Yat Siu, the co-founder and executive chairman of Animoca Brands, recognizes the immense potential of personalized Web3-based services, as his company allocates $30 million for the neobank platform called “hi.”
Siu’s investment firm plans to support the Web3 app, which brings together a cryptocurrency exchange, digital banking services, and a unique nonfungible token (NFT)-styled crypto debit card option as part of its expanding ecosystem.
In an exclusive conversation with Cointelegraph, Siu expressed that hi’s vision for its NFT debit card aligns perfectly with his perspective on the intersection of culture and Web3. The flagship crypto-friendly Mastercard debit card offered by hi allows users to customize their physical cards with an NFT avatar they own.
The agreement’s central focus is to enhance the utility of various Web3 tokens and NFTs. Within the hi ecosystem, there are Web3-integrated financial applications and its proprietary hi protocol, which operates as an Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible sidechain.
One key objective of the collaboration is to promote the adoption of a unique-human authentication mechanism facilitated by the hi protocol’s proof of human identity solution. Sean Rac, co-founder of hi, explained that this solution addresses the limitations of the Web2 era, where a small number of companies gained control over user data and identity as dominant credential providers.
To tackle this issue, hi’s approach employs a dual-node structure, with one set of nodes functioning as identity validators, responsible for verifying accounts owned by real humans. Concurrently, block producers ensure network security.
Rac emphasized that this innovative approach could pave the way for “human-only” networks and decentralized applications, unlocking new possibilities in the Web3 space.
Through this partnership, users will gain the ability to send and receive various Animoca Web3 ecosystem tokens, including popular ones like The Sandbox (SAND) valued at $0.43 and ApeCoin (APE) valued at $1.97. The Web3 app, boasting a substantial user base of over 3.5 million, enables seamless transactions with fiat or crypto debit cards worldwide, tapping into the vast network of about 90 million merchants that accept Mastercard services.
Positioning itself in the realm influenced by neobanks like Revolut and N26, the platform focuses on Web3, attracting advocates and enthusiasts eager to showcase their prized NFTs, such as Bored Ape Yacht Club, Meebit, or Pudgy Penguin.
Yat Siu, the co-founder of Animoca, sees this investment as an opportunity to introduce new users to the Web3 space while strengthening Animoca’s own brands, particularly The Sandbox. This strategic partnership holds significant value for Animoca, a company that has invested in multiple NFT and Web3 projects. The investment process will commence once both parties finalize definitive agreements.
As a virtual asset service provider (VASP) in Lithuania and recognized as a digital currency operator by Italy’s payments service regulator, hi has secured the necessary approvals to operate. Its expansion in Asia is underway, with pre-registration efforts ongoing to secure a VASP license through the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
In the realm of blockchain gaming and Web3 projects, Animoca continues to make substantial investments, such as its proposed $1 billion metaverse fund, for which they are awaiting a regulatory license in Hong Kong.