We recently connected with James Wo, the Founder and CEO at Digital Financial Group, an investment company empowering Web 3.0 applications and blockchain or DLT -enabled platforms.
Our conversation with James Wo is shared below.
Crowdfund Insider: Please tell us about DFG and what you are working on.
James Wo: Digital Finance Group (DFG) is a global blockchain and cryptocurrency investment firm, founded in 2015 with assets under management of over $1 billion. We focus on the discovery and creation of value through our investment and research team thanks to analytical research based on the most impactful and promising global blockchain and Web3.0 projects that will bring a paradigm shift to the world.
Crowdfund Insider: With DFG’s focus in CeFi, DeFi, NFTs, and Web3.0, how does your company innovate?
James Wo: Mostly, we innovate by supporting projects that are set to produce profound changes in these sectors around the world. We’ve seen companies around the world migrating their systems and methods to more efficient solutions that have been brought forward by blockchain, CeFi, DeFi, NFTs and Web3.0.
For example we are the parent company of Matrix, a virtual asset trading platform that is being developed in one of the safest and most forward-thinking regulatory jurisdictions in the world, the UAE. Additionally, we are keen supporters of the evolution and construction of ground-breaking solutions such as DeFi and Web3.0 through business consultancy, network resources, and engagement with a broader community to assist in their creation of long-term value.
For this reason we have been very focused on what we consider to be undervalued blockchain protocols such as Polkadot, where there have been important advances from layer0 to layer2 in an extraordinary environment that, we believe, will have great effects on how blockchain is seen and used in the next decades in sectors like the ones mentioned above and more.
Crowdfund Insider: On your site, you mentioned DFG manages a venture fund that invests, in a traditional way, in equity of virtual asset service providers, including LedgerX, Amber Group, Matrix Exchange & Circle.
James Wo: Yes, we have all witnessed that with blockchain and cryptocurrencies, there has been a diversification in ways to invest other than acquiring equity stake in a company, which is the traditional way to invest. From the ICO boom, we learned that teams and projects could also raise capital by the acquisition of their tokens, where they would receive the funds and investors would get said tokens at a discounted premium.
In this specific case, many companies within the industry still adhere to the traditional way of raising funds, due to several reasons, and that has not been a dissuasive factor for us to participate.
Furthermore, many of these companies have come to become leaders in the respective sectors such as Amber Group, Circle (with whom we worked closely for the launch of USDC), LedgerX, Brave Browser, Ripio, Bitso, Bloq, Big Time and more. The idea behind our three funds is backing the most promising companies and teams that will, in the long run, become top contenders to lead their sectors.
Crowdfund Insider: Describe your partnership with ETC Labs- the incubator for blockchain startups within the Ethereum Classic ecosystem.
James Wo: Our partnership with ETC Labs has been very special to us, DFG has been at the head of supporting the best of kind startups in sectors from fintech to gaming, edge computing to supply chain and govtech, that decided to work within the parameters of Ethereum before the unfortunate DAO hack in 2016.
Additionally, we also supported ETC Core, which similar to BTC Core is a group of talented developers that work tirelessly on improving the unseen system that supports all these startups and creates a solid foundation for hundreds to implement their ideas and achieve innovative concepts that will solve day to day issues around the world.
Crowdfund Insider: What is the Crypto Fund and Polkadot Ecosystem Fund?
James Wo: These two funds have special missions due to their direct origin or type. First, the Crypto Fund was the genesis fund for DFG with Bitcoin and Ethereum in 2015. It is actively managed which means that our strategy varies according to the analysis we obtain from market trends and cycles.
Also, it is fundamentally different from the Venture Equity Fund since it does not hold any equity. Instead, it holds tokens and cryptocurrencies of the most promising projects and companies we see in the market such as Solana, Chia, Swarm, NEAR, RNDR, DAO Maker and many more.
The Polkadot Ecosystem fund is quite simple to understand. We have inmense expectations of what Polkadot as a layer0 protocol is set to achieve and believe that having a dedicated fund that will assist projects within this ecosystem to develop their innovative ideas, and empower the teams behind them to continue working without having to worry about externalities is a key factor in which we can have great influence.
In this fund you can find outstanding concepts such as those being created by the teams at Acala Network, Astar, Manta Network, HydraDX, Unique Network, Bit.Country and many more.
Since the early days, we have been holders of DOT, the Polkadot native token, which has also been a reason for us to plan assisting our portfolio projects in the upcoming parachain auctions at the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022, helping these teams be the first to launch on Polkadot and accomplish a very important milestone in their timelines.
Crowdfund Insider: With DFG’s presence in Asia, North America, and the Middle East, what were some top investment opportunities you engaged/facilitated in?
James Wo: We have definitely been involved in top investment opportunities within these regions, furthermore, we believe that blockchain and digital assets have a way to reduce the friction of borders and allow us to look at the bigger picture of addressing day-to-day issues that will be addressed by the projects we are actively involved with.
For example, we were involved in the first raising round of Bitso and were the leading investor in Ripio, two of LATAM’s biggest CeFi exchanges, which have been providing users and institutions a gateway to enter the market in a secure and regulated fashion.
In North America, we are proud to have been involved in top-notch opportunities such as Circle, Brave, Bloq, Big Time Studios and LedgerX, in which we are not only equity holders but also have our presence in the board of directors. Here we have participated in sectors from blockchain infrastructure, CeFi, Dapps and NFTs, which we expect all to exponentially grow and continue to gain value as adoption increases around the world.
Finally, in the Asia-Pacific region we have been closely dedicated to support teams that have great potential and require exposure in regions such as Europe or America, in which we have excellent relations and have built networks of investment institutions that, like us, are diligently looking to get involved in early stage projects. Among our investments in the region you can find Unocoin, Amber Group, Acala Network, SubQuery, Chia and many more.
Crowdfund Insider: What are your plans for the remainder of this year and 2022?
James Wo: This year has been very exciting in terms of industry milestones and the increasing adoption coming from institutional investors by realizing the value that is yet to be exposed in use cases and solutions that are being nurtured while millions focus their eyes on price action.
Moreover, this considerable and continuous increase in users and investors of all sizes will have its obvious effects in prices and continue to drive the market value higher as its capitalization looks to reach the double-digit trillions mark.
Because of this, we expect to continue working tirelessly in researching and finding the most promising projects in a young but quickly expanding industry that is set to become the road on which paradigm shifts in many industries that will undoubtedly be affected by blockchain and its technological advancements will happen.
Finally we are filled with enthusiasm on the progress we are witnessing in the Polkadot ecosystem, which from our side, is expected to be the biggest game changer in the industry for 2021 and 2022. With the launch of the parachain auctions and subsequent slots assigned to the winners, you can expect us to be deeply involved in this process and continue helping, in any way we can, all our partner projects.