As crypto exchanges face intense regulatory scrutiny from government authorities around the world and rising FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) from exit scams and closures, a new crypto exchange stands out. We meet the CEO of Estonia’s latest crypto exchange, WOWX, providing multijurisdictional compliant Virtual Currency Exchange and Virtual Currency Wallet for crypto traders in precarious times. Given the global upheaval in crypto exchanges, observers see big prospects for WOWX Exchange who is already ahead of the game by being fully licensed, registered and compliant to Estonia’s famously strict anti-money laundering regulation, KYC compliance, and adherence to the European Union’s multi-level laws, even before their launch. But with so many crypto exchanges into the world, we were curious to see how WOWX would differentiate themselves aside from being a licensed crypto exchange.
In his private office, 26-year-old Chow Pak Teng (a.k.a Pak) greets us in a suit jacket and invites us to sit on the couch to begin this interview. Pak is the CEO of WOWX and BlockSpace Asia. He was not always a blockchain expert in a sharp suit. His first job after business school was in internationally renowned hotels and resorts. But a series of interesting events lead him to become a passionate blockchain expert, advocate, entrepreneur and leading figure in Asia’s blockchain scene.
Tell us a little about your background, and what drives you today, Pak.
I’m a problem solver at heart, if there’s something wrong that needs to be right, I’ll damn sure make it right. Kind of like a superhero.
I graduated from business school and focused on hospitality and tourism management. I had a short stint of working at internationally renowned hotels and resorts. But I was never meant to go down that path. I first came into the tech world back in 2015 and started a Social Media Application called Jibber when I was 23. Jibber was funded by SPRING Singapore under the ACE startup program. The app garnered over 10,000 users in just 6 months but I had to close down the project as the servers often crashed without backup and we were burning through money that we didn’t have at the time.
So I then entered the mobile gaming industry to perform user acquisitions for new mobile games. My team and I successfully growth-hacked and took new games to the top of the App Store charts within days. The company and value chain grew and eventually we took the company public in the USA with over $420 million in market cap. The group built an ecosystem of IoT, Big Data, Blockchain and E-commerce for a digital revolution that provides tools for users to live and interact in a modern mobile world.
In 2016, we saw the need to educate the masses on crypto and blockchain as the hype bubble was getting out of hand. BlockSpace Asia was conceived and we were holding monthly events to educate retail investors and businesses on how they can utilize the blockchain to position themselves in 2019, just as how Jack Ma and Jeff Bezos used the Internet to position themselves in 1999. I guess considering how we were educating and advocating Blockchain as early as 2016, places us as Blockchain pioneers in Asia.
What would you say are your three greatest achievements?
There was a time when I led a team of over 1,000 sales affiliates across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. It was thrilling to lead an international team. My next greatest achievement was when Blockspace Asia’s inaugural event launched with over 40 speakers and 700 attendees present. And my best milestone, I’d say, is having the opportunity to pioneer the blockchain industry in various ways in the last one and a half years.
How did you get into crypto?
I first heard about bitcoin in 2010, when a friend was celebrating his bitcoin investment at $25! Having little money and knowing little about digital money, I skipped the opportunity and life went on. Fast forward to 2016, another friend convinced me to throw him $5,000 for cloud mining as it was the easiest money one could benefit from, knowing little but seeing how he already profited, I jumped on board knowing I had little to lose. Thank god for that because I had so much to gain! That’s how I jumped down the crypto rabbit hole, the profits from crypto investment got my attention, but I had nothing yet on what the technology could provide.
As mining grew more profitable, I started to explore more avenues on how one could profit from crypto. I explored buying upcoming ICOs, arbitraging on exchanges, and joining various community projects. Later, I went on to start an educational company, Blockspace Asia, to conduct Blockchain and Crypto 101 classes for the public. We created niche industry events for small to medium-sized enterprise owners from various industries to help them understand how the blockchain functions from a technology standpoint and how they can benefit from it.
When did you first have the idea to build WOWX?
I had the idea when I first dived into the crypto market. My friends and I were not trained as traders or analysts, so drawing Technical Analysis and Financial Analysis charts was not our forte. We were buying hype coins because that was what everyone was doing. Those early days were invaluable because it provided us with the experience and expertise we have today.
We noticed that most stock or crypto exchanges would cater to only 5% of the world’s population as their target audience. So if we could create a platform that allows 95% of the world to take part, that’s much more exciting, and it will enable mass adoption of cryptocurrency. That is, in fact, revolutionary – similar to what Alibaba did with Ant Financial, by allowing the average consumer to be involved in the financial world by providing simple tools for everyone to invest or be insured.
Our goal at WOWX isn’t to take make a lot of money from a few people, but to earn a little bit of money from a lot of people. Referencing to Ant Financial, that’s what they did and that’s why they are the financial and tech powerhouse of this day and age.
So that’s where the idea started, we wanted to create a platform to allow the average consumer to be involved in the crypto world by connecting them through tools that they are familiar with, like the smart card for 2FA (it works like traditional bank tokens) or an RFID chip on the card to enable visa or MasterCard payments.
With many news reports on crypto exchange closures or founders disappearing with customers’ funds, it became imperative for us to have an internationally compliant legal status. As difficult as it was, we researched, explored and contacted many different authorities from various countries to make trading legal and transparent on our exchange. This is the reason why we registered and licensed WOWX in Estonia, one of the most advanced crypto regulators in the world. Estonia was one of the first jurisdictions in the European Union (EU) to legalize crypto-related activities, so this gives us a head start in understanding and regulating crypto entities better than anywhere else in the world. Crypto entities registered in Estonia are legally operating in the EU, of which the country is a member state, and licensees are obliged to comply with relevant local and European laws. This means that WOWX is recognized in Europe as a legal digital asset exchange.
The exchange space is becoming crowded and competitive: what do you think will help set WOWX apart from the rest?
I think a great user experience is important. Apart from building an amazing trading interface and secure system, my team and I work hard to prioritize as well as provide our users’ as much value as possible through competitive listing fees up, low trading fees up to zero, unique referral program and ease of use through smart cards for spending your cryptos. We also formed WOWX Academy, with the primary objective of educating people how to value and trade cryptocurrency based on solid fundamentals, instead of relying on rumours and hype out there that are typically peddled by the so-called pump and dump syndicates or people with massive holdings.
To take the user experience up to another notch, we built the WOWX ecosystem to continually reward the community through strong compensation for referrals and high incentives for holding WOWX tokens. This means that even if you do not actively trade on WOWX, you will earn money when you refer your friends, and if a friend happens to trade more than you do, you also earn money because they are active traders. This is part of our unique 2-level referral program which incorporates the best features of affiliate marketing.
On top of that, users get top notch security and trading fees that are as low as 0%. Another big reward is that users get to spend their crypto directly on merchants through our smart cards. All these features will attract new users and grow the WOWX community.
Major exchanges like Binance are venturing into decentralized exchanges, why does WOWX choose to be a centralized exchange; do you see this as a winning strategy?
We see the advantages in Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) but it is still in its early stages, and its key struggles are notably: liquidity, volume, and usability. To some people, accountability. For them, it is important to be able to hold someone accountable for any issues or problems with their accounts or trades and DEX is lacking in this area.
Our goal for WOWX is to create a platform that enables mainstream adoption of crypto by allowing users to buy or sell crypto easily, conveniently and quickly. Having centralized measures at the start means we can push forward with faster user adoption and better control in terms of security and meeting regulatory requirements.
The WOWX whitepaper mentioned better regulation is better enabled through centralized parties – how are you working with policymakers?
We stay connected with the local regulators wherever we are operating. A day in crypto is like a month or year in traditional finance, and we have seen many crypto businesses being put out of business by regulators with just a snap of a finger. That is why crypto investors should be cautious when trading on unregulated crypto exchanges. It’s not just about meeting the requirements of the authorities, it’s also making sure that you are not sabotaging your wealth by trading in an unregulated crypto exchange that could be involved with unregistered traders that may be money launderers.
It is extremely important that WOWX complies with the regulators in every aspect of the business. We are here to stay for the long run.
Government regulators will prevent or punish bad actors in the industry, and with proper regulation, there is a strong chance that crypto will be coming to the mainstream market. This will not be in terms of its usual speculative hype, rather it will come in a form that will truly change and enhance the way that we live in the digital world.
Where do you see WOWX in 5 years?
Since our inception, we remain very clear of our goal of being one of the Top 10 Exchanges in the world in 2 years. Of course, we will grow from Asia first, then Europe and eventually expand to the rest of the world. In 5 years, you will see WOWX as a local exchange in every single corner of the world. More importantly, to offer a crypto exchange that truly prioritizes it’s users and enables mass adoption for cryptocurrency.
WOWX Exchange will be going live soon. Look out for their exciting pre-launch airdrop. Click here to receive FREE WOWX token, http://gowowx.exchange
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