Why is Asia a Global Blockchain Forerunner (English and Tagalog)

While the Western world has been at the forefront of technological developments, it is Asia that is emerging as blockchain’s epicenter.

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This article is available in English and Tagalog.

A melting pot of culture, geography, and industry, Asia is re-emerging as a global superpower. And blockchain plays a fundamental role in driving the economic, social, and institutional change at the heart of the transformation. As scholar Parag Khanna states, the ‘Asian century’ has begun.

From technologists to academics, governments to creators, Asia is embracing blockchain as a cornerstone of the new digital economy. It’s a historical moment that has been brewing throughout two decades of sweeping economic reform. Just over 20 years ago, Asia accounted for less than one-third of global GDP. By 2040, that number is forecast to increase to 50 percent. Recent McKinsey Global Institute research shows that China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand were just seven of 71 developing economies considered ’long-term performers’ in that they consistently maintained at least 3.5 percent GDP growth for an entire 50-year period.

Furthermore, Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam achieved at least 5 percent GDP growth over 20 years. The result has seen swift societal improvements such as longer life spans, improved literacy, and a fast-tracked digital transformation, industrialization, and urbanization. It is a change that has come incredibly fast, catapulting large population segments from low socio-economic backgrounds into the middle-class – and even the downright wealthy – within one generation. By 2030, it is estimated that one billion people in Asia will join the global middle class, thanks to economic growth and digital transformation.

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Web 3.0 – the great disruptor

While the Western world has been at the forefront of technological developments, it is Asia that is emerging as blockchain’s epicenter. Almost half of cryptocurrency trading occurs on exchanges in Asia, making the region a fertile ground for blockchain adoption. Hand in hand with blockchain’s increasingly pervasive presence is Web 3.0 and its disruption of Web 2.0 giants. Web 3.0 technologies have played a lead role in tipping the balance of power towards an internet that puts ownership – and financial reward – into the hands of creators and users.

While seemingly untouchable juggernauts such as Spotify and YouTube pocket billions from user-generated content – as well as personal data – Web 3.0 empowers users with the ability to maintain control of their work and potentially generate income from their endeavors. The burgeoning NFT art scene that blockchain networks such as Tezos nurture is one such example. The booming blockchain gaming industry is another, with a colossal community of play-to-earn (P2E) gamers embracing this new monetization model.

“The rising talent of Asian artists is testament to the fast growing NFT and Web 3.0 movement, which continues to gain momentum in the region,” says Katherine Ng, Head of APAC Marketing and Operations at TZ APAC. “What I’m most excited about with NFTs and Web 3.0 is the ability to bring financial inclusion to an expanding digital creator economy. Inherently inclusive and democratic, this decentralized ecosystem is showing artists they can be owners of the digital communities they create around their art while being fairly compensated.” Powering this Web 3.0 digital revolution in Asia is a tech-curious young population. Home to more than 4 billion people, Asia Pacific is home to 60% of the world’s youthful population. A consumer Technology Association study reveals that, relative to the US, a higher percentage of Asian consumers identify as early adopters of new technologies.

McKinsey Global Institute research reveals that industries such as virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence (AI) now account for nearly half of global investment in venture capital inside Asia. We’re already seeing this play out with the enormous pools of digital consumers supporting the thriving and innovative blockchain technology sector.

These era-defining innovations have also created new opportunities that weren’t possible just a few years ago. Built on a decentralized digital economy, Blockchain networks such as Tezos foster a strong foundation of community that rewards participation. NFTs are a prime example. For the first time, artists and creators can create their own digital artworks and access highly engaged crypto audiences who find value in their work. The opportunity to affordably mint digital creations and get paid (some, really well) by a global marketplace hungry for unique perspectives has transformed societal norms and broken through the traditional art world’s high barriers to entry.

The financial opportunity

Another powerful factor influencing blockchain adoption is that the Asian economy is increasingly looking inwards rather than out. With the continued development of new industrial capabilities and increased manufacturing of more products on home soil, there is less reliance on foreign imports. What’s more, Asia isn’t bound by the same tightly integrated trade entity as the European Union or NAFTA. Today, 52 percent of Asian trade is intra-regional, compared to just 41 percent in North America. This concept of a ‘self-contained Asia’ is also reflected in the opportunities blockchain technologies present across verticals as diverse as gaming, finance, and commerce.

One of the most critical issues blockchain technology addresses is financial parity. The Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprising ten countries within the region, has shown support for the technology through its 2025 Strategic Action Plan. With a goal to deliver financial products and services to a broader, under-served community, including micro, small and medium enterprises, the Community Blueprint also outlines the need to “promote innovative financial inclusion via digital platforms.”

Put into practice, blockchain is opening up opportunities for many to engage with the finance sector for the first time. Despite solid economic growth in the region, more than 70% of the adult population in Southeast Asia remains either ‘underbanked’ or ‘unbanked’ due to cumbersome requirements or lack of access to formal credit history. And while cash remains king, crypto and other blockchain technologies have disrupted the status quo by offering a decentralized way for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in the economy. With privacy built into its DNA, an added layer of protection is provided that Web 2.0 services, governments, and banks don’t offer.

For emerging Asian countries, the option to bypass the limitations of conventional banking for the freedom of decentralized finance (DeFi) is a game-changer. Blockchain networks such as Tezos are at the forefront of this movement enabling brands, developers, and creators to bring their works to the masses with the potential to earn a living.

True to this theme, Katherine believes there are two choices in life: repeat or evolve. “Our first landmark NFT exhibition at Art Basel Hong Kong: NFTs and the Ever-Evolving World of Art, made waves in Asia’s tech, finance, art and media circles. For the first time, we achieved 50% Asian artist representation at the exhibition, the world’s largest and most prestigious global art fair.”

Institutional change

At an institutional level, blockchain’s broad spectrum applications show what’s possible in creating meaningful change. From government, education and health, institutions are fueling blockchain’s digital transformation across Asia as they explore ways to boost productivity, security, and transparency at scale.

With ambitious plans to strengthen its digital economy, Vietnam is transforming Ho Chi Minh City into a smart city by using blockchain technology to mitigate risk and streamline processes. In Indonesia, which is considered to have the most complicated election process in the world with 193 million people spread over 17,000 islands, blockchain technology has successfully improved the transparency and integrity of election results.

In the education sector, institutions are exploring the benefits of blockchain technology for record-keeping to enable students to take control of their accreditations without the need for an intermediary to verify authenticity. Another exciting possibility is using the technology to compile a virtual record of a person’s educational achievements throughout their lifetime.

Social upheaval for the better

From its inception and unlike traditional financial services, cryptocurrency and blockchain have never been the exclusive domain of mainstream middle and upper classes. By improving political processes, health systems, and providing financial and entrepreneurial opportunities to the marginalized and those that old-guard institutions overlook, blockchain technology has the capacity to be a catalyst for diversity and inclusion.

Not-for-profit Diversity in Blockchain is one of several groups committed to ensuring diverse people and communities are included in the artistic and creator opportunities blockchain presents.

As Katherine explains, there is a wealth of advantages these different perspectives can bring to NFT technologies. “My hope is to provide the best platform for Asian NFT generative artists to empower their art and voices and bridge the gap between the most serious art collectors and museum directors in the world. At the same time, sustainable spaces for representation are created when these digital creators are empowered to share their personal and collective identities through their art, without censorship and with true ownership,” she adds.”

Investing in blockchain growth

Singapore-based Tribe Accelerator is a global blockchain incubator that selects the most promising growth-stage startups tackling real-world problems and supercharges their go-to-market strategies through its worldwide network.

The accelerator team works with the portfolio companies to co-design go-to-market strategies through partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, governments, and tech companies to drive mass adoption of their solutions.

Crunchbase recognizes the organization as one of the top 100 accelerators in the world. To date, Tribe Accelerator’s achievements include:

  • 32 nodes worldwide
  • 1,200+ blockchain companies connected
  • 100+ countries covered globally
  • S$70M raised by portfolio companies

A new center of gravity

Home to some of the largest global companies, 60% of the world’s youth population, 50% of all internet users, and the fastest-growing blockchain market, Asia is the new center of global consumption and the largest economy in the world. As the decentralization of the internet and the opportunities provided by blockchain technologies continue their march on every facet of society, a new century of Asian leadership is here and with it an innovative generation setting new standards of what’s possible.

(Tagalog) Asya: Ang Global Blockchain Frontrunner

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Ang melting pot ng kultura, heograpiya, at industriya, ang Asya ay muling simisibol bilang isang global superpower. At may ginagampanang pundamental na papel ang blockchain sa pagtulak sa economic, social, at institusyunal na pagbabago sa gitna ng transpormasyon nito. Bilang isang iskolar, sinabi ni Parag Khanna na ang ‘Asian century’ ay nagsimula na.

Pag-shift ng demographic sa makabagong middle class

Mula sa mga technologist na naging academic, gobyerno na naging mga creators, sinasalubong ng Asya ang blockchain bilang cornerstone ng makabagong digital economy. Isa itong makasaysayang panahon na nagsimulang umusbong mula sa nakaraang dalawang dekada ng maigting na mga economic reform. Mahigit 20 taon na ang nakalipas, mas mababa pa sa one-third ng kabuuang GDP ang galing sa Asya. Pagdating ng 2040, inaasahang aabot ang bilang na ito ng mahigit sa 50 porsyento. Kamakailan lamang, ang research ng McKinsey Global Institute ay nagpakita na ang China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, at Thailand ay pito mula sa 71 developing economies na ikinunsidera bilang ‘long-term performers’ dahil sa kanilang consistent na pagme-maintain ng hindi bababa sa 3.5 percent GCP growth sa loob ng 50 year period.

Dagdag pa rito, ang Cambodia, India, Laos, Myanmar, at Vietnam ay nakamit ang hindi bababa sa 5 percent GDP growth sa loob ng 20 taon. Ang resultang ito ay nakakita ng mabilis na societal improvements gaya ng mas mahabang life spans, mas mahusay na literacy, at ang pag fast-track ng digital transformation, industrialization, at urbanization. Ang mga pagbabagong ito ay mabilisang dumating, at nag-catapult sa malaking bahagi ng population segments mula sa mababang socio-economic backgrounds tungo sa middle-class – at pati na rin ang mga mayayaman na – sa loob lamang ng isang henerasyon. Pagdating ng 2030, inaasahang aabot sa isang bilyong tao sa Asya ang mapapabilang sa global middle class, salamat sa economic growth at digital transformation.

Web 3.0 – ang malaking disruptor

Habang ang Western world ang nagsisilbing mukha ng technological developments, ang Asya ang lumalabas na umuusbong bilang epicenter ng blockchain. Aabot sa kalahati ng cryptocurrency trading ay nagaganap sa mga exchanges sa Asya, dahilan upang ikunsidera ang rehiyon bilang fertile ground para sa blockchain adoption. Kapit kamay sa lumalaking pervasive presence ng blockchain ay ang Web 3.0 at ang disruption nito sa mga Web 2.0 giants. Ginagampanan ng Web 3.0 technologies ay pangunahing papel sa paglipat ng balanse ng kapangyarihan mula sa internet na naglalagay ng ownership – at financial reward- sa kamay ng mga creators at users nito.

Habang mistulang hindi maabot ang mga juggernauts gaya ng Spotify at YouTube na kumita ng bilyon-bilyon mula sa mga user-generated content – pati narin ng personal data – binibigyang kapangyarihan ng Web 3.0 ang mga users nito na magkaroon ng kakayahang panatilihin ang kanilang kontrol ng kanilang mga likha at ang posibilidad na magkaroon ng income mula sa kanilang mga endeavors. Dagdag pa rito ang umuusbong na blockchain gaming industry, na mayroong malahiganteng komunidad ng mga play-to-earn (P2E) gamers na kasalukuyang niyayakap ang bagong monetization model na ito.

 “Ang umuusbong na talento ng mga Asian artist ay patunay sa mabilis na limalagong NFT at Web 3.0 movement, na patuloy na nagkakaroon ng momentum sa nasabing rehiyon,” ang sabi ni Katherine Ng, ang Head ng APAC Marketing at Operations ng TZ APAC. “Ang pinakaaabangan ko sa NFT at Web 3.0 ay ang kakayahang maisama sa financial inclusion ang lumalaking digital creator economy. Natural na inclusive at democratic, ipinapakita ng decentralized ecosystem na ito sa mga artist na maaari silang maging may ari ng mga digital communities na kanilang nililikha base sa kanilang art habang nakakatangap sila ng patas na compensation.” Ang nagbibigay lakas naman sa Web 3.0 digital revolution na ito sa Asya ay ang tech-curious na nakababatang populasyon. Tahanan ng mahigit 4 the bilyong katao, ang Asia Pacific ay tahanan  sa 60% ng youthful population ng buong mundo. Ibinunyad ng isang consumer technology association study na, kung ikukumpara sa US, mas mataas na porsiyento ng Asian consumers ay kinikilala ang sarili nila bilang early adopters ng mga bagong teknolohiya.

Ibinunyag ng McKinsey Global Institure na ang mga industriyang gaya ng virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, robotics, drones, at artificial intelligence (AI) ang bumubuo sa halos kalahati ng lahat ng global investment ng mga venture capital sa Asya. Nakikita na natin ang epekto nito sa napakalaking pools ng mga digital consumers na sumusuporta sa umuusbong at umuunlad na blockchain technology sector.

Ang mga era-defining innovations na ito ay lumikha rin ng mga bagong oportunidad na hindi possibleng ilang taon na ang nakararaan. Gawa sa mga decentralized na digital economy, ang mga Blockchain networks gaya ng Tezos ang nagtataguyod ng malakas na pundasyon ng komunidad sa pagbibigay ng gantimpala para sa kanilang partisipasyon. Ang mga NFT ang pinakamalaking halimbawa nito. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, ang mga artist at creators ay maaaring gumawa ng kanilang sariling digital artwork at magkaroon ng access sa mga highly engaged na crypto audience na kumikilala sa kanilang mga likha. Ang oportunidad na makapag-mint ng digital creations sa murang halaga, at mabayaran para dito (ang ilan ay nababayaran ng malaki) ng pandaigdigang marketplace na sabik para sa bukod-tanging pananaw ang bumago sa societal norms at lumusot sa mataas na pader ng mundo ng traditional art.

Ang pinansyal na oportunidad

Isa pang makapangyarihang factor na umiimpluwensya sa blockchain adoption ay ang patuloy na pagtingin ‘papaloob’ ng Asian community imbes na ‘palabas’. Dahil sa patuloy na development ng mga bagong industrial capabilities at karagdagang pag manufacture ng mga produkto sa sarili nilang bayan, mas mababa ang reliance nila sa mga foreign imports. Dagdag pa rito, hindi nakatali ang Asya sa isang mahigpit na trade entity gaya ng European Union o NAFTA. Sa ngayon, 52 porsyento ng Asian trade ay intra-regional, kumpara sa 41 percent sa North America. Ang konsepto ng ‘self-contained Asia’ ay masasalamin din sa mga oportunidad na matatagpuan sa blockchain technologies at sa iba’t ibang bahagi nito gaya ng gaming, finance, at commerce.

 Isa sa pinaka kritikal na isyung nilulutas ng blockchain technology ay ang financial parity. Ang Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), na binubuo ng sampung bansa sa rehiyon, ay nagpakita ng suporta sa teknolohiya sa kanilang 2025 Strategic Action Plan. Sa kanilang layunin na makapagbigay ng produkto at serbisyong pinansyal sa mas malawak, under-served, kasama na ang mga micro, small at medium enterprise. Inilalatag din ng kanilang Community Blueprint ang pangangailangan na “i-promote ang innovative na financial inclusion sa pamamagitan ng digital platforms.”

Sa pagsasagawa nito, nagbukas ng maraming oportunidad ang blockchain sa karamihan upang sa unang pagkakataon ay makasalamuha nila ang finance sector. Sa kabila ng solid economic growth sa rehiyon, mahigit 70% ng adult population ng Southeast Asia ay nananatiling ‘underbanked’ o ‘unbanked’ dahil sa mabigat na requirements o kawalan ng access sa pormal na credit history. At kahit nananatili ang cash bilang king, ginagambala ng crypto ang ang ibang blockchain technologies ang status quo sa pamamagitan ng pagaalok ng decentralized na pamamaraan upang ang mga tao mula sa lahat ng socioeconomic background ay makilahok sa ekonomiya. At dahil ang privacy ay nakahubog sa DNA nito, karagdagang layer ng proteksyon ang naibibigay nito na hindi mo makikita sa Web 2.0 services, gobyerno, o kahit mga banko.

Para sa umuusbong na bansa sa Asya, ang piliing ma-bypass ang limitasyon ng conventional banking para sa malayang decentralized finance (DeFi) ay isang game-changer. Ang mga blockchain network na gaya ng Tezos ang nangunguna sa movement na ito na nagbibigay-kakayahan sa mga brands, developers, at mga creators upang maiprisinta nila ang kanilang mga gawa sa madla at magkaroon ng potensyal para kumita ng kanilang pangkabuhayan.

At totoo sa temang ito, naniniwala si Katherine na sa buhay ay mayroong dalawang pagpipilian: repeat o evolve. “Ang kauna-unahan naming landmark NFT exhibition sa Art Basel Hong Kong: and NFT at ang patuloy na nage-evolve na mundo ng art, ay lumikha ng daluyong sa tech, finance, art at media circles ng Asya. Sa unang pagkakataon, nakamit namin na magkaroon g 50% na Asian artist representation sa exhibition, ito ang pinakamalaking bilang sa pinaka prestihiyosong global art fair sa mundo.”

Pagbabagong Institusyunal

Pagdating sa institutional level, ang malawak na spectrum ng aplikasyon ng blockchain ay nagpapakita ng kung ano ang posible sa paglikha ng makatuturang pagbabago. Mula sa gobyerno, edukasyon ang kalusugan, at mga institusyon, lahat ng mga ito ay nagtutulak sa digital transformation ng blockchain sa Asya habang patuloy nitong tinutuklas ang mga paraan upang mapabuti ang productivity, security, at transparency depende sa kaukulang sukat.

At dahil sa maambisyon nilang mga plano upang palakasin ang kanilang digital economy, binabago ng Vietnam ang Ho Chi Minh city upang maging smart city gamit ang blockchain technology upang mabawasan ang risk at ma-streamline ang proseso. Sa Indonesia naman, na kinikilala na mayroong pinaka komplikadong proseso ng eleksyon sa buong mundo at mayroong 193 milyong katao na nakakalat sa mahigit 17.000 isla nito, ang blockchain technology ay matagumpay na napagbuti ang transparency at integrity ng kanilang election results.

Sa education sector naman, tinutuklas ng mga institusyon nito ang mga benepisyo ng blockchain technology para sa record-keeping upang mabigyan ng kakayahan ang kanilang mga estudyante na magkaroon ng kontrol sa kanilang accreditations ng hindi na nangangailangan pa ng intermediary upang makapag pa-verify ng authenticity. Isa pang kapana-panabik na posibilidad ay ang paggamit ng teknolohiyang ito upang mapag sama-sama ang mga virtual record ng mga education achievement ng isang tao sa kabuuan ng kanyang buhay.

Social upheaval para sa ikabubuti

Mula ng sinimulan ito, at hindi tulad ng tradisyunal na serbisyong pinansyal, ang cryptocurrency at ang blockchain ay hindi eksklusibo para sa mainstream middle at upper classes lamang.  Sa patuloy na pagpagpapabuti ng prosesong politikal, sistemang pangkalusugan, at pagbibigay ng pinansyal ay entrepreneurial na oportunidad sa mga nasa laylayan at sa mga halos nakalimutan na ng lumang mga institusyon, may kapasidad ang blockchain upang maging mitsa para sa diversity at inclusion.

Ang not-for-profit na Diversity in Blockchain ay isa sa maraming grupo na nakatuon upang siguruhin na maraming tao mula a iba’t ibang komunidad ay kasalo sa mga artistic at sa mga creator opportunities na ipinipresinta ng blockchain.

Gaya ng paliwanag ni Katherine, napakaraming advantages ang makukuha mula sa iba’t ibang perspektibo ng NFT technologies. “Ako ay umaasang makapagbigay ng pinakamahusay na platform para sa mga Asian NFT generative artist upang lubos pang mapalakas ang kanilang art at ang kanilang boses at upang mabigyan ng tulay ang kanilang pagitan sa pinakaseryosong art collectors at museum directors sa buong mundo, Kasabay nito, lumilkha din tayo ng mga sustainable spaces para sa representasyon kapag ang mga digital creators na ito ay binibigyang lakas upang maibahagi nila ang kanilang mga personal na collective identities mula sa kanilang art, ng walang censorship at may tunay na pagmamay-ari,” kanyang idinagdag.

Pagiinvest sa paglago ng blockchain.

Ang Singapore-based na Tribe Accelerator ay isang global blockchain incubator na pumipili ng pinaka ‘promising’ na growth-stage na startups na hinaharap ang mga real-world problems at nag su-superchange ng kanilang go-to-market strategies sa pamamagitan ng pandaigdigang network.

Nakikipagtulungan ang accelerator team sa mga portfolio companies sa pakikipag co-design ng go-to-market strategies mula sa kanilang partnership sa mga kumpanyang kabilang sa Fortune 500, mga gobyerno, at mga tech companies upang itulak ang mass adoption ng kanilang mga solusyon.

Kinikilala ng Crunchbase ang organisasyong ito bilang isa sa top 100 accelerators sa buong mundo. Sa ngayon, ang mga achievement ng Tribe Accelerator ay ang mga sumusunod:

  • 32 nodes sa buong mundo
  • 1,200+ na konektadong blockchain companies
  • 100+ na bansa ang sakop sa buong mundo
  • S$70M ang nalikom ng portfolio companies

Ang bagong sentro ng gravity

Tahanan sa ilan sa pinakamalaking global companies, 60% ng nakababatang populasyon sa buong mundo, 50% ang lahat ng internet users, ang may pinaka mabilis na lumagong blockchain market, ang Asya ay ang bagong sentro ng global consumption at ang pinakamalaking ekonomiya sa buong mundo. Habang patuloy ang pagmartsa ng decentralization ng internet at ng mga oportunidad na ibinibigay ng blockchain technologies sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng society, ang bagong siglo ng Asian leadership at naririto na at kasama nito ay ang innovative na henerasyon naglalagay ng makabagong standard sa kung ano ang posible.

This article is published in collaboration with TZ APAC: Why is Asia a Global Blockchain Forerunner

Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.

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