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News Report

Asian Crypto Start-Ups Could Become ‘Unicorns’ Despite Crypto Winter, Says Report

2 mins
Updated by Ryan James

In Brief

  • A new report suggests that some early-stage crypto firms could emerge from the winter as unicorns.
  • According to the report, Chinese firms are in a pole position to attain the coveted billion-dollar valuations.
  • The metaverse has been tipped to play a central role in the lofty ambitions of Asian cryptocurrency start-ups.
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A joint report by KPMG and HSBC has shed light on the state of start-ups in the Asia Pacific. The report picked a handful of Web 3 companies that could emerge as unicorns in the coming years.

According to the joint study, there are over 6,000 tech start-ups operating in the Asia-Pacific region, with a fourth of the lot engaged in Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi). 

The report highlighted that despite the drastic fall of crypto prices, some firms in the sector had the potential to be unicorns. KPMG and HSBC identified Stader Labs, a Singaporean DeFi platform, Catheon Gaming, and Hex Trust as firms that could be valued at a billion dollars when the crypto winter thaws.

100 other companies spanning several industries were picked as part of the exclusive list. The report focuses on 12 markets in the Asia-Pacific region with China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Australia leading the pack.

The metaverse will be instrumental

Darren Yong, KPMG’s head of tech, media, and telecoms in the region, has tipped the metaverse to be a deciding factor in Web 3 companies reaching their potential. Already, pundits are predicting that the metaverse could grow to a $13 trillion market by 2030.

“There will be a resurgence of applications,” said Yong. “We believe that blockchain companies and crypto assets more broadly will rebound at some point.” He added that should they deliver value, “they would emerge as the next Amazon.”

Apart from functionalities in the metaverse, a key factor that may decide how the pendulum swings are the developments in cross-border transactions. Faster, cheaper, and more efficient cross-border transactions would put the DeFi companies on the path to unicorn status. 

China leads the way despite a harsh regulatory stance

The joint report notes that the trio of China, India, and Japan have the most start-ups in contention for unicorn designation. China’s case is peculiar because regulatory authorities have cracked down on big internet firms, sending stock prices to dizzying lows.
The cryptocurrency crackdown of the summer of 2021 brought crypto activity to a grinding halt. Crypto firms were forced to leave the country while miners left to new jurisdictions. Yet, Chinese start-ups have continued to attract funding to keep the ecosystem buzzing with activity, notes the report.

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