Understanding the Bitcoin Cash hash war

Bitcoin Cash has undergone a hard fork this week after unresolved deliberations on a number of key upgrades, and tensions are running high.

Two of the largest Bitcoin Cash implementations (Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV) are at odds over which features to include, and as a result, a “hash war” has broken out.

Bitcoin SV is led by Craig Wright (of nChain fame), while Bitcoin ABC is supported by the controversial crypto influencer Roger Ver. Both implementations are incompatible with each other, which means that in theory, only one can continue to be the “real” Bitcoin Cash.

A hash war consists of two competing sides that are boosting their computing power in a bid to gain increased influence (and show support for) a preferred implementation, with mining power being used as a weapon to potentially kill off another blockchain.

This is done using a pooling of hash power resources, which are the total computing resources assembled by a group of miners in the interest of keeping a blockchain secure.

If either side has more than 51% of the hashing power in Bitcoin Cash, the dominating side would in theory be able to launch debilitating attacks on the smaller chain. This represents a troubling turn of events for a community that’s been equal parts competitive and collaborative in recent years.

Perhaps most important here is that neither side has implemented replay protection in the lead-up to the hash war. Replay protection is what allows traders to safely spend their funds when a fork takes place, and without it, any hard fork can quickly become a dangerous proposition.

A lack of replay protection means that both chains intent to keep boosting their hash rate until the other loses, with the victor becoming the “one true chain” for Bitcoin Cash traders. Crypto investors on the losing side stand to lose a lot of money, and that’s part of what makes this war amidst a hard fork so risky.

On the exchanges front, most are already listing both Bitcoin Cash hard forks as trading pairs. Some (such as Poloniex) have suspended Bitcoin Cash trading altogether until the outcome is confirmed.

With a number of attacks that can be launched, both sides seem willing to fight to the death for the right to control Bitcoin Cash’s future. While it seems likely ABC will emerge as the victor in this hash war, SV could still execute an attack to destroy ABC.

Both blockchains are being pushed to their limits, and it’s a great way for the crypto community to see the pros and cons of each. To follow the hash war live, check out Hashware Live or read this primer on the battle.

Introducing CryptoTracker

During a late night in Bangkok a few months ago drinking wine with friends, we were discussing how news could impact the prices of cryptocurrencies.

We all agreed it would be cool if there was a site that listed live coin price data alongside live news. After searching Google and not being able to find what we wanted, myself and one of the guys set out to build a site that did just this – provide live coin data with live news associated with each coin.

After many weeks of working on the design, setting up a back-end system, testing and integrating different API’s, and securing a great domain name for the project, I’m pleased to introduce the first version of the product at CryptoTracker.io

It was a super fun project to work on and I’m thankful we had some amazing partners who supported the product pre-launch, including:

  • LocalEthereum – The smartest way to buy and sell ether
  • Heat Wallet – A 3rd generation cryptocurrency with high-frequency trading
  • CXO.ai – The all-in-one crypto learning platform
  • Gem – The friendliest way to manage your crypto portfolio

If you’re after live coin data with live news, check CryptoTracker out. We have a great roadmap laid out which will make the site even better to use over the coming months, which we are working on now. With that said, I’m really excited to see the progress we make over the coming months and years.

Crypto Dinners

I’m not a huge fan of large crypto/blockchain conferences, but do I have a lot of fun when I network and learn with interesting people in the blockchain/crypto space.

With this in mind, I’m considering hosting a couple of “crypto dinners” later this year while passing through Barcelona, Dubai, Tokyo and Bangkok. Nothing fancy – just a group of crypto fans connecting, geeking and learning about crypto together over a nice meal. If there’s keen interest, we could probably invite an expert or two to give some talks.

The aim will be to keep these dinners small and intimate (10-30pax or so) so everyone gets a chance to network and learn. If you could be interested in attending one of these dinners, please send me an email letting me know what one you’re interested in. If there’s enough interest, I’ll get the dinners organized.

Naval on trading money for time

I think Naval, tech investor and founder of AngelList, is one of the sharpest minds in tech. So it was a pleasure waking up this morning to see he did another Periscope chat answering random questions from his audience.

The quote that really resonated with me, especially since I’m no spring chicken anymore, was:

Anytime you can trade money for time, you should. You’ll run out of time first.

Give the Periscope a watch here.

The best places to setup a Crypto Company in 2018

If you’re interested in crypto, be sure to check out CryptoList – my hand-researched list of crypto companies, and consider subscribing to CryptoWeekly – my weekly crypto newsletter covering the week’s must-read blockchain news.


One of the most important decisions founders will make when setting up a crypto company is deciding where to incorporate. It’s a simple decision with profound implications. One change in regulations or a simple change in taxation rules could provide serious complications for any new crypto venture, and as such, choosing the right city to incorporate in is critical.

The rise of cryptocurrencies is irreversible, and some cities are capitalizing on the massive opportunity this presents – both for the cities themselves and for the communities they support. A few in particular have actively embraced cryptocurrencies, and are turning themselves into magnets for crypto investment.

After hours of research, I’m excited to reveal the cities which I believe provide the best balance of opportunity, stability, and access to funding for founders:

  • Zug, Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • San Francisco
  • Gibraltar
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Malta

Let’s get started.

Zug, Switzerland

Why Zug?

Commonly known as “Crypto Valley”, tiny Zug has quickly risen to become one of the top destinations for setting up a crypto company. A decentralized political system and a light-touch approach to crypto regulation have turned this sleepy town into a magnet for crypto companies, ICOs, and investors looking to benefit from the attractive climate for research and development here.

Zug has been on the forefront of crypto innovation for years (Ethereum was incorporated here all the way back in 2014), and the city is now home to dozens of crypto startups and blockchain accelerators – as well as the Crypto Valley Association, the city’s official blockchain community.

In addition, you can even pay bills and taxes here through Bitcoin, which is officially accepted as a currency – what’s not to love?

Pros:

On account of the entrepreneurs that have already migrated to Zug, the city boasts a large talent pool for its size. With this talent, has come a significant amount of capital. Crypto founders will find that Zug is a place brimming with funding, and high-quality talent and mentorship to go along with it.

In addition, crypto founders will benefit from the huge community of crypto firms that have already set up shop in Zug (Ethereum, Tezos, Monetas, and many others have a presence in town).

The crypto community is vibrant, supportive, and growing – which is exactly what one needs when starting up a new venture. Part of this ecosystem is the Crypto Valley Association, a government-backed organization that’s dedicated to turning Switzerland into a world leader in the crypto and blockchain spheres. The CVA hosts a number of networking events each month and serves as a forum for crypto entrepreneurs to learn from one another.

Another significant benefit of setting one’s crypto company up in Zug is its tax rate, which is minimal for crypto companies (even in Switzerland, the canton boasts the 5th lowest tax rate among all others). As is true in the rest of Switzerland, this low-tax environment is ideal for most businesses.

Lastly, in a world of crypto markets where volatility reigns supreme, it should come as no surprise that crypto entrepreneurs are flocking to Zug (and Switzerland more generally) for its famed stability. The government’s opening-up to crypto has been slow but methodical, and its light-touch approach to crypto regulation lies in contrast to most other foreign governments, which have taken a haphazard approach to regulating cryptocurrencies.

Cons:

The cons of incorporating in Zug are few and far between, but they do exist. Some crypto entrepreneurs may be put off by the canton’s high cost of living, which should be a consideration for anyone looking to start their venture here.

In addition, although Zug is a growing crypto hub, it doesn’t yet have the international profile of Singapore or Dubai, meaning one may still have to travel further afield to find high-quality blockchain talent or capital that isn’t already tied up.

What the experts say:

Ralf Glabischnig, partner at Zug-based Lakeside Partners, shares:

Crypto Startups should establish their business in the Crypto Valley because Switzerland has decentralization and consensus in their DNA! Already more than 350 companies with more than 3000 experts are working here in the blockchain field (see CryptoValley Directory)

Get involved:

Singapore

Why Singapore?

After the US and Switzerland, Singapore was the third-largest destination for ICOs in 2017.

The tiny island city-state has long been a hub for international business, and recently Singapore’s central government has started making a concerted effort to attract crypto firms to its shores by setting up FinTech incubators and drafting clear regulations around cryptocurrencies. In particular, Singapore’s central bank alone has set aside a reported $166m for developing and investing in new crypto and FinTech projects.

The city-state also boasts a vibrant crypto ecosystem, with numerous crypto events and meetings happening around town every week. Finding an advisor here for one’s crypto company is easier than in most places, and there’s also a wealth of engineering talent in this cosmopolitan city.

Pros:

Always critical for crypto companies, the taxes in Singapore are low, ranging from 0-20% for most businesses. In addition, the central government has so far taken a light-touch approach to crypto regulation – much of this is due to Singapore historical position as a global financial hub, but the government is open to and curious about experiencing with cryptocurrencies themselves.

With literally hundreds of banks and VC funds headquartered on just a few square kilometers of land, proximity to massive amounts of capital is probably better here than anywhere else in the world.

Founders will find it convenient and easy to line up meetings with investors here, which are more open to investing in crypto companies than in most other cities. In addition to all that capital, Singapore has a massive crypto ecosystem, with numerous crypto startups headquartered here.

In addition, it’ll soon be home to a dedicated cryptocurrency and ICO advisory center, which will act as a hub for crypto founders looking to locate talent and start up their own venture in the city-state.

In addition to capital, Singapore is also home to a wealth of engineering talent – both homegrown and from overseas. It’s home to several of the world’s top research universities (including the National University of Singapore) and is a magnet for engineering talent on the corporate front as well.

The ranks of blockchain engineers in Singapore are small still and slowly growing, but their numbers are likely to increase as more crypto firms set up shop in the city-state.

Cons:

There remains a lack of regulatory clarity around the launch of ICOs in Singapore. Officially, Singapore’s stance has been to allow ICOs for the time being, and in the past, it has explicitly allowed any virtual currencies that do not engage in illegal activity, such as gambling or money laundering. Still, many investors and entrepreneurs remain cautious, as updated regulations have not been announced yet. As recently as several months ago, Singapore lawmakers met to discuss additional regulations around ICOs, but the results of those conversations are pending as of now.

What the experts say:

Bobby Ong, CEO of CoinGecko, shares:

CoinGecko is incorporated in Singapore because the regulators here have a very progressive attitude towards blockchain technology and are supportive of startups in this space. Also, for the first 3 years of incorporation, startups here are given full tax exemption on the first $100,000 of normal chargeable income and a further 50% exemption on the next $200,000 of normal chargeable income. This is a very attractive benefit for startups considering incorporation in Singapore.

Laurent Dedenis at Singapore based Acronis, shares:

Most people will agree that Singapore is regarded as one of the best ran countries in the world. Singapore is efficient, transparent with a sound and mature Legal system. The MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) has designed a flexible framework regulating Crypto Currency and ICOs locally but also adapted to change quickly so that it would support the fast pace of the blockchain economy.

Still, Singapore has got a limited number of real Blockchain experts and the size of the country makes it more difficult to hire talent, but it sure is set to become one of the main hubs for Blockchain projects in Asia – and possibly, in the world.

Get involved:

Hong Kong

Why Hong Kong?

Alongside, Singapore, Hong Kong is quickly developing to become the second-largest hub for cryptocurrencies in Asia. Like Singapore, Hong Kong’s status as a lightly-regulated banking hub means it has an abundance of capital, dealmakers, and advisors to ensure that a potential ICO goes smoothly.

As regulations on ICOs in the United States and China have become more restrictive, founders have increasingly been considering Hong Kong as a launchpad for their crypto companies.

Hong Kong has a thriving crypto community, and a number of blockchain accelerators (such as SuperCharger) and crypto VC funds have also sprouted up around the city-state.

In addition, recent crackdowns on cryptocurrencies in China have sent a number of entrepreneurs across the border to neighboring Hong Kong, contributing to a growing pool of blockchain engineering talent. Hong Kong is also home to one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world in Bitfinex, which is headquartered here and remains quite active in Hong Kong’s crypto community.

Pros:

As a global financial hub, funding in Hong Kong is abundant and generally accessible to founders. A variety of funding options are available, from venture capital all the way down to seed funding from independent accelerators and advisors.

In addition to an ample supply of funding, Hong Kong also benefits from a collaborative and open crypto community. Organizations like the Hong Kong Bitcoin Association and major crypto exchanges like Binance have fostered a vibrant community of founders in Hong Kong, which also hosts a number of key industry conferences each year (such as TOKEN2049 and others).

Like Singapore, Hong Kong has a regulatory environment that’s generally favorable to cryptocurrency firms. That said, there are a couple of caveats here that I’ll elaborate upon in the following section. Guidelines for setting up a business are clearly-defined, and cryptocurrencies have historically been lightly-regulated (although this is starting to change – more on that below).

Cons:

Despite having an open and collaborative business environment, Hong Kong is starting to crack down on token sales that look suspect in any way.

As recently as this year, the central government said that it would begin looking at and regulating token sales as conventional securities, saying that it would “continue to police” cryptocurrency exchanges and token sales launched within its jurisdiction.

Although the central government is appearing to take a middle-of-the-road approach (in contrast to China, which has essentially banned cryptocurrencies completely), this has caused some founders to be wary about starting their crypto company in Hong Kong in the near-term.

In addition, Hong Kong’s government recently launched a public awareness campaign (spanning print, television, and online) warning its citizens about the potential dangers of investing in ICOs and cryptocurrencies. The impact of this remains to be seen, but in the long run, such a position towards cryptocurrencies may lessen investor sentiment over time.

What the experts say:

Cyrus Wen, CEO of Plutux Labs, shares:

While Hong Kong positions itself to be a prominent financial center in Asia, its regulators are not known to be immediately adaptive to emerging technologies, and prefer to be a follower rather than a first mover. As such, neither overnight crackdown nor deregulation towards cryptocurrency is expected from the regulators at this point.

Due to regulatory concerns over tax issues and money transfers globally, obtaining a bank account has become increasingly difficult in Hong Kong. This has been the case for any businesses, but far more so for finance-related sub-segments such as remittance companies as well as technology startups dealing in cryptocurrency.

It is worth noting that most of the top cryptocurrency exchanges by trading volume involve Hong Kong-based entities. After all, Hong Kong provides world-class business infrastructures and talent pool enabling many businesses to advance into the blockchain space.

Get involved:

San Francisco, California, USA

Why San Francisco?

As the de facto capital of Silicon Valley, it’s perhaps no surprise that San Francisco makes our list of the top places in which to launch a crypto company. With an unmatched concentration of engineering talent, close proximity to the hundreds of VC firms dotting the Bay Area, a culture of creativity, and an active crypto community, this city has all the ingredients critical to a healthy startup ecosystem.

Like any city, though, San Francisco isn’t perfect – most notably, it faces regulatory challenges as a crypto hub on account of it being located in the US. But despite these uncertainties, it remains one of the best cities for founders to set up a crypto company, and this will likely continue to be the case for years to come.

Pros:

San Francisco is home to some of the most influential blockchain-focused VC funds in the world (such as Blockchain Capital), making it perhaps the best place in the world for founders to search for funding from institutional investors who truly understand the transformative nature of cryptocurrencies.

Funding of all types is plentiful in Silicon Valley, but in San Francisco in particular, extensive networking is critical to getting access to key dealmakers.

In addition to a significant amount of available funding, San Francisco also has perhaps the largest concentration of blockchain engineering talent of anywhere in the world. According to a Forbes study, it also has the second-highest number of blockchain-related job openings in the US.

The numerous crypto firms that have already set up shop here act as a significant magnet for talent and the allure of Silicon Valley is often difficult for many engineers to ignore. Founders setting up shop in San Francisco (or the greater Bay Area, for that matter) will certainly benefit from the deep crypto and blockchain talent pool in the region.

As one might expect in Silicon Valley, San Francisco also has a thriving blockchain and crypto community, with numerous events and industry conferences happening throughout the year. As an added bonus, some of the top VCs and startup advisors in the world (like Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital) remain very active in the community, offering founders numerous networking opportunities.

Cons:

For now, ICOs and crypto companies launched inside the US (and consequently in San Francisco) will be subject to a high level of scrutiny from regulatory authorities. The Securities and Exchange Commission is watching developments in the crypto industry closely, and in recent weeks has resorted to calling the heads of suspect ICOs, many of which discontinued their token sales shortly thereafter.

In addition, there appears to be disagreement within the US government around how ICOs and cryptocurrencies should be regulated. The head of the SEC was recently quoted as saying “every ICO I’ve seen is a security”, but some lawmakers disagree.

This uncertain political climate (and the threat of having one’s crypto operations shut down altogether) has forced some founders to pursue launching their crypto companies in more supportive jurisdictions like Switzerland or Gibraltar.

What the experts say:

Andrew Lee, CEO of Purse, shares:

SF is not the most convenient place to start a company, but it is the frontier of innovation in crypto. Top developers for every major project reside or spend a lot of time in SF, and as a result, it has the highest density of intellectual prowess.

However, the market is very global and the majority of crypto companies don’t need to be at the edge of innovation. The most successful crypto businesses are actually based outside the US in cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, or Seoul.

Get involved:

Gibraltar

Why Gibraltar?

The UK overseas territory of Gibraltar is quickly becoming an attractive destination for crypto founders. Long a strategic outpost of the British Empire, this tiny territory sits astride the Strait of Gibraltar, which acts as the primary entrance for seaborne traffic in and out of the Mediterranean.

In recent years, its lenient regulations and low taxation have attracted entrepreneurs of all types, and the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon – particularly in crypto.

As the first territory to introduce and fully formalize government-sanctioned ICO regulations, Gibraltar is leading the way in normalizing the use of cryptocurrencies and ICOs within the global financial system. ICOs and token sales are completely legal here, with no ambiguity.

This guarantee of stability has emboldened crypto founders to set up shop in the territory, which now is home to the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange, the world’s first government-backed crypto exchange.

Pros:

Gibraltar is a world leader in building a business-friendly environment for crypto companies. It’s taking a market-driven approach to drafting regulations around ICOs and cryptocurrencies, and the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has said in the past that it would like to create a “self-regulating environment” for token sales.

On February 9th, the territory announced that it had drafted the world’s first regulations for ICOs and that it would soon be issuing clear regulations on how cryptocurrencies could be used in investment funds as well.

This clear-eyed approach to cryptocurrencies benefits would-be founders, as there will likely be no ambiguity around the legality or corporate structure of one’s company, should it be domiciled in Gibraltar.

In addition, Gibraltar recently announced the launch of the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), which aims to provide an institutional platform for token sales, ICOs, and crypto exchanges.

The exchange is operating with the backing of the GFSC, and will provide crypto founders with a fully legal, legitimate, and a government-approved way to launch their projects or token sales. In a world where uncertainty around crypto regulations is the norm, this is a huge benefit.

Cons:

Unlike the other cities on this list, Gibraltar has a tiny population and a dearth of blockchain engineering talent. As many founders are apt to fly in and do a day’s worth of business before flying out in the evening, the crypto community here is more transient and less active than some other cities.

Despite Gibraltar being a mini-financial hub, there’s also a general lack of access to funding within the territory’s borders – especially when compared to financial powerhouses like Singapore and Hong Kong. That said, there are still some high-quality events held here on an irregular basis (such as its annual Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference).

In addition, early this year, some British banks (most notably RBS) began refusing any crypto transactions originating from Gibraltar. Many British banks see cryptocurrencies as a dangerous investment bubble and are reluctant to process transactions related to them.

As a true innovator in the crypto space, some of this friction is to be expected in Gibraltar, but time will tell whether this resistance is temporary or symptomatic of a more long-lasting opposition to cryptocurrencies by the British government.

What the experts say:

Dmitrij Pruglo, CEO of COVESTING, shares:

COVESTING is heavily focused on providing a secure, and compliant platform for cryptocurrency trading. Cryptocurrency business incorporated in Gibraltar has to comply with the strictest standards of risk management, client asset protection, corporate governance, IT systems and controls, and financial crime prevention. So, the registration in Gibraltar can be seen as a sign of reliability.

Marcus Killick, CEO of ISOLAS LLP, shares:

DLT is a financial wild west, many participants will fail and many individuals will lose money. This is the risk they take for the rewards they seek. If you are going to be in the wild west it is best to be somewhere with a decent sheriff. Gibraltar’s regulatory environment will make it one of the few places where there is a sheriff in town to provide a level of protection.

Get involved:

Dubai, UAE

Why Dubai?

In the past few decades, this former fishing village has risen to become one of the most prosperous cities, and one of the most well-connected transportation hubs in the world. Dubai has long been a hub for business in the Middle East, but it’s increasingly becoming a haven for crypto investors and founders as well.

The central government here is taking an openly experimental approach to crypto, and has already announced plans to roll out a national cryptocurrency and turn Dubai into the “world’s first blockchain-powered government”.

With its low tax structure, extensive access to capital, and an open-minded governmental approach to cryptocurrencies, Dubai has many of the critical ingredients for becoming a true global crypto hub.

Pros

As the Middle East’s most prominent business hub, Dubai is brimming with fresh capital and an investor community that’s increasingly interested in crypto. Several major crypto exchanges (such as AI-driven SaharaChain) are based here, and institutional investors are increasingly willing to invest in crypto and blockchain projects.

In addition to an active investor community, Dubai also houses a vibrant development community as well, with some of the brightest development talent in the region being based here.

Perhaps most promisingly for founders, Dubai’s government is prioritizing the adoption of blockchain technologies and is aiming to run its entire government on blockchain applications by 2020. The city government envisions blockchain underpinning every facet of daily life, including real estate transactions.

This initiative signals that the government is both willing and open to working with the right partners on crypto and blockchain applications, provided they’re relevant to the 2020 Initiative. Dubai, in particular, has taken a proactive approach to adopting emerging technologies and has entire accelerator programs set up to lure in promising tech talent (such as through the Dubai Future Accelerators Program, which is run by the Dubai Future Foundation).

Cons

For founders without proven and fully-funded crypto projects, cost of living is something to consider. Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the world in which to live, which could give any entrepreneur bootstrapping their project significant challenges without any outside funding.

In addition, while Dubai has become more business-friendly in recent years, government regulations around incorporation can be byzantine and difficult to understand. Many regulations are not clear, and as such, setting up a business can be difficult without a local partner.

In addition, Emirati law generally requires at least one local partner be involved to establish a business – although there are sometimes ways around this depending on one’s unique circumstances by leveraging one of the many free trade zones.

What the experts say:

Luigi Menghini, founder of Dubai based DomusCoins, shares:

Dubai is for sure an interesting city in terms of business and growth possibilities. Taxes are almost zero. The approach towards cryptos is positive, but there is no legal framework yet and the UAE might implement strict regulations as it is already happening for banking and finance. In this case, established corporations will be advantaged compared to start-ups.

Last but not least, finding skilled software developers can be challenging, in fact, 90% of the employees is foreign and to be in the country they must have an occupation. This means that you’ll probably have to look abroad to set up a new team.

Get involved:

Tokyo, Japan

Why Tokyo?

Tokyo is the financial and business center of Japan, which is the world’s most active crypto trading market, with over 40% of the world’s crypto trading volume taking place in Japan last year. A number of the world’s largest crypto exchanges are based in Tokyo, and many blockchain firms also have regional headquarters located in town as well.

The world has long looked to Tokyo for first-mover innovations in the world of crypto, and its government has been more active than others in engaging with the technology.

After a spate of high-profile cryptocurrency thefts of some of the Japan’s largest crypto exchanges, the country has established a self-regulatory body focused on securing and regulating Japan’s largest crypto exchanges. This should boost both security and investor confidence in the markets while resolving the regulatory ambiguity that has long plagued the country.

Pros

Tokyo has one of the most active crypto communities in the world – in fact, researchers have estimated that over half of its adult population has purchased or traded cryptocurrency in the past two years. Many businesses and cafes accept crypto for payments, and the level of mainstream adoption here is on another level compared to the other crypto hubs on this list.

This is primarily due to crypto’s recently-minted status as a legal tender and its mass appeal in the Japanese market. There are a variety of meetups happening every night of the week for crypto entrepreneurs and investors from all walks of life, giving the city’s crypto community a more diverse makeup than other cities of a similar size.

As the largest city in what is arguably the world’s most crypto-friendly country, Tokyo is one of the best cities for crypto entrepreneurs to set up shop. In addition to a supportive regulatory environment, the country also has robust safeguards for both traders and investors, leading many to see the country as a “safe haven” for crypto (this was recently illustrated in Coincheck’s willingness to provide full refunds to its customers following an unprecedented $530m theft several months ago).

Tokyo has benefited from recent regulatory crackdowns on cryptocurrencies in China and South Korea, as many retail investors in those countries have transferred their crypto holdings (and the trading activity that goes with that capital) to crypto exchanges based in Tokyo.

Cons

Following the Mt Gox debacle, Japanese regulators have been extremely conservative about allowing crypto exchanges in the country, even banning them outright at one point.

Recently, the government allowed 11 of the country’s largest crypto exchanges to build a self-regulatory body, which seems to bode well for the future of crypto exchanges in Japan, but uncertainty remains around whether these regulations will be held up, or tightened up yet again if another Mt Gox-like event happens again. Given the past precedent for such actions, this is certainly a key consideration for founders thinking about setting up shop in Tokyo.

In addition, despite the high trading volume, Japan still is somewhat unfriendly to crypto investors due to its high-tax environment. This year, Japan’s government announced that it would be taxing proceeds from crypto at between 15 and 55%, depending on the amount of gains realized. This likely won’t impact crypto trading in the short-term, but the long-term impact of high taxation could dampen investor enthusiasm in the future.

What the experts say:

Gabriel Yang, COO of Tokyo based BeyondBlocks, shares:

Simply put, Japan is the “New Heart” of cryptocurrency. As of Jan. 15, Japanese yen accounts for 56.2% of bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, according to coin hills.com.

Japan’s stronghold on No.1 position is owed to a solid legal system supporting the industry to build credibility among individual investors, as well as Japanese familiarity with securities trading, said Midori Kanemitsu, the CFO of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange operator, bitFlyer Inc.

Japan is also the first and only country to establish a proper legal system regulating cryptocurrency trading, eliminating the worry of what would happen to users’ money if an exchange were to crash or go bust. We also can’t ignore the Japanese familiarity and expertise in day trading, another reason why the nation is a driving force for cryptocurrency development.

Dennis Jarvis, VP of Product at Orb, Inc, shares:

While other countries have been tightening regulations lately, the Japanese government has done a very good job of taking a balanced approach to protecting consumers versus encouraging innovation. As a result, more and more startups are moving to Japan to take advantage of the friendly regulatory environment.

I believe this will, in turn, attract more developers and crypto talent in general to the marketplace. One thing to note though is that English is not as widely spoken in Japanese business environments as it is elsewhere. Managing a multi-national team requires a sustained effort in bridging cultural and linguistic divides. In the end, though, it is more than worthwhile to be part of such a vibrant crypto community.

Get involved:

Malta

Why Malta?

With the lowest corporate tax rates in the European Union, an innovation-friendly government, and a tropical climate, Malta is fast becoming a key hub for crypto firms. Recent crackdowns on crypto in China and Japan have left many firms looking for a new home base, and Malta is increasingly stepping in to fill that role.

Even Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has moved its headquarters here on the heels of increased regulatory pressure in Japan and Hong Kong.

With its progressive attitude towards cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Malta’s government is being proactive about adopting crypto entrepreneurs. It recently set up the Malta Digital Innovation Authority to certify blockchain platforms set up in the country, as well as verify all crypto transactions.

The authority is also set to issue formal regulations around ICOs, which is giving crypto entrepreneurs increased confidence in the viability of setting up their own businesses in Malta.

Pros

The creation of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority has given investors confidence that the central government is serious about becoming a magnet for crypto talent from around the world. This measure, aimed at giving crypto entrepreneurs “peace of mind”, will also involve defined regulations around ICOs and definition of the roles of intermediaries within the crypto markets.

In addition to a progressive regulatory environment, Malta also has the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU, with some individuals and corporations able to pay as little as 0% tax on their profits. As Maltese law is presently ambiguous regarding how its corporate tax rate applies to crypto firms, this tax rate is certainly subject to change – but for now, it remains a huge draw for the many crypto startups that have moved their operations here.

Malta’s crypto community is still nascent, but with significant players like Binance moving in, the diverse community here is quickly growing. Regular meetups take place within groups like the Malta Bitcoin Club, and one community of crypto entrepreneurs has even created ICO Malta, a turnkey service for founders looking to incorporate and launch their ICO within the country. After welcoming Binance into the country, it seems likely that Malta may begin looking for other prominent crypto firms to lure to its shores, although it remains to be seen if any additional incentives will be provided.

Cons

As of right now, the only true disadvantage of Malta is merely that it’s mostly unproven as a crypto hub, and despite having been a hub of offshore finance for years, its banking systems haven’t been stress-tested quite as much as in some other countries.

This leads some to believe that the country may run a risk of being caught off-guard by a black swan event (such as the notorious 2014 Mt Gox scandal) that would damage the country’s pristine reputation in the crypto community. Some long-timers in Malta’s finance sector also believe that the government’s openness to crypto is superficial at best, and hasn’t been truly thought through in-depth from a regulatory perspective.

In additional, cryptocurrencies are presently still classified as “unregulated digital instruments”, meaning that funds deposited by firms on Malta’s shores may or may not be insured by the government. Regulation isn’t yet clear on this point, and some entrepreneurs may opt to hold off on setting up shop until the finer points around insurance of funds have been cleared up by Malta’s Digital Innovation Authority.

That said, regulatory ambiguity is something that should clear up during the upcoming year, as the MDIA continues to ramp up its focus on making Malta an attractive place for crypto entrepreneurs to do business.

What the experts say:

Jan Sammut, CEO of ICO Launch Malta, shares:

Malta is shaping up to be the ground-zero of blockchain innovation in Europe. The strategic nexus between a highly skilled technical workforce, pro-business government and efficient tax structures whilst being a fully fledged EU and Eurozone member make it the obvious choice for blockchain start-ups. Also, never discount the advantage that the climate and lifestyle here offers when recruiting and relocating staff members from the northern countries.

Get involved:

In closing

As anyone involved in crypto already knows, the regulatory landscape is constantly changing, and any country that’s open to cryptocurrencies today could easily swing the other way at any given time.

Such regulatory uncertainty makes choosing the right place to incorporate one’s crypto company all the more important. At present, it’s impossible to completely eliminate regulatory risk when setting up a crypto company, but one can minimize it by choosing a jurisdiction with a stable government and an optimistic approach to cryptocurrencies.

At present, I believe the five cities on this list have the most stable environments for setting up a crypto company or launching an ICO. None of them are perfect, but the risk profiles of all five are much lower compared to other crypto hubs around the world where the regulatory uncertainty is a bit more pronounced.

If you’re interested in crypto, be sure to check out CryptoList – my hand-researched list of crypto companies, and consider subscribing to CryptoWeekly, my weekly crypto newsletter covering the week’s must-read blockchain news.

The 25 Biggest eCommerce Startups in Asia

If you’re interested in tech and startups in Asia, be sure to check out AsiaTechList – my hand-researched list of 4,000+ fast-growing tech companies in Asia.

With its highly populated countries, dense cities and rapidly growing economies, Asia — and, in particular – Southeast Asia – is rapidly growing into one of the world’s most important regions for ecommerce businesses.

From hopeful “Amazon for Asia” startups to smaller, more specialized online retailers, we’ve put together a list of Asia’s 25 biggest eCommerce startups using factors such as investment, sales and potential for growth.

Zalora

Founded in 2012 by Rocket Internet, Zalora is an online fashion store aimed at customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian markets. It also operates in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

One of Southeast Asia’s most established ecommerce startups, Zalora has gained investment from conventional retailers in many of its key markets, including Thailand’s Central Group and the Ayala Corporation of the Philippines.

Sociolla

Indonesian ecommerce startup Sociolla is a one-stop destination for anything related to beauty and wellbeing.

Aimed at the massive and rapidly growing Indonesian market, Sociolla is one of several large ecommerce startups to have popped up in Indonesia recently. The company has secured $12 million in investment in three separate funding rounds since it was founded in 2014.

iPrice

Based in Kuala Lumpur, iPrice is an online shopping aggregator that lets consumers check and compare prices for electronics, cosmetics and beauty products, fashion and other items from a wide range of Southeast Asia-based retailers.

Built to tap into Asia’s ecommerce boom, iPrice provides its comparison services for customers in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand. As of 2017, the site featured foods from more than 1,000 retailers across its target countries.

Lazada

One of Asia’s biggest and most ambitious ecommerce startups, Lazada was originally founded by Rocket Internet in 2011. Since then, it’s raised investment from numerous sources, including a 2016 partial acquisition by the Alibaba Group.

Aimed at becoming Southeast Asia’s version of Amazon, Lazada has grown massively over the last seven years. Recently, Alibaba invested an additional $2 billion into the company, with aims of tapping into the consumer spending Southeast Asia’s rapidly-growing middle class.

Althea

Based in South Korea, Althea is a cosmetics and skincare products retailers that hopes to grow into one of Asia’s top shopping destinations for aesthetic goods.

Although Althea is primarily aimed at the Korean market, it also operates throughout Asia, with websites serving markets such as Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and even the United States.

Founded in 2015, the company has raised $10.7 million in total investment over the last three years as part of its growth strategy.

Bhinneka

Located in Indonesia and aimed at the country’s growing domestic market of online shoppers, Bhinneka is a marketplace for all things tech, from laptops and smartphones to digital camera equipment, tablets, TVs and more.

Although it was originally founded in 1993, Bhinneka didn’t enter into ecommerce startup mode until relatively recently, raising $22 million in a venture capital funding round in 2015 in order to grow the company’s online presence.

According to DealStreatAsia, Bhinneka could become one of Southeast Asia’s first ecommerce retailers to go public in 2018.

Shopee

Headquartered in Singapore, Shopee is another ambitious ecommerce startup hoping to grow into the Amazon of Asia.

An online marketplace for buyers and sellers, Shopee allows sellers in countries like Thailand Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam to open their own online stores, competing for their own share of Southeast Asia’s growing online retail market.

Shopee is owned and operated by Garena, one of Southeast Asia’s biggest free-to-play online gaming companies.

Reebonz

Designed to provide “accessible luxury,” Reebonz is an online marketplace that lets people buy and sell new and pre-owned luxury items, from high-end wristwatches to handbags, designer clothing and accessories.

Launched in 2009 and headquartered in Singapore, Reebonz operates throughout Southeast Asia. As of 2018, the company operates throughout Southeast Asia and has a team of more than 300 full-time staff.

MySale

Run from Australia, the UK and the USA, MySale operates several discount deal websites for markets in Southeast Asia.

Particularly popular in Malaysia, MySale blends ecommerce with the daily deal offerings of sites like LivingSocial. The group behind MySale also operates several additional daily deal shopping sites throughout the Asia-Pacific area, including SingSale and OzSale.

Orami

An online shopping marketplace designed specifically for women, Orami offers products for women of all ages, from the latest must-have fashion items to products for mothers.

Orami is one of several ecommerce startups hoping to dominate Indonesia’s huge market for female beauty products — an industry that was recently valued at more than $2.2 billion by the Wall Street Journal.

Originally founded as “Moxy” by the Ardent Capital group in Thailand, Orami is the result of a merger deal with Indonesian ecommerce platform Bilna. Orami launched in 2013 and received funding from investors such as Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin.

Sale Stock

Another Indonesian ecommerce startup, Sale Stock sells mid-priced, modern clothing with free shipping throughout Indonesia. Unlike Orami and other gender-specific ecommerce companies, Sale Stock has a wide range of options for men, women and children.

Founded in 2014, Sale Stock is part of Indonesia’s current ecommerce boom. The company has raised $27 million in several funding rounds since its launch and is set to reach break-even in its third year of operations.

Matahari Mall

Also aimed at the Indonesian fashion market, Matahari Mall launched in 2015 as a competitor to other ecommerce startups such as Sale Stock and Orami.

Like Orami, Matahari Mall has a focus on women’s products, offering everything from cosmetics to women’s clothing. The marketplace isn’t gender specific and also offers clothing and products for men, often with significant discounts.

With $616 million in total funding and between 500 and 1,000 employees, Matahari Mall is one of Indonesia’s biggest ecommerce startups. The online side of the business is supported by the Matahari Department Store — one of Indonesia’s largest department store brands.

Elevenia

An online marketplace similar to Amazon, Elevenia is a fairly recent entrant into Indonesia’s increasingly crowded ecommerce industry. Founded in 2013, the company has taken part in several capital raises, with the most recent a $50 million venture capital investment.

Like Lazada, Shopee and other Southeast Asian ecommerce platforms, Elevenia gives sellers the opportunity to market their own goods online to a huge audience, offering everything from clothing to groceries, consumer electronics and home items.

Citiesocial

Described as Taiwan’s answer to Fab and Gilt, Citiesocial is a Taiwanese ecommerce startup that sells mid-range and high-end consumer products through a curated catalog designed to give customers the experience of shopping in a department store.

Launched in 2011 as a simpler daily deals platform, Citiesocial changed its focus to its current business model in 2013, cutting back the size of its team and securing investment in the form of two venture capital rounds from investors such as the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.

With a membership of 90,000 as of 2015, Citiesocial boasts some impressive metrics — around 25% of the site’s users make repeat purchases on a 45 day basis.

Hot Deal

One of several relatively new ecommerce startups aimed at the Vietnamese market, Hot Deal offers a mix of Groupon-style daily deals and conventional ecommerce, selling everything from hotel vouchers to consumer products at discounted prices.

Founded in 2013, the site has a relatively limited public funding presence but boasts between 500 and 1,000 employees. In 2015, just two years after its launch in Vietnam, 30% of Hot Deal was acquired by Japanese outsourcing company Transcosmos for an undisclosed amount.

ShopBack

Aimed at the Singaporean market, ShopBack is a coupons, cashback and discounts startup that offers exclusive deals for a range of online retailers. Using ShopBack, customers earn cashback on any purchase made through a participating retailer that can be deposited into their account.

ShopBack launched in 2014 and took part in three funding rounds, raising $26.1 million to grow its user base and operations. Currently, the company offers coupon codes for more than 1,300 businesses, including local ecommerce giants such as Lazada and Taobao.

Zilingo

Another Southeast Asian startup, Singaporean fashion brand and ecommerce company Zilingo has grown massively since it first launched in Thailand in 2015. As of 2018, the company has raised more than $80 million through four venture capital funding rounds.

Based in Singapore, Zilingo offers affordable, high quality fashion sold online to customers in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia — countries that include several of the world’s fastest growing ecommerce markets.

Giosis (Qoo10)

Aimed at becoming Asia’s largest online marketplace, Qoo10 is an ecommerce company that offers buyers and sellers the opportunity to trade directly in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.

Aimed at B2C ecommerce, Qoo10 looks and feels like a Southeast Asian equivalent of Chinese ecommerce marketplaces, such as Taobao and AliExpress, with everything from fast fashion to affordable home appliances available from a variety of merchants.

Tiki

Vietnam is one of Asia’s fastest-growing ecommerce markets (and one of its fastest-growing economies in general), and ecommerce startup Tiki hopes to become its dominant shopping marketplace.

Competing with Shopee and Lazada, Tiki is a giant consumer marketplace offering a range of goods from a variety of independent sellers. Earlier this year, Chinese ecommerce firm JD.com led a Series C investment round in Tiki worth an estimated $50 million.

Honestbee

Honestbee is an online grocery shopping and delivery startup that wants to make one of every household’s biggest purchases — the weekly groceries — quicker, easier and more affordable.

Founded in 2013, the company provides personal shopping and delivery services in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Launched in 2015, Honestbee has also expanded into services like laundry collection, aiming to become a one-stop service provider for a variety of daily tasks. The company has raised several funding rounds, including a $15 million Series A investment in 2015.

Ninja Van

Focused specifically on ecommerce, Ninja Van is a last-mile delivery service that makes it easy for online merchants to track their shipments to consumers, receive updates on their status and stay on top of their ongoing deliveries.

Based in Singapore, Ninja Van also operates in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Earlier in 2018, the company raised one of the largest investment rounds for a Southeast Asian startup, bringing in $87 million from investors such as the DPDgroup.

HappyFresh

Founded in 2014, HappyFresh is an Indonesian grocery shopping and food delivery startup that connects consumers with a range of brick-and-mortar supermarkets.

HappyFresh has more than 30 participating supermarket chains throughout Indonesia, giving it a great level of access to one of Asia’s fastest-growing markets. Through the HappyFresh app, users can order more than 100,000 different products delivered straight to their doors.

In addition to its home country of Indonesia, HappyFresh also operates its personal shopper and delivery service in Malaysia and Thailand. Since its launch, the company has taken part in three funding rounds, raising $10 million in a 2015 Series A investment round.

Pomelo Fashion

Pomelo Fashion is an online clothing retailer based in Bangkok, Thailand. Founded in 2013, the company sells stylish, affordable clothing with a variety of benefits for consumers, ranging from 365 day returns to fast, free deliver on first orders.

Aimed at competing with international fast fashion brands such as H&M and Zara, Pomelo runs frequent sales and offers delivery to several growing markets in Asia, ranging from Thailand to Singapore, Indonesia, and even Australia and the United States.

Elevenia

Headquartered in Jakarta, Elevenia is an ecommerce marketplace startup that offers everything from fashion to beauty products, consumer electronics, sporting goods, home items and more.

Aimed at becoming the Amazon or Taobao of Indonesia, Elevenia has grown rapidly since it first launched in 2013. In 2016, the company secured its second funding round, attracting $50 million from a group of investors including SK Planet and XL Axiata Tbk.

FashionValet

Malaysian fashion and beauty startup FashionValet launched in 2010 and has since grown into one of the Southeast Asian country’s top ecommerce companies in its field, operating a hugely popular online store in addition to four retail locations throughout the country.

Impressively, FashionValet has grown rapidly without huge outside investment — the company has taken part in several funding rounds, but fueled its fast, sustained initial growth with just $6.4 million in seed and Series A financing.

Meet PR300

Today I’m pleased to announce I’m launching PR300.com – a tech news that provides just the key facts to today’s hottest tech news.

The aim is to help people understand what’s happening in tech in a fraction of the time it takes reading through articles on tech blogs that have horrible UX or by visiting multiple tech blogs.

I’ve been in the content world for a long time now, and it saddens me where tech news sites are headed. Many news sites are introducing paywalls and many have introduced new designs that are frankly, unusable. My hope is PR300 will solve a few of these problems.

It’ll be interesting to see how this project grows.

25 Transport Startups in Asia You Should Get to Know

If you’re interested in tech and startups in Asia, be sure to check out AsiaTechList – my hand-researched list of 4,000+ fast-growing tech companies in Asia.

Asia is home to some of the world’s most rapidly developing countries, and that development has created a unique set of transportation challenges for urban designers and commuters alike.

Luckily, a new crop of startups has arrived to address some of the most pressing transportation issues in this part of the world, and the solutions they’ve come up with are already being implemented in other parts of the globe as well.

To better understand the future of transportation, it’s worth taking a look at the numerous Asia-based startups that are unlocking new markets and coming up with breakthrough innovations to make it all possible.

Let’s get started.

1. Grab

Grab started out its life in Singapore as a generic ride-sharing startup, but it’s since evolved into a major platform player in the region that now offers a truly diverse range of services (like its payment platform, Grab Pay, and GrabFood for food delivery). It recently landed $1B in funding in a financing round led by Toyota, and now has a market cap of more than $10B.

To help foster the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia, Grab recently launched Grab Ventures, a new venture fund that’s aimed at fostering a vibrant transportation and logistics sector in the region.

2. Pony.ai

Just over a year old, Chinese startup Pony.ai is now one of the fastest-growing startups in the transportation sector, and for good reason. Earlier this year it raised $112M in a Series A round to help it continue developing its AI-based autonomous driving platform, and it also launched its first fleet of self-driving taxis on the streets of Guangzhou earlier this year.

With dual headquarters in Beijing and Silicon Valley, Pony.ai is a transport startup with global ambitions. It’s presently developing its own autonomous car, which it hopes to have driving on roads around the world in the next few years.

3. DiDi

Formed by the merger of two of China’s largest ride-sharing startups, DiDi is the largest ride-sharing startup in the Chinese market. Its acquisition of Uber last year helped
eliminate any excess competition, and now it’s seeking to expand globally, with expansion plans for Australia and other countries already in the pipeline.

The ride-sharing startup is also partnering with several of China’s largest auto manufacturers to make electric vehicles affordable to all, with a goal of having 10 million electric ride-sharing vehicles in operation by 2028.

4. GO-JEK

After several years spent focusing on its home market in Indonesia, GO-JEK is finally giving Grab some serious competition in Southeast Asia. The ride-sharing startup recently was offered a $1B line of funding from some of the region’s largest investors – a lineup that includes heavyweights like Tencent, Warburg, and others. That funding is setting the stage for some massive growth that will likely put it on a collision course with other ride-sharing services in the region.

But GO-JEK isn’t just about ride-sharing either – the startup also offers food delivery services, a payment platform, and even on-demand massages to users on its platform.

5. Mobike

Some say that the global bike sharing revolution started in China – and if that notion is true, then Beijing-based Mobike is the startup leading the way. The bike-sharing service is now available in most major Asian cities, and it’s recently begun expansion abroad too, with rollouts in the UK and the US already underway.

In April of this year, Mobile was acquired by Chinese ecommerce giant Meituan-Dianping for nearly $3B in a move that will help complement Meituan’s recently rolled-out ride sharing services in the region.

6. Twenty Two Motors

Twenty Two Motors is an India-based startup that’s focused on bringing the next generation of electric scooters to the world. It launched its flagship Flow scooter earlier this year, which is the first electric scooter in the world to have an AI-powered driving system. With Twenty Two Motors’ proprietary OS, the Flow scooter is able to predict and identify potholes in the roads before they appear – a true competitive advantage in a market that’s notorious for its poorly-maintained roads.

The startup has raised nearly $2M in funding to date, and is already working on the next generation of its electric scooter, which may incorporate limited self-driving capabilities as well as additional AI-powered functionality.

7. Xpeng

Xpeng is China’s fastest-growing electric vehicle startup. Earlier this year, the company raised nearly $350M to help it invest further in the development of autonomous driving technology as it prepares to roll out its first production vehicle, the Xpeng G3, later this year. Although its first production model will be available this year, the startup isn’t planning to produce cars en masse until 2020.

That hasn’t sated the appetite of investors, though, and Xpeng is looking to capitalize on that interest by raising an additional $1.6B in funding by the end of the year.

8. JingChi

JingChi is a startup that’s fully focused on creating the world’s most advanced infrastructure for autonomous vehicles. Most notably, the startup recently joined Baidu’s Apollo program, an initiative that’s aimed at accelerating the development of autonomous driving platforms (70 other Chinese startups are already on board with the program).

JingChi’s technical offerings range from high-definition LIDAR mapping software to deep learning software that can be embedded in almost any vehicle, and the company most recently raised more than $50M in a Pre-A funding round late last year.

9. EHang

EHang is already the most innovative drone startup in Asia, but this year it boosted its credibility even further by unveiling the Ehang 184, an autonomous passenger drone that can carry two passengers and fly up to 80mph. The drone startup has already completed more than 1,000 successful test flights, and hopes to bring the drone to the commercial market in the coming years.

In addition to its transport-oriented drone, EHang also offers a full line of consumer-focused drones designed for everything from action photography to video surveillance.

10. Ofo

Four year-old Ofo was one of the first startups to bring bike-sharing to the Chinese market, and it’s now expanded globally, with a fleet of more than 15 million bikes in operation around the globe. Earlier this year, the startup raised $866M in a funding round led by Alibaba. The funding will reportedly be used to accelerate the bike-sharing platform’s expansion into additional markets in the months ahead.

Bike sharing vandalism is quickly become a significant problem for cities around the world, but Ofo is there to help. It recently announced a program to help combat bike vandalism, which will see it partner with city governments on better controls for bike-sharing platforms.

11. Huochebang

Often described as an “Uber for trucks”, Huochebang is an on-demand logistics platform for commercial trucks across China that matches commercial truckers with shippers that need help with transportation. The startup recently got even bigger late last year after merging with its largest rival, Yunmanman, and it’s raised more than $400M in funding from investors like Tencent and others to date. Huochebang now has more than 3.7 million trucks on its platform, with plans to add even more drivers across the region in the coming months.

12. Byton

Chinese startup Byton is quickly becoming a major player in Asia’s increasingly crowded electric vehicle startup market. It recently raised $500M in a Series B funding round led by FAW Group, one of China’s largest carmakers, and it’s now partnering with the auto manufacturer on producing a new line of electric vehicles.

The startup is working on building its own electric vehicles too, and is promising to unveil a prototype of its widely-anticipated electric sedan later this year.

13. Ola

Ola is India’s largest ride-sharing startup, and has managed to remain dominant in the market even after Uber’s entry into the market a couple of years ago. As of earlier this year, it’d already raised $3.9B from a worldwide coterie of investors, and last month it reported a record 70% revenue growth for its most recent financial year.

Though India is Ola’s home market, the startup is already seeking growth opportunities overseas, with a major expansion into Australia already underway.

14. NIO

Tencent-backed NIO is one of China’s fastest-growing electric vehicle startups, and it recently filed to go public in the US in what could end up being a $2B IPO. Along with its lineup of standard electric vehicles, NIO is also working on the next generation of its EP9 hypercar, which is said to boast around 1,350hp and fully autonomous driving capabilities.

The Shanghai-based startup already has 4,000 employees around the world, and is continuing to grow rapidly in Asia and abroad as it prepares for its upcoming IPO.

15. Xcharge

Xcharge is a Chinese startup that’s developing the next generation of high-powered charging systems for electric vehicles. While the its charging stations are commonplace across China, Xcharge recently embarked on an ambitious expansion into Europe, with a new network of chargers set up in Germany earlier this year.

The startup has around 20,000 charging stations in operation around the world, and payment for charging services is accepted through both credit cards and Xcharge’s proprietary app.

16. BlueSignal

Seoul-based BlueSignal is creating an innovative platform to help relieve traffic congestion around the world. Its app is able to predict the risk of heavy traffic for drivers days in advance, helping users to adjust their travel to time slots that have lighter traffic.

In addition to its consumer-facing technology, BlueSignal is working on enterprise-grade solutions as well. It recently announced a partnership with a major automaker to create predictive traffic management software for its next generation of vehicles, and is continuing to work on other applications for its technology as well.

17. VersaFleet

VersaFleet is a Singapore-based SaaS startup that’s building software to fuel the next generation of logistics and transportation startups. The startup raised nearly $3M in pre-Series A funding earlier this year, which will be used to expand its presence in Asia and further develop its enterprise SaaS offerings.

The VersaFleet platform helps transportation companies automate their logistics operations while streamlining their fleet planning in the process.

18. Katsana

Connected car startup Katsana has built one of the world’s most effective systems for quickly recovering stolen cars. With a 98% recovery rate, the Malaysia-based startup is tracking cars for numerous auto manufacturers, and stopping thefts before they start.

The startup has also developed software that helps auto manufacturers “score” drivers based on their driving habits, and encourage good driving behavior for reckless drivers.

19. Niu

Niu is a Chinese startup that wants to make high-quality electric scooters accessible to all. The company builds electric scooters that are designed short trips with a large urban center, and is looking to solve for the “last-mile” problem that plagues the urban cores of many Asian urban centers.

The company is looking to export its scooters abroad too, and it began selling its new flagship model in Europe after announcing it at the Urban Mobility Summit in Paris last month.

20. Delhivery

Indian logistics startup Delhivery has created a transportation platform to help Indian companies solve for the last mile of delivery. With a valuation of around $2B, the startup has already raised more than $250M in funding to date – and it’s reportedly planning to go public and raise at least $350M in its IPO later this year.

The Delhi-based startup presently operates in more than 1,200 locations across India, and is now embarking on an ambitious growth plan across India’s secondary cities.

21. FOMM

FOMM is a Japanese startup that’s developing a compact electric vehicle designed specifically for Southeast Asian and European cities, where roads tend to be smaller (and traffic tighter) than other parts of the world. The company is planning to begin producing 10,000 vehicles per year as soon as possible through its production facilities based in Thailand.

The most intriguing feature of FOMM’s car, though, is that it floats – literally. This could prove to be an attractive feature in countries like Thailand, which frequently experience massive floods that bring traffic to a standstill.

22. Rivigo

India-based logistics startup Rivigo is focused on solving for some of the country’s thorniest transportation problems using big data and AI. The startup has a fleet of more than 2,000 trucks scattered across India, and is looking to automate its entire operations as it moves to an on-demand shipping model.

Earlier this year, the startup raised $50M in Series D funding in a round led by Warburg Pincus, which values the startup at around $1B

23. Cainiao

Cainiao is a Chinese startup that’s seeking to streamline the process of conducting ecommerce deliveries. Earlier this year, the company was acquired by Chinese ecommerce behemoth Alibaba for $870M, and although now under the Alibaba umbrella, it continues to operate independently.

The startup recently announced that it will be setting up a $1.5B digital logistics center at Hong Kong’s international airport that will feature automated warehousing and cargo transport capabilities.

24. TuSimple

Beijing-based TuSimple is a startup that’s building the next generation of fully self-driving commercial trucks. The company is presently testing its self-driving technology on test tracks in both China and the US, and is also using the same technology to help automate port operations in some of China’s largest cities.

The startup has already raised more than $100M in funding to date, and is aiming to make its commercial trucks available to shipping companies around the world within the next 2-3 years.

25. Carro

Carro is a Singapore-based automotive marketplace that is revolutionize the way its users buy, sell, and rent out their cars. It recently raised $60M in Series B funding (led by Softbank Ventures) to expand its operations in Southeast Asia after announcing Genie Finance, its insurance underwriting and services business.

If you’re interested in tech and startups in Asia, be sure to check out AsiaTechList – my hand-researched list of 4,000+ fast-growing tech companies in Asia.

Cool stuff I’ve discovered recently

Here’s a list of cool stuff I’ve discovered recently: