AirAsia is contemplating an ICO: report
The budget airline is in the process of “building a payment platform” to house its own cryptocurrency.
Low-cost carrier AirAsia is considering entering the cryptocurrency space through the launch of an initial coin offering (ICO) which would become part of the Southeast Asian airline’s BIG Loyalty frequent flyer program.
In an interview with TechCrunch during the Money2020 conference in Singapore this week, AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said that the company is exploring the idea of developing its own ICO and how a potential cryptocurrency could be applied to an innovative distributed ledger technology (DLT) “ecosystem”.
Fernandes explained that the budget airline’s BIG Loyalty frequent flyer program currently rewards customers with redeemable BIG Points and that he believes “those Big Points can be easily transferred to the blockchain”.
He also revealed that the airline is in the process of “building a payment platform” to house a cryptocurrency.
“We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency, there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used,” Fernandes added.
ICOs have been the overwhelming success story of the last year. Coin offerings generated more than $6 billion in startup capital throughout 2017, particularly in Southeast Asia, where AirAsia maintains its headquarters.
For example, in February, instant messaging service Telegram managed to raise $850 million in “purchase agreements for cryptocurrency” as part of a pre-sale funding round to develop its TON blockchain network. Telegram aims to raise an additional $1.15 billion as part of its public ICO, according to Bloomberg sources.
“I like [the idea of an ICO] because it just takes cost out of my system,” Fernandes said. “So I’m driven, not by trying to take over the world, but in the first instance, everyone buys in my ICO and I take out a lot of exchange risk, I take out a lot of settlement risk, etc. So there are many ways of how we are looking at it.”
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton recently bolstered the regulator’s message to potential digital currency traders on the risks and regulations involved with ICOs. Clayton said that the SEC is currently examining several ICOs to ensure they aren’t violating securities laws. “Abide by the law. We’re watching, others are watching,” Clayton warned ICO organizers.
Last week, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a cease and desist order against Bitcoiin, otherwise known as Bitcoiin2Gen (B2G). The Steven Seagal-backed cryptocurrency is seeking financing as part of its ICO.
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