AirAsia, the low-cost airline in Southeast Asia, is contemplating an preliminary coin providing (ICO) as a part of a push into monetary companies.
Tony Fernandes, CEO of the $3 billion firm which is publicly listed in Malaysia, instructed TechCrunch that he’s analyzing the potential to carry an ICO that may elevate cash by introducing its personal cryptocurrency.
“We’ve got two issues which are very attention-grabbing which could have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card the place we’ve [loyalty program] BIG Factors, and I feel these BigPoints will be simply transferred to the blockchain,” Fernandes mentioned on the sidelines of Money2020 in Singapore.
“We’ve got a product that may be a foreign money in Huge Loyalty, [and] we’re constructing a fee platform so the 2 can marry fairly properly. We’ve got an ecosystem that allows you to use that foreign money, there’s no level having a foreign money that may’t be used,” he added.
Fernandes has constructed a repute as a businessman who is ready to take dangers and chase new concepts. AirAsia pioneered the low-cost airline mannequin in Southeast Asia, the place it claims some 65 million registered prospects, and Fernandes himself owns English soccer membership QPR and as soon as based a System One workforce.
ICOs generated greater than $6 billion for startups final yr, with Southeast Asia, and Singapore specifically, rising as a hub. Up to now, nevertheless, most ICO have been undertaken by younger firms, if it did go for an ICO, AirAsia could be probably the most established — and highest-valued — shopper enterprise to take that route.
Messaging app Telegram is a notable example, nevertheless. Earlier this month, the company closed an initial $850 million in funding as a part of an ICO that might usher in as a lot as $2 billion in complete.
At this level, it’s not clear how a lot AirAsia may elevate in an ICO.
Fernandes’ latest technique for AirAsia is to maneuver into monetary companies because it goals to develop to 100 million prospects. Past a proposed fee platform that may make its cabins ‘cash-less,’ the Fernandes introduced this week that it’s going to look into providing loans and insurance coverage companies to its customers with the goal of serving to SMEs and entrepreneurs.
“The world is altering so quick however I feel we’ve the flexibility to innovate and suppose rapidly on this stuff however the concepts are based mostly on our information and based mostly on our ecosystem,” Fernandes instructed TechCrunch.
“I like [the idea of an ICO] as a result of it simply takes price out of my system. So I’m pushed, not by attempting to take over the world, however within the first occasion, everybody buys in my ICO and I take out a variety of alternate threat, I take out a variety of settlement threat, and many others and many others. So there are a lot of methods of how we’re taking a look at it,”
The legalities of ICOs are nonetheless being discovered by governments the world over, with the U.S. SEC specifically reportedly investigating ICO companies and hedge funds that invest in them and different crypto.
To this point, in Southeast Asia, governments haven’t launched regulation. In Singapore, the Financial institution of Singapore and Financial Authority of Singapore (MAS) have engaged with the group whereas additionally warning buyers of the dangers of shopping for into ICOs.
Fernandes maintained that AirAsia is in a powerful place with authorities connections and basic airline regulation.
“We’re in probably the most regulated trade on the planet, so we all know easy methods to cope with regulators and laws,” he mentioned.
AirAsia would want to cope with the uncertainty round providing its personal crypto tokens — which don’t embrace fairness — whereas balancing its shareholders and standing as a publicly listed enterprise.
Be aware: The writer owns a small quantity of cryptocurrency.