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FluidAI Live – Korea Blockchain Week Exclusive: Wanwares Boonkong, Investment Manager at Beacon VC

Korea’s premier crypto and blockchain event, Korea Blockchain Week, saw crypto enthusiasts from around the world converge in Seoul for inspirational keynotes, panel discussions, pitch competitions, investor meet-ups, and world-class networking opportunities. 

In an exclusive FLUID Live interview, FLUID’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Matias Jeldrez, spoke to Wanwares Boonkong, also known as Pippin, Investment Manager at Beacon VC, to gather her thoughts on fragmented liquidity and how it impacts the crypto industry.

Q. How was Korea Blockchain Week for you?

The conference was actually packed. The agendas were perfect, and from a VC point of view, the conference proved to be a great space to interact with industry professionals from across the world. Even though it was very busy, it was absolutely perfect. 

Q.Could you tell us a little about who you are and what you do at Beacon VC?

I’m the Investment Manager at Beacon Venture Capital. Beacon VC is a wholly-owned corporate venture capital fund of Kasikornbank PLC, a leading commercial bank in Thailand with the highest mobile penetration and largest SME base. With an initial fund of $30 million, Beacon VC focuses on strategic investments in early to growth-stage technology startups covering not only financial technology (fintech), but also consumer internet and enterprise technology. We’ve expanded our investment to blockchain infrastructure projects as well.  

Q. Fragmented liquidity is a critical issue in the industry, causing prices for a single token to vary widely across exchanges. This leads to oligopolies that are highly powerful entities,  siloed liquidity, and the potential for arbitrage, market manipulation, flash crashes, and other activities. Does this remark strike a chord with you? What does it entail to be your own liquidity aggregator?

Just looking at it from the perspective of a retail investor, fragmented liquidity is a huge challenge right there. If we look at it from the point of view of an institutional investor that trades in large volume, liquidity fragmentation  becomes an even bigger pain point. As a whole, fragmented liquidity is something that the industry needs to tackle head-on and find solutions to on an urgent basis. 

Q. One of the things we realized in the market was a lack of education on the retail side, and the big thing is that institutional traders know when to sell. Do you think education is needed in the market for retail investors? How important is it to educate people about the basics and the importance of a liquidity aggregator that would provide a single solution where, for example, a pair that may be available you’d be able to exit from but it would have the opportunity to trade from different exchanges in one place?

Retail investors may be aware of the fundamentals, but in my opinion, they are unaware that liquidity aggregators exist. Because of this, they solely rely on one or two exchanges or just concentrate in one location. I believe that individual investors might really gain much more benefits from liquidity aggregation if there was considerably more information about it, which is why I believe that the education component is crucial.

Q. Do you think regulation is needed in the crypto space?

I firmly believe that regulation is necessary. Regulations will aid in protecting users and consumers as the sector expands, since that is what regulators focus on. Having said that, though, I’d also like to add that regulation needs to provide some flexibility for firms to explore innovations. If not, it might seriously stifle innovation. We need innovation in this field, but much more so, we need to give users a safe and secure environment.

Q. What’s your future outlook on the crypto industry from a personal point of view?

Although I am aware that the cryptocurrency industry is currently essentially in a bear market, I have personally been rather positive and bullish about it since day one. The reason is that I take a long-term view of it and attempt to envision what decentralisation and the token economy may accomplish as well as how innovation might result from this technology. I take a long-term approach to it. 

Given the cyclical nature of the cryptocurrency market, I believe it is now both the perfect time to build properly and the ideal moment for a venture capital firm like ours to consider investing in and supporting founders of strong, sound ideas.

To watch the full interview, click here