The pioneering low budget carrier AirAsia may become the first airline and largest company in South East Asia to enter the crypto market by launching an ICO and its own cryptocurrency.
AirAsia Considers Industries First ICO
Tony Fernandes spoke to TechCrunch at the Money 20/20 Asia conference that ran through March 15. The CEO of AirAsia Group confirmed the operator is building a payment system to join its Big Point Loyalty program to the blockchain. Speaking about the planned ICO Fernandes said;
“We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, [and] we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely. We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency, there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used,”
Fernandes, who is counted as one of Malaysia’s richest people this year with a net worth of $745 million, recognizes the benefits of taking his company cashless as South East Asia is home to a huge population of overseas workers who move money across borders.
Looking Towards a Cashless Future
The company has plans to open new airlines servicing Myanmar and Vietnam as well as adding a small loans service. All of which, Fernandes notes, would benefit from a blockchain based network to move currency and information between countries. While Fernandes seems confident in his statement about the company’s plans to stay on the cutting edge of technology, the region is a hodgepodge of cryptocurrency regulations.
Singapore has welcomed FinTech with open arms and saw $3.3 billion raised among 200 ICO’s last year. However, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia have both blocked the emerging technologies while Thailand continues to struggle between regulating what already exists and planning to implement the future of the technology in a way that the government can strictly control and tax.
AirAsia is the second major company to announce an ICO launch in the last few months. Telegram which has gone through two pre-sale stages of its ICO has reported raising over two billion dollars for their TON network.
Fernandes would not speculate on how much AirAsia is planning to raise with their own ICO but as one of Malaysia’s most notable companies, their progress could go a long way to guiding government regulation when it comes to the future of blockchain technology in the country. In reference to airlines he spoke about dealing with government regulation at the time of the interview saying “We’re in the most regulated industry in the world, so we know how to deal with regulators and regulations,”.