Singapore firm to launch ICO advisory centre

Representations of Ripple, bitcoin, etherum and litecoin virtual currencies seen on a computer motherboard in an illustration picture.
Representations of Ripple, bitcoin, etherum and litecoin virtual currencies seen on a computer motherboard in an illustration picture. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Singapore fintech firm is launching an initial coin offering (ICO) advisory centre in a bid to tap the growth of Singapore as a leading hub of ICO activity in the region.

Singapore is the third-largest ICO market after the United States and Switzerland, but a number of local firms and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here are still hesitant to use ICOs as a fund-raising platform.

Local start-up PLMP-Fintech hopes to address their concerns with the launch of an ICO advisory centre here on Thursday.

Co-founder Peter Lim said the centre aims to support those launching ICOs as well as buyers of ICO tokens, many of whom may not know how to encrypt their wallets against hackers or do token transfers.

"Traditional companies and SME owners, particularly less tech-savvy ones, are still grappling with trying to understand how the cryptocurrency ICO fund-raising mechanism works. There is a need for one-to-one consultation and support, and we are here to fill in the gap," he said.

A former Economic Development Board Spring Start-up Enterprise Development Scheme entrepreneur, Mr Lim said his firm will be signing a memorandum of understanding with an international counterpart to jointly establish the centre.

Through the partnership, PLMP-Fintech hopes to expand into areas including blockchain development and digital marketing to the cryptocurrency community.

Plans are under way to install up to 12 bitcoin ATM machines at its advisory centre in Serangoon North Avenue 5 by the middle of the year, and these could make PLMP-Fintech the largest bitcoin operator here.

"Many people aren't aware that when they buy an ICO token, they are responsible for protecting their own tokens. The company that launched the ICO sells only the token, they won't tell you how to transfer the token from one wallet to another, how long that will take and which exchange they can safely deposit their tokens in," Mr Lim said.

"We can teach them how to set up security and encrypt their wallets so these don't get hijacked, and how to convert tokens to fiat currency."

The centre will have 12 customer service counters providing consultation services for, among other things, crowdfunding for start-ups and due diligence process for ICOs. It can serve between 20 and 50 customers daily.

"Our team of cryptocurrency advisers will work with customers and offer support solutions to manage their portfolio," Mr Lim said .

The centre will also supply a special wallet for ICO tokens that is uniquely coded to store private keys, enabling the owner to send and receive cryptocurrencies and securely monitor their activities.

It will also include a room that can store more than 1,000 cryptocurrency mining rigs valued at over $10 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore firm to launch ICO advisory centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe