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This Time it’s Different: Panelists at Milken Asia Institute Conference Talk “Sea Change” in Crypto Narrative

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While TOKEN2049 was ongoing in Singapore last week, another group of movers and shakers from the world of finance and tech gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel for the 9th Milken Institute Asia Summit.

Among the discussions was a lunch plenary focused on web3 and decentralized finance (DeFi) – the sole crypto-focused offering at the event, apart from fireside chat with Tron founder Justin Sun.

Panelists agreed that what they’re seeing is that VCs are continually raising funds at a breakneck pace, and that banks are speeding ahead – end clients want access to crypto.

“What we see is a tremendous amount of a positioning and demand for custody and liquidity and access the space. That is a very big difference to what we see in previous bear markets,” Leon Marshall Managing Director, Genesis Trading, said.

Related: TOKEN 2049: Industry Steers Towards DeFi to Onboard Institutional Liquidity

He added that institutions have not been spooked by the current bear market. “I can say quite clearly but that is not taking place at the moment and even to me that’s a bit of a surprise,” Marshall said.

Richard Teng, MENA head at Binance, highlighted the “sea change in terms of narrative.” “If you look at all the big international financial institutions globally, everyone has a blockchain and crypto strategy. Everyone has blockchain and crypto deployment. So that change narrative is very important and that actually drives a lot of new investment into this space,” Teng said, adding that Binance wants to work with closely with regulators on issues such as consumer protection and law enforcement.

“Crypto is going to grow. It’s not going to slow down because of the challenges now,” Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said, repeating the regulator’s position that it wants to encourage “real use cases” for digital assets and blockchain tech, but wants to prevent speculation or bad behaviour.

Related: Crypto Isn’t Going Mainstream Anytime Soon, Ensures MAS

“We got caught up in this narrative of cryptocurrency without getting into the purpose part of the cryptocurrency,” he said on the panel, adding that building good infrastructure will be key.

“Stablecoins, the commercial bank-backed digital currencies will start getting more serious and they will actually start competing against the private currencies,” Mohanty said.

Matrixport’s Wu Jihan was even more optimistic saying that blockchain “will build a new future for the whole finance industry, and will even change tradfi,” because of transparency demands. “So blockchain technology, eventually will dominated the whole financial sector and even the other real-world applications.”