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Animoca’s Yat Siu: Ownership Defines the Digital Future

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“Nothing can compare to the power of ownership and sovereignty of your own identity”, Yat Siu, co-founder of blockchain venture capital company Animoca Brands, said in a discussion on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference, Siu was referring to how the concept of ownership via blockchain technology will shake up legacy systems, especially at the advent of Web 3.0.

Siu said that traditional tech companies can no longer compete with blockchain-based platforms because of the “paradigm of ownership”, citing the example of blockchain-based game Axie Infinity where users are reportedly downloading it as a sideload on their android devices without Google Play.

“Nothing that a Web2 construct does can actually compete with a Web3 paradigm unless they too give them [users] ownership”.

Ownership in the metaverse

According to Bloomberg, the metaverse market is set to reach US$800 billion in 2024, with vast opportunities for social media companies and game developers.

Siu believes that the success of the metaverse hinges on whether projects are able to “serve a majority interest”, explaining that the only way for that to be achieved is if users have “a stake or ownership”.

“…no single entity should have a controlling voice in order to ensure that there’s a balance in the way that it’s run, and that it actually serves the community, much like how a modern democracy aims to look like”, he explained.

When asked why The Sandbox (a metaverse platform developed by Animoca Brands) is gaining popularity despite its similarity to existing games such as Roblox and Minecraft, Siu noted that they are currently two of the world’s most popular games because their construction is user-generated.

The SandBox, as Siu puts it, is also like the “YouTube of gaming” except that users can actually create, own, and monetise their experiences.

“The way we exist digitally isn’t that different from the way we used to or still exist physically. We live through story telling and our own creations and the same is true in the metaverse. If you exist in Call of Duty you’re living in someone else’s story. If you live in Roblox, Minecraft, or Sandbox, you’re living in your own story; you’re making your own destiny and identity”.

“There’s nothing more powerful than that”, he said.

A veteran tech entrepreneur, Yat Siu began his career at Atari Germany in 1990 before moving to Hong Kong to establish Hong Kong Cybercity/ Freenation, Asia’s first free web page and e-mail provider.

In 2014, he co-founded Animoca Brands, a leading blockchain venture capital company. Its holdings include crypto wallet MetaMask, NFT marketplace OpenSea, and metaverse platform The Sandbox.