Established in May 2016, live streaming platform Uplive has launched its own cryptocurrency, GiFTO, a blockchain technology-based token used to reward its program hosts. The token has been available for sale since Dec. 14.
Andy Tian, co-founder and chief executive officer of Asia Innovations Group, offers his views on cryptocurrency and the fan economy in an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal’s StartUpBeat.
Here are excerpts from that interview:
HKEJ: Can you give us a brief introduction to the Uplive platform?
Tian: Uplive is an international live stream platform, with many of its users coming from various places such as the Middle East and Japan. Hong Kong is one of its major markets. The platform was launched just over a year ago, but the number of its registered local users has already reached about 1 million. There are about 60,000 active channels on this platform.
Quite a number of its hosts are influencers, who have plenty of fans providing support on social media networks including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. These hosts receive virtual gifts from their fans, and these rewards are coursed directly only through our platform.
HKEJ: What is a fan economy?
Tian: This is a novel term from Asia. It refers to a business model that allows fans to pay directly to root for their idols, who no longer rely just on their films and CD albums to make money. Fan economy can serve as an element in a community’s long-term economic development.
Fan economy can also work for ordinary people by offering them a chance to showcase their own talent. For example, a nurse who works in a clinic during daytime can transform into a singer, designer or travel expert, thus unveiling another genuine side of the self on social media.
HKEJ: Was GiFTO launched by your platform as a cryptocurrency just like bitcoin?
Tian: Cryptocurrency has potential, as it can be used across different regions, thus offering much convenience to corporations around the world.
As a cryptocurrency, GiFTO functions like a smart contract, acting as a medium between the platform and a host.
HKEJ: Some people say the current surge in demand for cryptocurrency is a type of bubble. Is it a good time to develop it now?
Tian: Blockchain technology has been available for a few years. If you find that there is a need, just go ahead and develop it. Bear in mind that you don’t just develop a technology for the sake of developing it. Instead of blindly following the trend, try to figure out what problems it can solve.
Someone asked me whether the current strong demand for cryptocurrency is a bubble. I agree with those who say yes. But a bubble can happen in any technology, including artificial intelligence and the internet. I think a bubble is very normal, as only genuine technology carries enormous value.
HKEJ: What expectations do you have for GiFTO?
Tian: Launched on Dec. 14, GiFTO will be formally in use from January next year.
Apart from our own platform, our hosts have many supporters, estimated to be about 50 million, who haven’t joined Uplive. If these supporters joined us, it would benefit the ecosystem of the Uplive platform, which is a good reason for Uplive to start developing its own cryptocurrency.
Note: The views expressed in this interview are personal opinions of the industry professional and do not necessarily reflect those of HKEJ.
The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 15
Translation by Jonathan Chong
[Chinese version 中文版]
For a complete video of the interview, please visit http://startupbeat.hkej.com/?p=53647
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