Tatler’s 30 for 3.0 is a new campaign celebrating the city’s top talents in NFTs, crypto and Web3. Take a look at these trailblazers and their achievements below
We profile the biggest Web3 game-changers in Hong Kong today, from Animoca boss Yat Siu and mega-collector WhaleShark to actor Louis Koo, who produced a multimillion-dollar NFT-linked film. Other Web3 trailblazers delve into art, luxury and fashion by coming up with VR and AR experiences at Digital Art Fair, virtual shopping experiences, a jewellery boutique and VIP parties in the metaverse—all redefining the way we live. There are also those who intend to keep the brave new world a safe space by offering legal, real estate, crypto and fintech advice, and those who set out to educate more people about Web3.
In case you missed: The Sandbox’s Yat Siu Kicks Off Tatler Asia’s TV Show Debut
Yat Siu is one of the most influential voices in the metaverse space. The chairman of app developer Animoca and executive chairman and managing director of game developer and venture capital company Animoca Brands has extensive experience in all things related to NFTs, the metaverse and cryptocurrency. With blockchain-enabled technology, his companies—which have a long list of subsidiaries, including OpenSea and Dapper Labs—are operating a network of fully functioning 3D virtual worlds, accessed using VR, in which users can live a second life.
Siu joined us in the inaugural episode of Tatler TV: Meta Versed. Tatler’s virtual plot of land can be found in The Sandbox, which is operated by Animoca Brands.
Gillian Howard is the founder of Artistsverse, a leading Asian art agency with a focus on digital and NFT art. She is also the founder and fair director of Digital Art Fair, which generated over HK$74 million in NFT sales in 2021—no mean feat in the midst of a pandemic. With a focus on engaging a new generation of artists and collectors, Howard is at the forefront of developing VR and AR exhibitions; blockchain integrations; and online platforms to connect with a younger, more digitally engaged audience.
CEO and co-founder of digital asset custodian Hex Trust Alessio Quaglini has been working to secure the future of NFTs. Hex Trust provides NFT custody for collectors and investors, and with these efforts is pioneering the landscape of NFT ownership. What’s more, in November 2021, the firm announced a joint venture with Animoca Brands, offering institutional digital asset wallets and financial services for online gamers.
Henri Arslanian is Global Crypto Leader and senior advisor at professional services giant PwC’s Hong Kong office.
Arslanian advises the world’s leading crypto exchanges and has also been in charge of major moves such as PwC’s acquisition of real estate in The Sandbox, as well as the launch of a Web3 advisory hub that facilitates blockchain integration of professional services like taxation and accounting.
Angelina Kwan is the CEO of Stratford Finance Limited, a consultancy firm specialising in regulatory and operational issues in financial services and digital assets sector.
Kwan has been instrumental in making the Web3 space—an emerging field—safer and more secure for its participants.
She is also the vice chair, company secretary and member of the Board of Governors for the Women’s Foundation, working in supporting women in blockchain and female leadership.
Angela Ho is a key investor in Metakey, a firm that promises to “unlock the metaverse”. It offers a token that offers access to everything from access to virtual land and VIP events to bonuses in NFT games.
Bénédicte Nolens is the head of the BIS Innovation Hub’s Hong Kong Centre, which fosters collaboration in the global central banking community. In her work, Nolens focuses on the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), open finance and green finance. In 2016, Nolen was a recipient of the China Daily Asian Women Leadership Awards for her efforts in entrepreneurship, innovation and charity.
Urszula McCormack is considered one of the world’s leading regulatory and digital economy lawyers. As partner at King & Wood Mallesons, her specialties include virtual assets, tokenisation, trading platforms, market conduct, metaverse applications and other digital ecosystems. She advises global banks, payments instructions and exchanges.
Max Moore is the co-head of digital art sales at Sotheby’s Worldwide and director and head of contemporary art auctions at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. He leads Sotheby’s Metaverse, the auction house’s marketplace launched in October 2021 featuring exclusive and high-end NFT art. With that, he helps patrons seek out new and exciting digital collectibles.
Gus Lee is the founder of creative development studio Parameta, which designs digital metaverse experiences. He also runs Creators First Foundation, a non-profit that supports creatives working in the Web3 space.
A trailblazer in the crypto space—he began investing in cryptocurrency almost ten years ago—Jehan Chu is the co-founder and managing partner of Kenetic, a Hong Kong-based blockchain investment and trading firm.
He is behind a number of other ventures and is focused on empowering and educating communities about the potential of blockchain technology. He is a founding member of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, co-chairman of the Blockchain Committee and Fintech Association of Hong Kong, and co-founder of the crypto charity Social Alpha Foundation.
Kishore Samtani is bringing Bollywood into the metaverse. He is the founder of Bollyverse, an entity that offers NFTs of beloved stars in the Indian film industry and exclusive access to award ceremonies, like the International Indian Film Academy Awards.
Keith Rumjahn is the CEO of OliveX, which offers group fitness classes online; and of Dose Token, which offers tokens to users after they’ve completed workouts. These tokens are used to buy NFTs and participate in special events. Before operating these firms, he founded Coachbase, a popular sports app across Android and iOS devices, which was acquired by Animoca Brands.
Adrian Cheng, CEO of New World Development, is one of Hong Kong’s most influential investors and a major backer of NFT ventures. In April 2022, K11 Musea—one of the museum retail complexes under the K11 brand established by Cheng—hosted Metavision, a showcase dedicated to the metaverse that presented a stunning showcase of more than 200 NFT works.
Peggy Cheung is the co-founder of Articoin, a green NFT venture that offers creatives a platform to conduct sales of digital artwork—and with sustainability as a focus.
With a proof-of-capacity blockchain, a crypto mining mechanism, Articoin uses 2,600 times less energy compared to conventional Ethereum-based marketplaces. It has plans to involve more carbon reduction partners in the community.
Alice Wong is the CEO and lead developer of Monkey Kingdom, a collection of 2,222 randomly generated 32x32 pixel NFTs that take inspiration from the mythical creature Sun Wukong, aka Monkey King. The character was originally one of the main characters in the seminal 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en.
The project was launched in November 2021 and was greatly received by Asian audiences—its first collection, released in the same month, sold out in less than two minutes.
In an exclusive interview with Tatler this year, Wong described the experience as “a rollercoaster” of ups and downs. The rest of the year will see more utilities and play-to-earn opportunities for their community members: a metaverse named The Kingdom and a game that is currently in development.
In case you missed: Exclusive: Meet The Woman Behind Asia’s Beloved NFT Project, Monkey Kingdom
A leading cryptocurrency advocate and Tatler’s July 2022 cover star, Vivien Khoo is moving the needle for female leadership in DeFi (decentralised finance). She is the co-founder of female-focused platform Satoshi Women, as well as Web3 Women (W3W, previously known as Digital Women Leadership Network).
After spending nearly two decades working in compliance for Goldman Sachs, Khoo made a pivot to a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange in 2019. Noticing a shortage of women in the crypto space, Khoo is doing her part in improving the gender balance, and supports newbie female investors or those who’ve just dipped their toes in blockchain technology.
In case you missed: Why Vivien Khoo Wants Women to Go All-In on Crypto
Madelon De Grave
Madelon De Grave is the founder of Bamboo Scenes, a photography gallery spotlighting Hong Kong art that this year launched a female-driven NFT art exhibition titled A Woman’s World—the first of its kind in Asia.
Wai-lung Ip and Peter Yu
Digital artist Wai Lung Ip and AI expert Peter Yu are the co-founders of The Screens Guru, an NFT marketplace set up in March 2021 for artists and collectors in the digital art space.
The pair identified issues in using the blockchain to authenticate artworks—it is not a “completely foolproof solution”, said Yu in an interview with Tatler this year. This inspired them to launch Provenio ArTech, a platform that works with IP lawyers and gallerists to ensure the authenticity of artworks and offers security between buyers and sellers.
Nick Lau is the founder of Wear, a virtual marketplace that works with luxury brands and contemporary artists to create limited-edition digital clothing. Shoppers can don these pieces virtually by using filters, and eventually, they’ll also be able to dress their avatars. Wear’s goal is to bridge the gap between physical and digital fashion—as well as offer brands and designers new avenues for storytelling and engagement.
Payal Shah, who is behind the award-winning luxury jewellery brand L’Dezen, made a splash in the fashion and crypto worlds this year when a pair of NFT 18K enamel gold diamond earrings she created—which came with a physical equivalent—sold in auction for ETH3.27 (approximately US$5,135).
The entrepreneur continues to be active in the Web3 scene, working with the likes of Asian-focused NFT platform 8Sian to create merchandise. She also hopes to eventually launch a jewellery store in the metaverse.
Bowie Lau is behind several ventures that support organisations in the Web3 space. She is the founder of Magehold, an angel investment firm for startups in the AI, big data, blockchain, cybersecurity and IoT sphere; Magespire, a tech education and advisory group; and Magespire Community, a non-profit initiative that fosters awareness of and provides support to those involved with tech ventures.
Neil Tan is the CEO of Neptune Digital, a startup that offers legal access to the Permissioned Ethereum Blockchain in the China market. He is also the chairman of the Fintech Association Hong Kong (FTAHK).
Roy Weissbach is the founding partner of Club Dao, a private members’ club for those in the crypto, blockchain and NFT space. Its brick-and-mortar venue is located in Sheung Wan; is also an online global community. More physical venues will open in key cities in the future.
Poman Lo is the vice-chairman and managing director of the Regal Hotels Group, which announced plans to build MetaGreen, a green metropolis in the Sandbox, this year. MetaGreen is created with fostering and providing education on sustainability in mind. It is the first venture of its kind in the Sandbox, and is set to be complete in October 2022.
Whale Shark began investing in digital art in 2019, and with a portfolio of more than 400,000 artworks, he is the owner of the biggest and most valuable collections of NFT art in the world. The mysterious collector, who goes by a pseudonym for privacy reasons, appeared in season one of Tatler TV: Meta Versed.
Max Song is the founder and CEO of Carbonbase, a climate tech company that offers tools for people to calculate their carbon footprint and offset it. It also works with firms who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, such as New World Development and Xintiandi, helping them track their emissions using blockchain technology. He previously worked as a data scientist.
Award-winning actor Louis Koo produces and stars in 2022’s Warriors of Future, a multimillion-dollar sci-fi action flick offering something that’s the first of its kind in Hong Kong cinema: it has a collection of NFTs, which consists of 10,000 unique 3D soldier avatars with interchangeable weapons and body parts. The holders of these NFTs can compete in a mobile game named after the movie.
James Li is the CEO of Beam+ Lab, which works with film production companies to create NFTs of iconic moments in classic Hong Kong cinema. The firm’s inaugural project, Cryptyques, launched in June in partnership with Mei Ah Entertainment. It showcased over 1,000 NFTs of stills and clips from old Hong Kong movies, including a shot of Tony Leung in 1989’s My Heart Is That Eternal Rose and Leslie Cheung in 1982’s Nomad.