The impact of multicultural experiences
Breakdown of Hong Zhuang’s farm business
The power of exploring and making connections
How Hong Zhuang was introduced to crypto mining
What does ShuttleOne do?
Financial literacy: Constant and consistent learning and revising
Go Where My Interest Goes
Life Is All About Tinkering and Experiences
We Don’t Question the Right Things Enough
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:04
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast today we are joined by I’m gonna give it my best shot. Yeah. Hong Zhuang Lim,
Hong Zhuang Lim 0:12
you got your best shot, correct?
Michael Waitze 0:14
No, tell me exactly because
Hong Zhuang Lim 0:16
we talked about this. So we have a little story on that.You know when I
Michael Waitze 0:19
before that, yeah, the CEO of Shuttleone. Yeah, that’s right. Got it. Go ahead, tell my story.
Hong Zhuang Lim 0:23
So the CEO of ShuttleOne has a very Chinese name, but I used to work in the West and the little stories
Michael Waitze 0:27
The West means what?
Hong Zhuang Lim 0:28
I used to work in London, investment bank in London. And really I did were in Goldman 31 feet Street. I was there for about three years 31 flees to the Goldman Sachs. What year was that?
That was our own nine, the immediately after Lehman Brothers crash. I was the cohort there was hired over there. So I was like the global financial crisis cohort,
Michael Waitze 0:50
where you really were you surprised to get a job at Goldman after the GFC
Hong Zhuang Lim 0:53
I was a little bit I did I did a summer intern over there, you know, and that was bombed out Charlie before July, right? The summer of of Oh, eight. And in 2009 came, it was like bloodbath, right? hiring freeze, you know, everything stopped, and I was back in Singapore and graduating and I was thinking, hey, is there any future in banking or give me a shot? You know, I need some say stability after I graduated, are you Singaporean by birth? I am Singaporean by birth. I’m born and bred here, actually, most of my childhood life. So I was here. So where did you go to school? I went to school in Anglo Chinese school. Oh, well, so that’s one. And after that, I went through the Singapore management university, you SMU. That’s right, where we like to say we are different. We are different. So I was the only Chinese named Guy in my cohort that was hired. And my boss, all right, the British, you know, has a problem. Not a problem. They’re all a different way of pronouncing Z, right? It’s either Z or Zed, if you come from the US. So he actually asked me, could I call you, John?
Michael Waitze 1:52
See what I mean? We talked about this beforehand. Right? Exactly. He actually said that you can I call you, John. And what did you say?
Unknown Speaker 1:57
I said, You can call me anything you want. Even a, as long as you know, you’re calling me. I’m just a junior there. You know, I don’t care. I’m just here to do my job. Right.
Michael Waitze 2:06
But you know, my philosophy on this right? Names are super important to me, right? Like when you were born, your parents actually sat down and had a conversation about not just you and your family, but like probably the grandparents and the uncles and aunts and where that name fit
Hong Zhuang Lim 2:18
in. My name is actually given by my grandfather. And when I was younger, or when I was growing up, you know, I’ve always wondered, and I’ve seen Greg there, how come I don’t have an English name? And you know, guess what? He shot back and he said, Are you English? Are you white? Obviously not.
Michael Waitze 2:30
But it’s a great answer. Right. And was grandpa from China,
Hong Zhuang Lim 2:33
grandpa’s, from China from Hainan from Hainan Island. So they migrated here. They migrated here. And in fact, recently, I just found out that home the home in given name for me, actually represents some generational difference or cohort. If you come from like old Hainan, and there’s a home there’s a woman you know, you represent, you know, different years that you are born over there. So it gives extra meaning, you know, and of course, I just found out on this recently,
Michael Waitze 2:57
what year were you born in?
Hong Zhuang Lim 2:59
I was in 1984?
Michael Waitze 3:00
I don’t know the year of saw on the Chinese calendar. Yeah,
Hong Zhuang Lim 3:03
I was. Okay. So yeah, the the interesting thing is I’m born in 1984. All right, in the Roman calendar year, the year the calendar, the most of us no, got it, I was at the tail end of the lunar calendar. So 984 is the other rat, the mouse got it. So I was actually a pig, tail end of the ad tree.
Michael Waitze 3:23
And I asked because I was born in the Year of the Snake, my wife was born in the year the snake and my daughter was also born when I was 36.
Hong Zhuang Lim 3:32
So it’s all told me a cycle is the ultimate.
Michael Waitze 3:36
And there have been some really funny stories, which I can tell you offline about these 12 year cycles, right? Like, if you’re in Asia, and you don’t understand, like the 12 year cycle of the Chinese calendar, you’re missing something important. But also, if you do know that, and you can’t figure out like how old I am from the year in which I was born, right? Like, you know, I’m not 12 or as if it’s the year of the snake this year, which it’s not, but you know, I’m not 12 You know, I’m not 24 I’m either 36 or 48 or 60. Right? But if you get like some random noise,
Hong Zhuang Lim 4:03
gotta have some numbers problem will calculate. Right? No, and this is this crucial, because when I started to get into my own stuff, right, culturally, culture is important, like in ASEAN,
Michael Waitze 4:14
very Yes, super important again, which gets back to the naming thing, right? Which is why that’s so important to me. Anyway, what were you doing at Goldman? You know, I worked there.
Hong Zhuang Lim 4:20
Yeah, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know who you were, but I just wanted to
Michael Waitze 4:25
work at Goldman Sachs. I want to get this right from 2001 until the end of 2006 I believe helping them build their portfolio trading business in Asia. So I helped build businesses from New Zealand all the way to India. So I
Hong Zhuang Lim 4:39
did the back office for what you would do I was in the structured finance unit Alright, where we were structured so when you say build business, right you are gonna you’ll find business like people who want to take a loan people want to you know, you’re putting up interest rate swaps and all that I will take what you do and I have to price the risk, the price that’s the restructuring our structuring.
Michael Waitze 4:57
Interesting What did you study in school? Did you study finance?
Hong Zhuang Lim 4:59
I Did my majors in sociology and quant finance? Okay, so they are not paying, I think it’s that pose in but it gives me an understanding of how macroeconomics work. And I guess when we start to price multi assets from various jurisdictions, right, that gives you an edge.
Michael Waitze 5:16
Yeah, absolutely. But also, if you understand you said, sociology, sociology, yeah, how societies will work, which gives you a huge edge when you’re pricing stuff now,
Hong Zhuang Lim 5:24
which makes me very sensitive to cultural stuff. Yeah, I completely understand we negotiate you know, a product, for example, or even internally, you know, we’ve probably folks like, you know, your departments and all that those, those are important when it comes to commerce.
Michael Waitze 5:35
Was it interesting for you to live in London? It was definitely interesting. Was that your first time living outside of Singapore? It
Hong Zhuang Lim 5:40
was it was it was because, you know, when we grew up in Singapore, a lot of the things that we know in Singapore is mostly set in stone, right. But we know, in real life this morning that I’ve always wanted to get out of Singapore to kind of see what’s out there the world. And when I was in London, London, it was a changing of times, the dead centre of economy, you know, we were six hours in front of the US and six hours, you know, behind and most things while still revolving things are getting old, right? I mean, I was just back at Oxford Street in the UK in 2019. And I’m just surprised how dilapidated you know, high street is today.
Michael Waitze 6:12
Is it really? So I haven’t been in London since 2010.
Hong Zhuang Lim 6:15
Yeah. So if you think that the cube was old when you were there, or were there Yeah, it’s worse is worse right now. Really? Yeah. But I guess I guess during my time, that it was a different way of looking at how people, you know, the minorities will live like I was Chinese. I’m Asian people think that I’m from China straight up, you know, right. And yeah, when I was in when I’m majority here in Singapore, but when I’m in the UK, you know, you kind of marginalise and so this was
Michael Waitze 6:39
really interesting for me. When I was in at college, I spent a year abroad in Japan, right. And again, in the United States, whether it’s in Connecticut in California, New York, Chicago, I don’t stand out at all right? I’m not that tall. I’m not that short. I’m not that dark. I’m not that light. I’m just like a regular dude. I’m kind of like, it’s hard to tell what my ethnicity is.
Hong Zhuang Lim 7:00
But you know, Mediterranean, though, so it’s
Michael Waitze 7:02
100 different stories about where people think I’m from actually had people said to me, are you from Mumbai, okay. Okay. But when I went to Japan, I was a visual minority for the first time in my life. Yeah. And I was like, 19, or 20 years old. Yeah. And that was super interesting to me. Yep. Right. Because the racism, maybe not the right word. But the discrimination that I experienced, not just when I was in school, but when I came back to work was palpable. I could feel it right. And I didn’t really mind per se, because again, it’s not my life story to be discriminated against. It isn’t for anybody. But but for you. It’s the same kind of thing, right? Like, when you’re growing up in Singapore, being of Chinese descent, here’s kind of like, just everything is the same. I think I
Hong Zhuang Lim 7:42
definitely, you know, like we walk out here, you’re like the majority you live, you look normal, right, quote, unquote, right. But I think when I was in the UK, I, I mean, I felt a lot of utilities a cultural elitism? Did you really Yeah, I’m interested in one of these key things like I mean, in Singapore, people will, will will work, right, the pace of, you know, the movements, you know, the walks and all this that’s aggressive super fast in London is fast to write. But I guess, you know, when it comes to certain cultural dates, like, you know, bank holidays, or whatever it became, there are a lot of traditions around, right, right. And when you’re not like from there, yeah, right? You get you get ostracised right. Oh, I have to be buying from my family, I have to start stopping work at 3pm. And because I got to travel on the am six back and
Michael Waitze 8:21
you’re not involved, I’m not involved, but it’s weird in a way. Right? Exactly. That’s what
Hong Zhuang Lim 8:25
I meant by you know, cultural elitism in a sense, you know, there is, there is this thing that, you know, for centuries, my family will be in here, this Asian point, you know, trying to, you know, like, like, trying to understand it. So, I felt a little bit off bank holidays and all these things. Usually, I’ll be wandering on the streets, you know, by yourself. Yeah, yeah, by myself. Oh, empty, trying to figure out what this place is.
Michael Waitze 8:42
Well, and in a weird way, right. It’s not necessarily anti Zwang it’s just the way it is. It’s just the way it is exactly right. Like they didn’t get together and say, Let’s be mean to this gentleman. They were just like, we just got to do a regular thing. That doesn’t include you. Yeah, right. Yeah. Anyway, that’s kind of weird.
Hong Zhuang Lim 8:58
So in that sense, I wanted to explore it. I mean, I had great times going to East West Europe during that period of time. How long were you How long were you? I was there for about three years okay, you know, so plus minus plus you know, the holidays here and there maybe about three and a half so you left about 10 years ago I left about I left in oh nine you left? No no I left in oh nine Well, that’s 13 years ago. Yeah. So pretty long now and post that I actually wanted to come back become normal right? It’s not that it’s not that London isn’t a great place to go minister is a great company for sure. It was also during that period of time 2010 If you remember like we will call it the vampire squid that that Time magazine I don’t remember the front cover of vampire squid. Yep. So there was this cold Goldman called your mosquito there were this this vampire squid thing that came on? I don’t remember but yeah, and we were like oh yeah, this is so true. And like we we make money because we play both sides. Yeah, fair enough. You know the buy and sell right yeah,
Michael Waitze 9:49
we don’t care which we used to say all the time right like market volatile market neutral.
Hong Zhuang Lim 9:52
That’s the finance speak for that. Yeah, that’s
Michael Waitze 9:54
the finance speak for we make money when you’re losing money. And it doesn’t matter if the market goes up. We can make money if the market goes down. We’re positioned both ways. I mean, this whole idea of credit default swaps and all these other things, right, man, we can make money coming and going. And it
Hong Zhuang Lim 10:06
just pieces paper at the point in time, which was very good foundation for me because I got this illusion refinance at that time and got disillusioned. I got this illusion because, you know, we’re
Michael Waitze 10:13
the right sorry. Go ahead. Yeah, it’s,
Hong Zhuang Lim 10:16
I don’t think it’s weird. It’s just that when I was younger of 2526, you know, I just felt you know, I’ve been more idealism for a while. I mean, we all I want to be Captain Planet, we’ve got to save the world. From a minority in Europe, I actually came back to Singapore and I became minority in Malaysia, I started become a farmer, because I was this illusion with big finance at a time. But
Michael Waitze 10:35
was it really a reaction to what happened when you were in London? Did you really think to yourself, I have to disconnect from this thing? Because it’s really disillusioning to me.
Hong Zhuang Lim 10:43
I guess I didn’t feel like disconnecting, I just felt that I wasn’t providing value at all right to the grand scheme of things, whatever that is society. economix. You know, whatever it is, I
Michael Waitze 10:53
mean, if you’re just moving paper around and make money, it’s so it’s not that fulfilling. But again, I used to say this to my brother, so my brother’s a neurosurgeon. Wow, that’s very fulfilling stablehand it’s very fulfilling, but also like you’re saving people’s lives kind of thing. Yeah. And you’re also helping people become more healthy. Yeah. And I used to say to him, If I ever lose my job, the only thing I’m qualified to do is to be your housemaid.
Hong Zhuang Lim 11:13
Why at least you know what’s going to happen with your brain, the neuro chemicals and all these things that you can prevent certain diseases, rightfully.
Michael Waitze 11:20
Yeah. So when you went back to become a farmer, what were you forming and why Malaysia?
Hong Zhuang Lim 11:25
So when I came back to Singapore, after the London stint, and I was thinking, Yeah, this place is still a bit too small. Because we are in the big city, you know, we used to drive like six, seven hours, you know, to the Midlands, West Midlands and all that Birmingham, anything all the way up north, right. And, you know, east to west Singapore is about 42 kilometres. I just thought the oyster is still out there. The world is still out there. One day, you know, I just took a car and just drove up to North, you know, to Malaysia, and I thought, Wow, this there’s an opportunity that comes out. There’s so much land here. Why don’t we produce food? Okay, yeah, that’s a good start. I talked to my dad, you know, and my mom and I asked him you know, what if I tried a different thing, like sell food and he they were like, you’re gonna f&b
Michael Waitze 12:02
the restaurant? Yeah. No more basic mall racing.
Hong Zhuang Lim 12:04
I don’t know. I’m gonna plant vegetables right now literally, I got myself into serene one small village there kind of just network, right through coffee shops, talking to people at you know, where land is, you know, I can rent you know, to do some farming and all that kind of stuff. Right. And that’s, that’s how we got started.
Michael Waitze 12:21
What was the reaction to you in Malaysia
Hong Zhuang Lim 12:23
as well? Oh, he was even more serious. So from a lien minority, I will say from the UK, you know, at least they respect you because they think that you’re from China. I became a Chinese minority in a Malay dominated villager. Yeah, so it was crazy eye opener, because I was literally the only the only guy there. You know, I don’t speak Malay at the time, which eventually I did. After seven years in Malaysia, oh, two, I don’t look like them, you know, 100%
Michael Waitze 12:45
at all? Close, but not exactly. Right. Exactly. Yeah.
Hong Zhuang Lim 12:49
So I had to look for other minority networks, you know, in all these places, and that’s where sociology really comes in. Because you truly understand how a village right or feudalism starts, you know, and how he explains how the city becomes bigger, you know, urban sprawl and all that.
Michael Waitze 13:03
Did you feel yourself? What’s the right word, like changing and evolving because of all these sort of sociological experiences that you had? Right? Because when you go to London, you’re not expecting to be a minority elite. Yeah. But then you experienced that what you hadn’t before? And then when you go to Malaysia, you’ve never experienced being the minority, non elite, whatever that means. Yeah. And now you’re getting older, more experienced having all these things happen to you? Do you feel like yourself changing at all becoming maybe more thoughtful or introspective?
Hong Zhuang Lim 13:29
I think during the course of wherever I was, yeah, I choice or by God’s plan that sense? Yeah, you definitely don’t think too much to go along with. I think looking back, I felt that especially recently, over the last one year during the pandemic, you know, I It confirms a lot of I would say, ideas that I have, okay, like, always tells in a sense, like, like, for example, in Malaysia in terms of racism, discrimination and all that, okay, those just happens at a political area. Okay. On the ground. You know, we people, we just people, we humans, you know, we have this and this true almost everywhere. I guess it’s true, unless you meet some hardliners, yeah, but in a way, I feel like those
Michael Waitze 14:03
people are the minority, at least in my life, I feel like and again, tell me when I’m wrong. But I feel like governments have a vested interest in creating division and playing you against her. Because it creates more power for them. We can spend a lot of time talking about politics and psychology. Yeah. Do you know what I mean? Because when you meet a normal person in the street, if you see them trip and you help them, they don’t look up and say, Oh, you’re not from my tribe. I don’t want your help. Most of the time.
Hong Zhuang Lim 14:29
I think you’re absolutely spot on. So I think some of these things that I faced in Malaysia, usually in terms of prejudice, yeah, I can’t do this because I’m not a certain race, or I’m not born here, in essence is due to government policies, the affirmative actions in Malaysia I think that’s very well known. That’s very well researched around the Malay natives. Yeah, the Malay natives in a sense, they are not particularly the place where I was staying in serene been one of the biggest laws was this right? That land can only be passed down to females to females, very different from the rest of how Asia works, you know? Will the rest of the world wars, interesting, but it is the males who come and claim the stake, you know, wherever you pay rent, and that’s where they flex, that’s where they flex, you know that this is the land from my toe and so my ancestors and all that really interesting, really. So there’s a lot of cultural under tension, you know, over there. Firstly, assets are owned by females, but yet it’s the male who comes in claims, you know, payments or tax, you know, and all this kind of rentals, you know, we rent land from the villagers and all that, and sometimes this guy will pop up out of nowhere, and ask you, you know,
Michael Waitze 15:29
where’s my money? Exactly. And
Hong Zhuang Lim 15:30
here’s my, you know, whatever lineage of verification, right, so ministry was like, photographers,
Michael Waitze 15:36
but is that gentleman related to the woman that owns the land? Or is that just can’t be random? Right?
Hong Zhuang Lim 15:41
You know? Absolutely. I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t really think you have. So we have to learn how to survive, you know, by being wise, by actually verifying things with, you know, third party, you know, information sources, how
Michael Waitze 15:54
long were you in Malaysia,
Hong Zhuang Lim 15:55
I was there for about seven, eight years.
Michael Waitze 15:57
That’s a long time.
Hong Zhuang Lim 15:58
It was a long time. So the first few years, literally, I stayed in the village. And just to give everybody context here, right. The nearest McDonald’s was an hour’s drive away.
Michael Waitze 16:07
Thank God, it could it should have been further away.
Hong Zhuang Lim 16:11
Yeah, so you know, at a time, you know, that’s how that’s how city was. And it was funny, because when I started driving around there, you know, one of the key things for me was just to keep exploring, keep finding, you know, potential networks that I can work with, you know, that you’re gonna partner up and all that. And one of the first few months when I was staying, you know, in the, in the village over there, actually drove into a palace. It’s called fremontii. Okay, in Saaremaa, is literally where the Sultan of the state space. So with this
Michael Waitze 16:39
is important to note that right, and I think people, a lot of people don’t know this about Malaysia still today. In the states of Malaysia, there’s a sultan,
Hong Zhuang Lim 16:47
there is a sort of King for the of that region of that region. Yeah, that state. That’s right, right. That’s right. And
Michael Waitze 16:53
that person actually has influence. That’s right. And exerts influence,
Hong Zhuang Lim 16:58
and most of the time, he has the ground influence, like he has the ground respect, in essence. Yeah, no, but I think more importantly, that’s what names matter. Let’s go back to the names right, if you look at Malaysia is the federal states of Malaysia. Right, right. It’s not like the Republic of Singapore. Right. So that kind of gives you an idea of the constitution of how, you know, Malaysia started off your true Malaya, with the British colonialism and all that, right. And yeah, I drove into a palace, or I called Sriman. Aunty, and it sounds like No, I didn’t know anyone just randomly driving around. It was the nicest building in the village you just went in. It’s like a tiny little thing. Oh, wow, this, this looks like a great place to hang out, you know, to have tea and all that I thought was a restaurant.
Michael Waitze 17:38
That’s the best thing I’ve heard all day. Go ahead. That was
Hong Zhuang Lim 17:41
2011. You know, and somehow I made friends with people there. You know, who’s working for the Sultan, I met the late suit. And he passed on, I think in 2020 13 2014, if I’m not wrong, and the succession and all that took place, like like just how Queen Elizabeth King Charles came along, you know, and it was, it was amazing. Because after making friends with the Sultan there, I became kind of like, okay, you’re in, right. And suddenly all these villages started to invite me to the like, random, you know, kids, wedding parties and all that in the village. Again,
Michael Waitze 18:08
another unbelievable sort of sociological and cultural experience. It is it is it is, but it also it’s really informative about the way being in and being out. are so different.
Hong Zhuang Lim 18:21
whitelisted white label, right? Yeah. Right. No, it’s amazing. Because another part, you know, during that period of time and other part of friends or networks that I’ve made in Malaysia was literally the people in the vice treat or her it’s usually run by Chinese people, you know, who control some form of you know, dark economy without drugs, KdV gambling and all these online gambling stuff and all that. And because you have to survive, survive, meaning, you know, if you get in trouble with the majority there are there is actually a group of people who actually stand up for you for whatever reasons, right? It gave me a cultural shock, right? Like how people outside of Singapore again, we are very rigid society, like how they will operate like, oh, I don’t go to university University. Literally, I am the only university graduate that they will know. And they were very proud of that. Right? For a very long time forever.
Michael Waitze 19:06
Super interesting, right? So when Why did you leave? Oh, so
Hong Zhuang Lim 19:08
in 2015 I have the first successful exit from the farming business.
Michael Waitze 19:12
Wait, wait a second. Where’s farming and exits? How big was this business? I would, but it wasn’t I don’t even want to say Bootstrap. Like you just built this business from scratch. Did you get from not all
Hong Zhuang Lim 19:21
this? I didn’t get funding. It was literally Okay. Farming is like gambling. It’s like going to a casino. Right? Where the odds are the weather. The Sky, which you can’t control but you can control in essence wishes. It’s ever better than casino I guess. You know, maybe because casino you are controlled somewhere.
Michael Waitze 19:38
Yeah, maybe. Although it’s on level road. The weather is like the house and the house always wins. Right?
Hong Zhuang Lim 19:43
Absolutely. So I took it as casino and because of my background in quantum numbers and all that, you know, I looked at it from a probability stem, how much land will you farm it? We started with about five acres Okay, towards the end when he exited about 300 all contiguous or all continuous look contiguous. So there was all Those 300 acres connected to each other. Oh, no, they’re all in different states. Oh, wow. So it’s almost like the country. Yeah, I started in Seremban is in three states or rather two states and three cities. Right. So I started in German, which is about two hours away from KL okay, then I came down south to Johor to Klong. There’s a small plot there, and near even near the Johor in a small place called Hong Kong Maasai,
Michael Waitze 20:19
which is in southern part of Malaysia close, which is the
Hong Zhuang Lim 20:23
east coast of Johor. So literally, if you are in pongo in Singapore, which is the northeast of Singapore, you look across, you can see it, you can see that place. Yeah, yeah. So I saw off move wherever opportunity for land is kind of like a nomadic farmer in that sense and manage the workers here in there. How many people do you have working for you? So towards the end, we have about 180. Now mostly a farm hands. And it’s crazy, because for us who number one are non Malay Malaysians? Right, right? It was very hard to get even simple things like work permits for your work, weren’t they Malaysians that were working for you? No, no, no. So that here’s here’s where the cultural differences again, there are different tiers in the society, right? I don’t know this when it comes to plantation workers out there tell you maybe 80 90% of plantation workers, agricultural workers, they’re all foreign labour, where it’s so foreign labour, so they come like Bangladesh, Indonesia, I was thinking Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, absolutely. These places Indonesia, dominant, probably 60 70%. Okay, of their base at some point in time, I think two or three lakh aeons ago, they were calculating there were about 7 million undocumented illegal workers. Emily, you know,
Michael Waitze 21:25
when I first started doing so I had a podcast that I used to call the Asian blockchain podcast. And we’ll get we’ll get to this in a second. One of the things that a gentleman was building was this idea of like, self sovereign identity for the foreign workers that were in Malaysia, because there were so many of them, a lot of them coming from which I didn’t pull Sri Lanka out of thin air. Yeah. I think he was actually in Sri Lanka. And he was telling me that there were so many foreign workers from there and yeah, Bangladesh, in Malaysia. Yeah. Right, doing the jobs like like in every country that the locals didn’t want to do. Absolutely. But they needed a way to send money home and all these other things, right. And he was trying to build that platform for them using and this is five years ago now six years ago building on a blockchain Anyway, go ahead. So
Hong Zhuang Lim 22:05
actually, that’s our first product, the Federal one, but it was it was all this accumulative experience? Right? Like I was literally, I’m not a conglomerate. I’m not a beginner. I’m just I’m just one. You know, I’m a Do you have
Michael Waitze 22:16
any anybody else helping you in this business at that C suite? Level? Right?
Hong Zhuang Lim 22:19
Yeah, C suite level means the last guy to eat the first guy on the team. Believe me, ESOP is really how much you put into land and whether you can harvest that in X number of days, and how much is left over for you? Yeah, but it gave me great experience in terms of how another side of the world works. You know, I was right in front of corruption. I was right in front of problems with permits, for example, like, literally, if you go to some of these places for permits, right. They will tell you not to bring a bribe. Like there will be posters for that. But don’t bring up don’t bring a bribe. Yeah. And you will see how second class some of these illegal workers are when they come into Malaysia, you know, and it does make sense now, because the UNHCR, the hue, that UN humanitarian crisis response, I think HQ is in KL is it really it isn’t kale. Yeah. So this is
Michael Waitze 23:08
the thing about corruption and bribery. I think that most people don’t understand. They just know what they see in the movies, right? Some guy with a paper bag filled with money comes over to another guy. Yeah. Who says, Yeah, give me the money for the bribe down. And they have an agreement. Yep. But that’s not the way it happens. Normally, it goes something like this. And you again, you tell me where I’m wrong. It normally goes something like this, like, I need to get permits for these people don’t can’t have it. Okay, but I need to do this. So I can do that. And this person is involved as well in the forming that we do. And if I can’t do this, then that person doesn’t benefit. How can we make this better? Absolutely. is really the question that ends up being the bribe. How do we make this better? Right?
Hong Zhuang Lim 23:46
Correct. So in that term in Malaysia, how do you want to settle? Yeah, that’s always the question. Yes, same
Michael Waitze 23:51
thing. So I’ve had similar situations that we don’t need to discuss explicitly work in a place and not just said to them, how do I make this better? How do I fix this?
Hong Zhuang Lim 23:58
Yep. Oh, absolutely. I think that’s, that’s where it is. And I think when we look at places like this, you know, develop or developing nations both are the same, same, there is a difference between the incentives of the guy asking the question, right, and the power that he has.
Michael Waitze 24:11
Sure. And it’s scale as well. Right? He scales. That’s right. How big is this settlement?
Hong Zhuang Lim 24:17
That’s right. Yeah. Right. And therefore I can solve some of the problems you know, because your problem the market size of the problems that pick it up sounds like a startup deck.
Michael Waitze 24:26
Because the addressable market, right. But here’s the thing you said you exited what is a farm exit? Oh, looks like and did you plan on exit? Or did someone just come to you go I need to buy all this.
Hong Zhuang Lim 24:37
So farmers farming standpoint, right. We didn’t have we didn’t own land, right. We always rented you know, across the weird, interesting. Yep. So So I started from business, kind of like the software business today that they will run a charter one that is asset, like, you know, you can just pick up from a piece of land, you know, and go somewhere else, right? Yeah. But I started looking at where value is, in essence, and that’s creating value internally in terms of the supply chain. So I figured out At a small village that I was farming and 510 20 acres, you know, slowly expanding there, I realised Oh, I can really expand this, you know, by trading, go ahead. And literally, I just had to save enough money for one truck and go around this whole village and telling the rest of the producers Hey, guys, you know, I can bring you to market I can bring you the kale, I can bring you to Penang, I can bring you the hippo would you want me to ferry yourself? I’ll give you a cut for it. Yeah. And then I learned something on that. I think everybody should learn something I’m trying to get in my case, information asymmetry, which is a huge thing in vegetables.
Michael Waitze 25:32
But the only way to get information asymmetry is to be involved in something right. In other words, you couldn’t have just rocked up to that village, looked around and said, Okay, there’s information asymmetry here, these people need to get their product from here to there. I’m gonna buy one truck, you had to be in the farming business to know this, you have to understand you have to be the network. That’s my point, though. That’s right. And you couldn’t do it right away. It took you three years, four years, whatever it was. And then you could say, well, wait a second. Here’s the ancillary or supplementary opportunity. Yep. And this is true in every business, every industry, but in every single business, right? So it’s like Apple saying, wait a second. Why am I paying so much money to Intel for chips? Why don’t I produce it myself? Why not produce the my own chips? Yep, right in a complete different format that I can control it’s the same thing taking another piece of the value chain it’s no different in a way because you wouldn’t know that
Hong Zhuang Lim 26:26
but you need you need the other side to accept that he’s ignorant. Yeah, of course of course of course. Easy and that you can play the gap over there in that sense. Yeah, exactly. And you
Michael Waitze 26:35
need to work really well like Look what Apple did to Intel and I’m just saying this because my computer’s in front of me not because I really care either way but all along you’re buying their products all along you’re buying all along you’re learning about chips manufacturing, understanding this stuff, right? And then one day you say hmm, if we can control that part of the value chain to Yep, it’s more value to us and more value to our clients as well. Is that fair?
Hong Zhuang Lim 26:54
That’s very fair. That’s what exactly I did it if I’m in business to create value first i trading volume in that sense. Second, you know, the real assets in the cold storage, right the trucks who knew that trucks they are cold, you know, oh, yeah, I want to last longer distances. Sounds drastic seven hours, right? Yes, a refrigerated truck, right. And if I want to store more, I want to have a base somewhere in key market like selayang Kia or other Kia was a very small place in slang or actually a very small place. Go ahead. It’s a small place like most people don’t know that. You’re like the Lego is a killer capital. K was just a city right away. Oh, is to actually have a storage house, a warehouse that is close orange, right? There is either run by air conditioning or by aku by wateriness. Right. Right. Right. Yep. super interesting. So from there, people got interested in how you know the margins are like and all that you know, and then from a very unstable, you know, weather dependent business, it became a very stable so the years they truly made money 1112 and 13. Alright, if you look up an old news and all that there were a lot of floods in Thailand and in Vietnam.
Michael Waitze 27:53
Yeah. In 11 in particular in Thailand. But yeah, I remember really well because I moved to Thailand at the end of 2011. And the water was still
Hong Zhuang Lim 27:59
is huge, right? Huge. And the Toyota factories they all stopped, you know, major transformer factories,
Michael Waitze 28:03
the lens factory, absolutely everything. The whole supply chain got killed.
Hong Zhuang Lim 28:06
So the only one thing that happened to at the time was Chile, because I looked up the MPO a Ministry of Agriculture is like top value commodities of produce is Chile from Thailand. You mean from Malaysia and Malaysia, and around Southeast Asia, we eat a lot of chilli. But I got through a lot of trouble because chilli is one of the hardest plants to plant. Is it really? Yes. 40 Or were different kinds of insects and 60 over different bacterias that will attack the leaves really still occupational hazards these days. When I get around, I look at plants and I oh yeah, this yellow leaf you’re gonna put some copper sulphate on images a blue colour liquid.
Michael Waitze 28:37
i This is one of the things I love, right is that once you’re in a particular business, again, no matter what the business is, you start looking at the world around you in a completely different way. Yep. Right like when I was and I’ll give you one example. But this Chile example is great as well. When I was in the stock business at Goldman Sachs in Tokyo, I used to run around the city with one of my buddies who was also in the stock business and we’d look up at buildings go okay, that’s I think it was Sony 6758 Like we’d know the stock because we played this little game that number for the stock code Yeah, we would play this game because every company looked like a stock which is for you it’s like every leaf looks like a
Hong Zhuang Lim 29:13
heavy levy type of produce in essence you know like I will generally know how many days or two whatever that says and I really will time it against the market
Michael Waitze 29:21
yeah Fair enough.
Hong Zhuang Lim 29:22
So at this point in time you know people were trying against all odds like at the end of the year you know monsoon period right you try not to farm chilli you’re trying to pump hardier plants and all that interesting. So those have less attacks in that sense. So I purposefully try to find the highest value of the hottest commodity which chilli Yeah, and yeah go lucky you know for 1112 During the times where there are floods and all that
Michael Waitze 29:42
so what part of the business did you exit was it the cold storage part of the the
Hong Zhuang Lim 29:46
the production the trading and the whole the whole entire thing? Right but who bought it
Michael Waitze 29:50
you have to tell me exactly who would like what type of entity bought it.
Hong Zhuang Lim 29:53
It was an entity trying to divest themselves agriculture was it wasn’t a vertical bio m&a, right. It was more they will try In the game to an entirely new business, you know, they will they will manufacturing I think it was electronics, you know, textiles and all that stuff. It was a conglomerate, they want to get into food in 2014 2015. Are they still running that business? Yeah, they still running their business at the planned time.
Michael Waitze 30:12
Interesting. So what got you back into finance?
Hong Zhuang Lim 30:15
So I think it was also because of farming, you know, that 2015 After the exit, I started look into what Cryptocurrencies was about why though,
Michael Waitze 30:22
you can’t just go from like farming and stuff like that into Crypto, can you? Yeah, I
Hong Zhuang Lim 30:27
guess I guess I go where my interest goes, you know, and that’s a double edged sword in that sense, right. I like to look at things. I’m interested in things that are fairly complex. Yeah. All right. But I try to understand it from a very technical fundamental standpoint and try to do something from there. Okay.
Michael Waitze 30:40
What was your introduction though,
Hong Zhuang Lim 30:41
to mining? Crypto mining? You mind? You’re so good friend came over when I was farming. And this was in Malaysia. Yeah. In Malaysia. So he called me up and he was like, Hey, Tom, I have 10 computers. Okay. Yeah. What I want to do I want to bring a cool room. I was like, 10 computers? Pretty my whole room? Are you trying to open a cold internet cafe? And I’m trying to provide so you didn’t? I didn’t know. I didn’t know anything. You know, anything. I read about Bitcoin in 2013. I mined Dogecoin in 2014, which is just a lot of people don’t know that you can actually mined those coins. But you did it just because you want to see what was going on. I want to see if you go to my Facebook, and you know where it is, I can show I’m not on social media anymore. But 2014 I have that UI for mining Dogecoins Well, every time you find the blog on those, it goes.ga Like literally, but anyway, so 2016 came friend came to 10 computers, I’m like, Dude, what is this? Right? And he was like, Oh, I’m trying to you know, mine. Ethereum what is it? Like? What is it? Like some growth? Yeah, like, like, why mining and on it? And I guess I call interested in it. Because you know, crypto is very highly complex. You know, if we think that we come and finance with our own finance speak, right, right, right. Like we’d like to do this. I’ll give you an example. We’d like to say, Oh, I’ll take a 10% haircut on a, you know, pure vanilla product, you know, and blah, blah, blah.
Michael Waitze 31:55
And if somebody heard us having this discussion, like, they’d be like, I heard the vanilla part makes sense. A haircut? Is he gonna get a haircut? His hair is a little more like,
Hong Zhuang Lim 32:03
they don’t know anything. No exact, but I understand completely. Yeah, we will understand that. And we think that we are masters of the universe. Well, we’re just making up we’re making up things that could be just say, well give me a 10% discount on a simple product. Or a product. Yeah, that’s it. Any kind of make ourselves feel cool. That’s right, though. does the same thing 100% And with steroids, right? Yeah.
Michael Waitze 32:23
Can I do? Can I tell you this story? I was interviewing them some people from YG G, right. handheld games? Yeah. Yep. And they were saying, Yeah, we’re gonna open a sub Dow in Vietnam. And I’m like a sub Dow. Okay. I know what a Dow? Isn’t that just like, if you’re, if you’re gonna give somebody else the ability to run a Dow and in other countries, and that’s just like a franchise? So it’s just like you’re franchising it out? They’re like, yeah, yeah, but we just call it a sub doubt. I’m like, you could just call it a franchise anyway. So yeah,
Hong Zhuang Lim 32:50
it’s the same thing. I want you to use all the data. Yeah. Be very, very good friends. Yeah, I saw how he really rose, you know, the view games and all that. But anyway, so 2016 came a friend came in 10 computers. And I was like, What is your theory? So I started reading the yellow paper, the white paper, you know, from Gavin wood from Little League and all these things. The more I read, I guess, because I’m a sucker for complex things. You know, I started to try to figure it out on my own, and like, Where can we apply these things for? I literally talk to that friend, you know, he was like, Oh, this is going to be a asset class. You know, I’m not sure how much it’s going to be, you know, we can sell it somehow. This was 15 and 16 years, this was 1516. There was a time where there were, you know, literally Landmann three exchanges. There was one in Vietnam run by a bunch of I think European guys and Vietnam van crypto for like the second time that time there was a bid in Singapore, which we can Gemini if I’m not wrong, and there was Hopi China, which still exists, should exist. By the time Hopi only had three three coins, right? Doge, Ethereum, and Bitcoins. It was it was fantastically crazy, like and we were figuring it out. And like then the mission was very simple. Personally, I always thought this digital assets has to have a real world application. It’s got to impact reward, right, which is probably 90% of what we see in crypto to the impacts impacts crypto, right. Yeah. Yeah. Right. And so it’s with that kind of mission that we still bears on today in the types of products that we build. And let me get to that. Yeah. So I start mining crypto when we go from, you know, 10 computers, eventually a few 1000 nodes and running and all that we actually are all in Malaysia at the time, all in Malaysia, they wish to actually back to Singapore. We tried to partner with a guy here who runs one of the buildings here. You know, truth be told costs of industrial electricity here in Singapore is one of the lowest in Southeast Asia against all grain of thought.
Michael Waitze 34:27
Did you ever think about if you’re in Malaysia, right, expanding this into Brunei, which has super cheap,
Hong Zhuang Lim 34:33
absolutely, absolutely electricity. But I guess at a point in time, there was trade offs, right. So cheap places or cheap renewable energy usually has delivery problems
Michael Waitze 34:44
will worry for low infrastructure. Yeah, deliver delivery of energy problems. Yeah,
Hong Zhuang Lim 34:47
that’s right. Yeah. So I guess Singapore structure is not great. Singapore way we are good at infrastructure is great.
Michael Waitze 34:53
That’s the understatement of the century.
Hong Zhuang Lim 34:56
Well, I have a lot of criticism of Singapore but I think infrastructure it works All right, it works over here. Yeah. So we actually started to look into that, you know, bringing back the Singapore refurbishing a transformer over here with a partner that didn’t work out.
Michael Waitze 35:08
Well How big was this getting though?
Hong Zhuang Lim 35:09
It was getting like, eight 9000 units, you know, mining rigs, GPUs and all that stuff. Oh, wow. Yeah.
Michael Waitze 35:15
It was just surprised at how fast this was growing.
Hong Zhuang Lim 35:17
I guess I was, you know, I was, I actually was surprised that actually people want to buy this shit. Like this Ethereum. You know, like, we started at like, 80 cents, and it jumped up to 280. And I remember it was $80, you know, somewhere in 2017. And we’re like, Oh, guys, we hit the jackpot over here. Time to exit. And that gave us the first problem. Because when we started looking at that, we were like, where do we sell things to? Right? It’s not like that. Yeah, it’s not like the exchanges. Now. We literally had to go around, you know, income drives. There was a time before trestles at Nanos like hardware wallets were a thing, right? So we literally stole all the private keys that JSTOR used to have ours anytime drive every time that I had 20 Aetherium. And we were going around Asia Pacific, trying to figure out where’s the best place, you know, the highest price to sell something
Michael Waitze 35:58
because that whole process wasn’t automated then it wasn’t even there wasn’t channels?
Hong Zhuang Lim 36:03
Local Bitcoins, they were like random. Do you think
Michael Waitze 36:06
that contributed to what was happening in 2017? And 2018? When all of crypto crashed for the not the first time but the biggest first time? Yeah, was that there was no on ramp and off ramp at the time?
Hong Zhuang Lim 36:15
Actually, no. I mean, I didn’t know friends who saw the faster money comes in, the faster money can go by they’re the biggest problem in crypto in 2016. Or 1718. In that sense, the first winter, I’ll always call it it’s it’s projects not delivering on the products that they are talking about. Yeah, fair enough. Right. And it gets back
Michael Waitze 36:31
to your real world usage, right. Like crypto was really good for crypto, but it wasn’t really good for anything else.
Hong Zhuang Lim 36:35
Yeah, everybody was coming out with all sorts of different white papers. And, you know, but at a time is really a layer one. In fact, I have a hypothesis that is still a layer one era, in a sense, you know, even during this winter, we’re not past it. Yeah, we’re not past that. But back then it was ICOs, you know, raising a lot of money in digital currencies, Ethereum. You know, whatever it is, you know, and not delivering on whatever do they have to do, which costs a lot of hurt, right? And that’s where money’s does exist in the market, you know, quote, unquote, the first crash in that sense? And
Michael Waitze 37:01
isn’t it the case that at the beginning of any sort of new financial market, that there’s going to just be a lot of unmet promises? Like, literally, if you go back to the beginning of Wall Street as well go back to the 1919 1910s and stuff? It’s not that different?
Hong Zhuang Lim 37:17
No, it’s not at all actually isn’t. I think the biggest difference is that I think for the first time with digital assets, crypto, web three, whatever you want to call it, it’s the combination right now economists, finance and tech. Yeah, yeah. You you either start off with one of these political right, right, right. If you compare maybe, you know, the Great Depression is purely financial. Right? Like really paper at work. Yeah. And how its structured and all that. But this time in the first time in history, right transformation Lee, right, it is these three disciplines, and he has all different ideas and concepts and all that all gelled into one big thing.
Michael Waitze 37:48
So if you go back to the 1990s, right, the regional crash, right, the stock market crash, what’s the right way to say this? The way that information was shared back then, was really just like this? Yeah, it was like word of mouth and some writing. So it took a long time for people to figure out in relative terms, what was actually happening. Yep. Right. So that’s why that’s why the whole arc of this was like really, really long when the stock what was it? 1929? I can’t remember. I can’t remember anymore. But like, right before the Great Depression, right? It’s been longer than five to six. Yeah, it took a long time to come go in and a long time to come out. Because just the idea that like all things lagged information was whereas today, it just it’s like instantaneous. Yeah. Right. So the crashes are super deep. You can see a theorem go down 19% And seven days after the merge. Yeah. And then you’re like, Well, that was fast. Yeah. But then it just like kind of sneaks back up again to like, its regular rate. And anyway,
Hong Zhuang Lim 38:40
I guess that’s where it really, really, I mean, winter, as with the last one that we went through in 1789, right, a lot of people a lot of naysayers or haters out there, you know, for digital assets. But nobody really talks about the things that they actually that the blockchain is worth. Right? It’s because of the speed of finality settlement transparent that is on the public. Ledger. Yeah, it’s creating the speed of rise and fall. Yeah, it’s not going away. It’s not going away. It’s
Michael Waitze 39:02
never gone away. Everything’s gonna converge into that at some level, right? So
Hong Zhuang Lim 39:07
like, three years ago, when we started working with some of the government related agencies here in Singapore, right, with all payments and our financing product, you know, using public blockchains there was still a debate like I’m gonna use a private blockchain, you know, your public thing is a scam and all that, you know, three,
Michael Waitze 39:21
so tell me exactly what a ShuttleOne, two.
Hong Zhuang Lim 39:23
Yeah, so we do two things, right. We service b2b companies, enterprises. All right, we have three products, number one for the use case of payments, using stable coins for cross border transfer for payments of the party and all that we are connected to 87 countries globally. Now. Second, we build a defy app on it, where we use crypto liquidity or financing in that sense.
Michael Waitze 39:40
So what is the impact recently of what happened at Terra Luna and what happened at Celsius? Oh, on even just on even just sorry, go ahead.
Hong Zhuang Lim 39:47
I think we aren’t that impact of damage, right? Because we service the real world in a sense for a real use case, right? Like even if if services went down, you know which they are. They’re getting there. They’re getting there. You know the guy who Service paying third party logistics providers, they’re suddenly you know, the payments rails and all that. Or if a SME from Tallinn wants to take a loan, in essence, you know, we service those things. So we are we are applying the promises of what a public ledger will be. And we have we are supporting 26 public ledger
Michael Waitze 40:15
in a way does the dislocation in the market help firms like yours, they’re actually doing real things, because as opposed to somebody going, Okay, I have these Bitcoins, someone tells me I can get 25% return on it feels kind of fake, but everybody’s getting it. Let me give it to these people. They’ll lend it out, and then they’ll lend it out to somebody else and lend it out to somebody else. And I’ll get my return. When that thing blows up. They’re like, Okay, wait a second, there’s got to be some reality here with this tech. Where is it?
Hong Zhuang Lim 40:39
Yeah, I think for us, you don’t I mean, yeah, I think it goes back to the day where my friend came with 10 computers. Yeah. And I told him, this has got to be some real world application, in a sense, right? How crypto will run off rise or fall in that sense, you know, doesn’t really impact the work we do because we build on the technology themselves.
Michael Waitze 40:54
So this is the thing that I wanted to talk about. Yep. Because this is the thing that’s really interesting to me. I don’t care. Yep. Where Ethereum is trading? I don’t care if bitcoin is at 20,000 or 60,000, or 2000. Because to me, what’s always mattered is what is that technology layer going to be used for? And how does it change? Yeah, life? Yep. Do you know what I mean? Of course and the level of Bitcoin? Sure, if you own some you want to be higher by definition. But what is that tech going to do? Yep, is what’s really important?
Hong Zhuang Lim 41:25
So I think from a public blockchain standpoint, a lot of people don’t really talk about this is that how do we build a network? Go ahead. That’s the key thing, I think, from from when when I started in the ICO wave, you know, 1718, in essence, we’re always talking about community, community community, but in that in that 718, it also is a community of speculative residences, yeah. These days, you know, in the real world, quote, unquote. In that sense, the the thought process has always been who’s actually a part of this network? Who do I need? In essence, right? So when we start doing when we started doing for payments, things are easy. How do we combine data between, you know, Blockchain data to banking data? That sense? Okay, so we’re kind of like the the plate or plot of crypto, right, we tap on both sides, we are able to give a banking verification number, alright, so that the users were cashing in and out of their crypto can go to the bank and ask them, you know, where is the money at this point? I
Michael Waitze 42:15
can you tell me exactly how this works. So from a client of yours, or I’m part of this network, right? Just tell me from scratch. Yep. How it feels, what it looks like, and just logistically how it works and what it’s meant to accomplish.
Hong Zhuang Lim 42:27
So I think before they will take one step back, please write one step back, and what are we solving in it? Yeah, that’s what I want to know. And he started with experience with mining, I think life is all about tinkering and trial and error and experiences. Right? Yeah. And how you apply those things. So that’s the philosophy of other thing, part of our experience where we went around the whole of Asia with thumbdrives. If you remember, there was a very simple question. Like when I meet somebody that I don’t know, right, let’s say in Korea, for example, trying to sell for the kimchi premium at that time for Ethereum is, okay, here’s the Aetherium. And you can transfer me money. Right? Right. So do I pass you the theorem first? Or do you pass me the money?
Michael Waitze 42:58
Right? Because how do I trust the fact that? Absolutely, like when I walk into a store, I get my goods? Yep. I give you my credit card. Yep, square.
Hong Zhuang Lim 43:05
Yep. Yeah. And this problem, you know, perpetuates I do today. That’s why I always tell my team, we are still fairly early guys super early. This OTC p2p network, right? It’s a huge liability problem. There’s a compliance who transferred for us, in essence, right? So the word Trust, we can solve it in two ways, right? One, which is what we are doing now, in terms of product is implemented in production for us one year, when you want to transact tokens, right? The tokens go into a smart contract, I’m not the smart contract team for hours, in that sense, build a network of Fiat liquidity providers who can do domestic money transfers, right? You can think of them as remittance agents and all that. So you build an electronic market, right? For the value of the tokens. Alright, to fear true a licenced intermediary. All right, who is bounded by a service level agreement that’s in the software. So it’s in the software, though, there’s no software in the market, they were created. So this of two things, right one, on the banking side of things where I was like little plot, were able to see whether there’s incoming debit or credit transfers, if you tell me that, you know, you’re going to bring in a doubt, I’m selling $1,000 worth of Ethereum to you, I have to see in that bank account is that is destined,
Michael Waitze 44:08
complicated is to do in the sense that you’re not connecting the banking system, right? So if I have an account, I’m just making it up. If I have an account at Citibank, you have to see the money hit my Citibank account. At the same time, you also have to see the Ethereum move into my
Hong Zhuang Lim 44:21
wallet. That’s right. So so that’s what I say I like to take complex things and try to make it as simple as possible. Go ahead, right, in terms of banking, that says no bank will give you alright, if you don’t prove yourself, you know, whatever it is sure. Today in terms of banking data. All right, we go back to web two. Now take one step back. There are open banking API guys, you know, who are trusted third party licences in wherever it is, who are allowed to touch or service that data from the banks. Yep. So it’s either you work with them, or you work with the banks themselves. Right. So we were lucky during the pandemic, you know, where we started to work on the networks by the banks are on so we think about three if you can think about Ach, you know, simple and all that. So that’s why I say, you know, nobody really tries to understand how does it what does it really To build a network,
Michael Waitze 45:00
if you think about it, right, like if you asked your mom or dad, yeah, and I’m just using them as a proxy for just like a regular person, what happens when they put their card into an ATM? Yeah. And the paper comes out exactly what happens in the back end. Like, it just doesn’t die at the back of that machine, which is, I think, very complicated.
Hong Zhuang Lim 45:18
It is not just complicated. I think it is a human problem. Because the attention span or the focus of humans, we just don’t question the right things enough. Exactly. Like, like, like, I literally had this discussion with my mum and dad, and all that you bring up, you’re like, I told my mom and dad, you know, like, remember the times where you were asking grandfather and grandmother? To use the back? That was a, you know, probably a conversation in the 50s or 60s. And my mom was oh, yeah, you know, I told her mom that, you know, it’d be better for them to put it in this brick wall thing, whether it’s security, whether they leave it at home, safe or something exactly. Leaving it, you got it for you, you know, and they say because of x, y, z and all that. And my mom, a mom, it sounds like exactly what smart contracts are all about. Right? I’ve been talking about in software,
Michael Waitze 46:01
exactly. The only differences it’s in software, it’s supposed to be like words between two people and maybe like a written SLA. Same.
Hong Zhuang Lim 46:06
Exactly. So I think people don’t think true enough. Yeah, like, there is a huge problem in the FinTech space these days, these days, where we will talk about payment networks in that sense, and in Singapore is a mired number of human networks. And so what does it really mean? You know, the biggest problem is, you know, we have a lot more fraud that is coming up. In the US, you guys call it the wire fraud, in a sense, right? Basically sending a screenshot and just telling the other side, oh, I sent the money, right, with a screenshot, but it doesn’t, there’s nothing on the network, right? And this is what we depend on. Alright. For the most part in the last, I guess, what, four or five years when we went to FinTech started to rise, right, since and now we have crypto Whoa, and under crazy amount, you know, another layer of complexity on top of that innocence. So that’s really the first problem that we tried to solve. Got it, right, to bring a trustless network of Fiat liquidity providers and crypto. All right, that is judicial, enforceable by law, wherever we are in that sense.
Michael Waitze 47:03
So what does that mean, when you work with the government? Are you just said judicial right, yet enforceable by law? This is actually kind of important to people. Yeah, yep. What role do governments and regulators play? And how has their mindset changed, like over the past three or four years in working with companies like yours, and even just individuals like you who go to them and say, Hey, how about this thing?
Hong Zhuang Lim 47:23
Firstly, I’d like to place myself where balances in terms of this debate of decentralisation, centralization, because I was gonna ask you about this. Yeah, in that sense. And I think when I started off in 2016 2017, a lot of companies in crypto was talking about self regulations. We self regulate, or we think of we don’t be evil, right? Taking the Google slogan for ourselves. Right. Right. But that’s a fallacy, because at some point in time, you know, you will become evil. If not, you are the evil itself.
Michael Waitze 47:48
Right? Right. Right. If you’re sitting around a table, and you don’t know who the evil person is, absolutely, it’s you.
Hong Zhuang Lim 47:53
Correct. So you can have all great intentions and all that. And when things happen when thing goes wrong, as we see right now, in this current winter, you know, you have a lot of different things coming up, I’m in the middle, where we are able to see consumer protection is needed. Yeah, in a sense, you know, no governments of the day will try to stifle it all good intentions, innovation, right, if you understand, you know, tax money, revenues, and all that. So for us, when it comes to regulations, we are all for the regulations, that is balanced with the progressiveness of how the innovation is gonna be what does that mean, though. So from that sense, is how the benefits of a public blockchain or the digital assets that is created will create economy and protect, you know, the users at the same time, either by law, judicial, judicial bility. All right, or to self regulation. So a combination of both is where I guess it’s needed in science. And for this, you know, I think I have to do the national services, applauding, you know, the central bank mes, they have been really trying very hard
Michael Waitze 48:50
to Singaporean, right. I gotta say whatever I want. Of course, I remember I don’t know if you said this when we were recording when we were recording, but you were like, Singapore has its own problems. Right. And in a way, born and raised here, right? Absolutely. It’s almost like your family. Were in a way that right in the sense that like, you know, internally in your own family, like, what’s happening, my cousin’s not perfect. And I can say whatever I want, because it’s my cousin. Yeah, but don’t you say anything bad about him? Absolutely. Right. Yep. It’s the same thing, right? Like, it’s the same thing with Singapore. It’s your thing. So you can say whatever you want. But for as an outsider, I look at what the Monetary Authority of Singapore has done in amazement. Well, if you think about you, but only because it’s all relative. Yeah, yeah. Right. It’s all relative. No one’s perfect. Right? Again, your cousins? No, perfect. Yep. But I feel at least like the MIS is attempting to gather as much information as possible. Yes, eliminate this information asymmetry. And then try to create a regulatory framework to ensure that businesses new businesses can run but that no one gets frauded.
Hong Zhuang Lim 49:54
Absolutely. And this is where I like to, you know, just pick out one point during a bull run great time. Sure. You know, we always hear people talking about, you know, is my money, don’t tell me where do I invest? And I will do my own research. Yeah, I do my own research and all that I do my own research. Great. You know, I mean, until the market crash, I’m not in it for I mean, for the tech. Right, right. And then when winter comes, you know, people are crying out loud. West believes government. Yeah, Western cover West? Oh, absolutely. This is where, you know, perspectives and timeframe matters. People don’t really question you know, certain things that happens in the market, people trust a UI, you know, and don’t see how the infrastructure works, I guess for Singapore. In that sense, that’s where we really have a great balance, in essence, and I will echo that because we work with other regulators that is on our licencing case, and all that they really want to try and understand, you know, where we are, we actually operate in that sort of grey area of defy at this point, like we do trade financing, right, in the in the standard banking, trade fi way of trade financing, you know, it’s the bank lending out the money, you know, and that there’s an agreement and all that. And for us, it’s not we merely facilitate, we don’t know hope, you know, liquidity that sense from crypto capital directly to the borrower in and of itself.
Michael Waitze 51:04
So what’s the benefit for someone who’s borrowing to do it in a crypto way, as opposed to doing the traditional?
Hong Zhuang Lim 51:09
So I think for us, we are able to streamline most of the Treasury, because of a smart contract liquidity pool, if I may, risk management in total credit scoring for that matter. And lastly, you know, the Lord’s blessing of itself, right, where liquidity, treasury and Lowe’s are all combined into a series of smart contracts series of tokens, the one of the work we do is to tokenize real assets, trade cargo with that sense. So if you just put everything on on the smart contract, there’s the relevant approvals that is autonomous decentralised, or you really cut down 60% of the Outer Banks
Michael Waitze 51:40
costs. So asset tokenization is a big deal. It is a big deal. And also the ability, like you said to apply sort of, I don’t want to say unbiased, right? Because to the extent that somebody’s writing the contract, their bias may be written in this contract as well, right? But let’s put that aside for a second. This automating of whether it’s trade finance, or any kind of lending, and combining all those components into one thing, and making them smart contracts makes it so much more efficient. Yep, cheaper, but also this idea of being able to tokenize any asset at all? Yep. Right. This room could be tokenized. Yep, this whole room could be tokenized and factionalized and fractionalized, and the fractionalization is where the democratisation of finance actually really happens. But here’s the maybe the last thing I’ll ask you, because I feel like we’ve covered a tonne of ground. Yeah, but there’s more to do. That means you have to come back to if you’ve enjoyed this at all, you have to at what level do you feel a responsibility to like financial literacy matters, right. And all of these products, like you said before, we could sit here and talk about plain vanilla and blah, blah, blah. But it’s really just nomenclature for us. You can say it in much easier terms. But the reality is that most of the world doesn’t understand finance traditionally. Yep. What do we need to do? And what responsibility? Do we feel like we have to be able to make everybody sort of crypto literate. So to them, it doesn’t feel like, frankly, the way the internet felt 25 years ago, that it’s just for criminals? And we don’t know, it’s too complicated. You know, to me, like when I first told my mom to get an email address, she was like, why? But it’s not that different from today? Absolutely. If you said to your mom, you should have a crypto wallet, you’d be like, huh, yeah. Right. So what do we need to do to educate everybody about this?
Hong Zhuang Lim 53:24
I think continuous. And this is the tough part, because it’s hard everywhere. And
Michael Waitze 53:28
there is no real answer. But I’m just curious to how you think about it.
Hong Zhuang Lim 53:31
To me, I think it’s a constant consistent message of understanding, and actually learning and revising how things work. Crypto, right, most of these things are, you know, like, why do you need a crypto wallet? Oh, it’s like a bank account. Right? Oh, why do you need a bank account? Or because it’s an electronic ledger, you know, for you to store your money. Right? And why do we need money? Because money is really a ledger physically of how we account for goods and services. Well, where we how we place value on things are? Absolutely, yeah, so I think the whole crypto space has to be continuous in terms of the kind of knowledge right that they will dish out in that sense and more of the knowledge in crypto these days are self serving. If you come to our Twitter and look at what we are talking about all the time, right? We don’t promote all things all the time, right? We don’t ever tell anybody you know, which is bad. My shoulder is gonna kill me but like, I’m not I’m not gonna tell you Oh, you use this product, because he’s gonna give you XYZ percentage. In essence, we will literally give you like the basic understanding fundamentals of how crypto use Commvault What do you look out for like tokenomics? The hard things that matter that nobody wants to know? And is this consistent message that goes on these Marketo needs this Marketo Nice. Well, that’s
Michael Waitze 54:35
the perfect way to end this conversation Hong Zhuang Lim, did I get it right? The CEO of ShuttleOne perfect. That was awesome. Was that okay? That’s okay. Super duper.
Hong Zhuang Lim 54:43
Thank you very much, Michael. Thank you very much.