An investment firm tied to two of Singapore’s most well-known families is taking steps to bet on the future of digital assets, despite the chill in the industry.
Whampoa Group, a multi-family office anchored by principals from the Lee family that founded Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. and Amy Lee, the niece of the city-state’s founding prime minister, aims to deploy about US$100 million ($134.1 million) in Web3 start-ups, through a new venture investment arm. The unit, Whampoa Digital, is seeking ventures that develop blockchain infrastructure and applications that eases the widespread adoption of Web3 technologies.
The family office last month appointed Jeffrey Ma and Peter Huo as co-chief investment officers of Whampoa Digital. Huo was most recently executive director at Binance Labs, the venture capital arm of crypto exchange Binance, while Ma was previously global head of mergers and acquisitions for digital-asset exchange Huobi.
The increasing use of decentralized finance, non-fungible tokens, blockchain games and decentralized social networks “will enable digital assets to outperform other asset classes in the coming cycle and over the long-run,” Huo said in emailed comments. Still, the sector is expected to continue to be volatile this year, affected by monetary and macroeconomic developments, he said.
Digital assets have had a rough time over the past year, with high-profile blowups like the Terra/Luna ecosystem, as well as collapses of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and the FTX exchange. Crypto prices have tumbled. Web3 itself, while held out as a promising concept, has also suffered alongside more-established crypto ideas.
Meanwhile, regulators around the region are evaluating their stance toward the sector, trying to balance between encouraging development in blockchain technologies and protecting retail investors from crypto trading volatility.
See also: Singaporeans still actively investing in crypto despite a hit in confidence: IRCI
Family offices tend to be less regulated than standard firms and are among the bigger players that have been looking to get into alternative investments.