Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong 2019 will take place on July 17th to 18th. To give you a taste of what to expect, we'll regularly be publishing interviews with the speakers at the show.
For more details on PGC Hong Kong and to book a ticket, head to the website here.
Today we're speaking to Liquefy CEO Adrian Lai, ahead of his session how tokenisation can take esports to the next level as well as his panel appearance talking about the future of esports as a whole.
Aside from his role at the technology platform, Lai is responsible for the BlackHorse Group’s investment strategies, focusing on seed to round A investment in blockchain infrastructure companies. Next to this, he contributes a column to the South China Morning post, adds comments for The Wall Street Journal as well as training Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute on blockchain
PocketGamer.biz: Could you tell us a bit about the company?
Adrian Lai: Liquefy enables the tokenisation of illiquid assets such as private companies, real estate, sports teams and any other assets using blockchain technology. We provide a seamless experience for asset owners to create security tokens, from tokenisation technology, compliance protocol, to corporate action management tools such as dividend distribution and voting.
What does your role entail?
As co-founder and CEO, I am responsible for the overall strategy and business development of Liquefy.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
We have noticed that tokenisation of the esports market has been overshadowed by other industries such as real estate. The esports industry will surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2019 and has the potential for tremendous growth. By tokenising esport teams, we are essentially creating a new for investors to participate in. This is a very exciting opportunity.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
The best advice I can give to someone in the blockchain and esports industry is to be prepared for change. Both industries are in their infancy and it will take some time before concrete systems are established. Always anticipate and stay ahead of the game if you do not wish to fail.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
29 per cent of the esports industry’s fanbase of 300 million people has only joined the community in the past 12 months. The last year has given us an opportunity to analyse the fanbase much more closely. Based on the statistics, most of these fans are young and affluent males, a demographic that marketers are increasingly trying to reach.
Due to this, advertisers and sponsors have increasingly targeted esports tournaments and teams. Some blockchain projects have been implemented in the industry. For instance, in-game assets such as guns, towers and other items can now be tokenised using NFTs.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
According to NewZoo, esports revenue for 2019 is projected to be $1.15 billion, which is a 26.7 per cent increase compared to 2018. I believe this will be driven by sponsorship and advertising revenue.
Crossing the one billion mark will attract the attention of many investors. However, since esport teams are illiquid assets with high minimum investment barriers, many investors would require a solution to enter the industry.
This will initiate blockchain projects focused on security token offerings, where an esport team can be tokenised to allow for fractional ownership, thereby making it a liquid asset.
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
Last year, it was more focused on tokenising in-game assets such as guns and towers through non-fungible tokens. However, after observing the influx of investors in the industry, Liquefy and some companies have been more focused on security token offerings.
Tokenising an esport team through an STO will permit fractional ownership and lower the minimum investment threshold, making the market accessible to more businesses and investors. Aside from this, security tokens bring in a lot of benefits to the market, making it more robust and transparent.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
I am looking forward to the networking session. I always enjoy meeting and mingling with talented people with different ideas and mindsets.
Find out more about Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong 2019 on the website.