie Infinity’s immense potential has evoked much collaborative interest among leading names like Samsung, Ubisoft, UpBit, Maker, and Aave.

Enjin: Powering the Metaverse 

Because of its wide scope, this Singapore-based blockchain project serves as a comprehensive infrastructure for decentralized games. Enjin has emerged as a holistic ecosystem of products designed to facilitate the creation, distribution, storage, and exchange of tokenized digital assets. Since its inception in 2009, Enjin has been a very prominent gaming community platform, at least for blockchain-cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Besides having over 50,000 members on its Telegram channel, the Enjin hosts hundreds of gaming communities. 

In late-2017, Enjin launched its native ERC20 token, $ENJ, raising $22.9 million through a successful ICO. The token primarily provides access to various on-platform utilities. And for that matter, Enjin’s product suite is quite diverse, comprising a smart wallet, a digital marketplace (EnjinX), and enterprise-grade SDKs. Then there’s Enjin Beam, which allows users to transfer cryptocurrencies and NFTs by simply scanning QRs. Efinity, a scaling solution for Ethereum, is also upcoming and will enable faster transactions for both ERC20 and ERC1155 tokens. 

Enjin hosts over seventy blockchain applications and has collaborated with Samsung, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Unity, HashPort Accelerator, PC Gamer, NRG eSports, Changelly, and Blockchain Consortium, among others. Moreover, Facebook’s recent rebranding and potential entry into the metaverse domain have spiked users’ interest in Enjin. 

KardiaChain: Connecting Blockchain Networks

KardiaChain is one of Southeast Asia’s most active blockchain projects. As a smart inter-blockchain infrastructure, KardiaChain connects multiple networks while featuring native interoperability and self-optimization. It implements several non-invasive cross-chain bridges to achieve this purpose, compatible with both private and public blockchains. 

KardiaChain facilitates the development of cross-chain applications on its mainnet. The network has several utilities which can be accessed using KAI tokens. The token facilitates transactions, governance, staking, and reward-sharing within the ecosystem.

Iron Sail, a project Incubated by KardiaChain and Whydah, works closely with top game developers in the region to publish quality-first blockchain games. Thetan Arena is a free play-to-earn game designed so players can win NFTs and trade NFTs in exchange for Thetan Arena’s native cryptocurrency. Their games have amassed over one million players since launch.

Kyber Network: Aggregating DeFi Liquidity 

Kyber Network is a decentralized protocol that aggregates liquidity for dApps and DEXs. Running on top of Ethereum, its primary goal is to solve the domain’s interoperability crisis. By integrating Kyber’s solution, other blockchain projects enable their users to access cross-chain transactions seamlessly—one can send/receive any cryptocurrency in exchange for any other. Moreover, the network leverages Uniswap-like liquidity pools, instead of slow and cumbersome on-chain order books. 

Victor Tran and Loi Luu founded the Kyber Network in 2017, along with its native utility token, KNC. The token’s price was $1 at the time of its ICO, which brought 61% of its total supply into circulation. At present, though, KNC’s price is $1.6 apiece, while its market cap is $284. 

A Glimpse of Future Potential

Southeast Asia has been contributing significantly to blockchain innovation for some time now. Besides the bigger projects discussed above, there are several others. Notable among them are Electrify (Singapore), HARA (Indonesia), LuxTag (Malaysia), and Pundi-X (Indonesia). From green energy to agriculture to luxury items to payments, these platforms are disrupting various industries parallelly. And so are the more popular ones, as we have seen so far. 

All of these projects could be pivotal to Web3. We never know what’s to come, but all projects can serve as growth factors in game-centric digital economies. One thing is for certain, the future is decentralized, and Southeast Asians have a critical role to play in its creation. 

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