(CoinDesk Analysis Team)
Thailand’s second-richest person plans to increase his crypto-related investments in the coming months despite scrutiny from the local government and falling participation from retail traders on local exchanges, Bloomberg reported.
Sarath Ratanavadi, CEO of power company Gulf Energy Development, told Bloomberg in a Wednesday interview that his company plans to invest more in the crypto industry to create additional sources for earnings. Blockchain technology platforms and cryptocurrencies will be “key drivers for the company’s strongest returns” as the overall market remains sound and has “high potential” for growth, he said.
Ratanavadi will be following a path blazed by businesses elsewhere in the world that have, in the past few years, increasingly turned to crypto to bolster revenues. Firms taking the plunge include business software maker MicroStrategy – which has invested billions of dollars in bitcoin – electric-car maker Tesla, technology conglomerate Block and Chinese photo application firm Meitu.
Still, those bets have largely soured amid a market-wide decline: MicroStategy reported nearly $1 billion in losses on its holdings, Meitu lost over $52 million, and Tesla sold over $930 million in bitcoin earlier this year citing “uncertainty of the COVID lockdowns in China.”
The decision comes as Thailand’s retail trader market is dwindling. Data from the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission cited by Bloomberg showed the number of active trading accounts fell to 260,000 in July from 692,000 in January, coinciding with a fall in crypto prices. Bitcoin (BTC) is now 69% lower than its record high, with ether (ETH) and other major cryptocurrencies such as solana (SOL) registering declines of as much as 86%, CoinGecko data shows.
Ratanavadi remains unfazed, however. He said his company plans to open a crypto exchange in Thailand in partnership with crypto exchange Binance and is actively seeking licenses.
Don’t trust your coins to anyone, Ledger CEO warns
The Ledger CEO said that until people begin using decentralized technology, control over assets and data will remain in the hands of the big tech giants and centralized intermediaries.
The rise of decentralized services and hardware security wallets means that we no longer need to rely on intermediaries to manage our financial assets and data, according to CEO Pascal Gauthier of hardware wallet Ledger, who has urged people to take on more responsibility.
Speaking to Cointelegraph at Surfin’ Bitcoin 2022 on Aug. 25, Gauthier said that the recent collapse of centralized exchanges has showcased why investors shouldn’t rely on intermediaries to manage their digital assets.
While most actors are well intended, Gauthier said “the [crypto] industry is too young”, the current state of the economy is “under stress” and if necessary, intermediaries will continue to prevent investors from accessing their holdings in times of need, citing the now bankrupt Celsius as a textbook example:
Don’t trust your coins and your private keys to anyone because you don’t know what they’re going to do with it.
Gauthier admitted the bad news added “fuel to [their] business,” but reinforced that people need to “move their coins before it’s too late.” Though Gauthier unfortunately noted that people in crypto often need to “get burned a little bit” before learning the hard way.
But Gauthier also believes that the transition from Web2 to Web3 is taking its time because today’s internet users are content with the speed and efficiency of Web2 services:
“A lot of people are still in Web2 […] because they want to stay in the matrix where they’re being controlled because it’s easier, it’s you know just click yes yes yes and then someone else is going to deal with your problems. It’s all good and well but actually I don’t think this is how you [become] free […] taking responsibility is how you become free.”
Gauthier added that most people in today’s society see crypto as just another way to make easy money. However, they fail to understand that it can “give them control on their assets” and provide them “financial freedom.”
Ledger was founded in 2014, and is a leader in security hardware wallet infrastructure through the use of their built in ‘Secure Element and a proprietary operating system’, which is designed to protect digital assets. As of Jun. 2021, Ledger had sold over 3 million hardware wallets.
In addition to Ledger’s security products, Gauthier said the company has also taken an educative approach to help everyday people understand what Web3 is trying to do:
We spend a lot […] of our money […] on building content and education [to try] educate people, legislators, regulators […] for people to understand what all of this means, why it’s an opportunity, why freedom is being challenged today […] in the current society [and] why [this] technology needs to evolve in order […] to make people more free than what they are today.
Moving forward, Gauthier said he’s excited to see how blockchain tech unfolds and what crypto applications will bring in mass adoption. Taking a 20 year horizon, Gauthier added that “what we are going to see in 20 years are somethings that we can’t really imagine yet.”