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Heirs of Singapore’s most prominent figures are making an aggressive push towards crypto.
Whampoa Group is planning to splurge US$100 million through a venture capital fund in the space whilst raising $50 million for a crypto-related hedge fund, according to chief executive officer Shawn Chan.
Chan said the Whampoa hedge fund is market-neutral to offset the volatility of cryptocurrencies and trades Bitcoin and Ethereum mainly, whilst occasionally being involved with other tokens if the risk-reward is favourable.
“We think there is great conviction in this space. The venture capital fund will help us to expand our footprint in this area,” said Chan.
The multi-family office investment group was co-founded by Amy Lee – the daughter of Lee Kim Yew, who is the brother of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Amy Lee also served as a senior partner at Lee & Lee, a law firm started by the Lee brothers and Lee Kuan Yew’s wife.
Whampoa Group’s other co-founder is Lee Han Shih, whose family co-founded OCBC and Lee Rubber Group, among other companies.
Family offices are less regulated than other financial firms but still play a prominent role in the alternative investments space.
According to DBS, Singapore’s wealthy have been investors have been picking up buying opportunities amid a downturn in the crypto markets, helping to propel Bitcoin trading at its digital exchange at a time when MAS is deterring retail crypto trading, it said in August.
Whampoa will invest the raised funds in quity and tokens of products that facilitrate the mass adoption of Web3. The fund will likely be launched next quarter and has received strong interest from Chinese tech firms.
The move is not the firm’s first venture into web3, having previously invested in a fund set up by Binance.
Earlier this year, Kiat Lim – the son of Singaporean business magnate Peter Lim – and oil business Mewah International family scion Elroy Cheo founded exclusive NFT club ARC together.
ARC is targeting social media influencers and entrepeneurs to build an app-based commmunity for networking and collaborations.
“We are a networking ecosystem that encompasses online and offline experiences, and pushing online boundaries,” Lim said.
In July, Mandopop star JJ Lin joined ARC as a co-founder, stating “I’m excited to be a part of the Arc movement. It is the only community today that brings hugely diverse groups together with a very strong purpose of growing and co-creating. That’s what really inspired me to take a very active role in this project as co-founder.”
With the market still in turmoil, perhaps the backing from the rich and famous could serve as a lifeboat keeping us afloat. If anything, it’s encouraging that heirs of traditional entrepreneurs are seeing value in the crypto space.