Techcrunch has reported that the affordable airline, AirAsia plans to launch an ICO in a bid to lower the operational cost of its business model. The CEO of the Southeast Asia airline, Tony Fernandes, has confirmed that it is looking to build a payment platform that will merge their loyalty program with ICO tokens. Tony Fernandes told TechCrunch on Thursday, March 16, 2018 that the airline has two things; their loyalty card and ‘Big Points’ that accrue in their loyalty reward scheme that they hope to make easily transferrable to the Blockchain. These two will be of importance in the ICO, according to the CEO. The proposed crypto payment platform would make its services cashless.
In the interview with TechCrunch, Fernandes commented on the high rate at which global markets are growing and the need to be innovative. He further said that he liked the ICO idea, and he is driven by the need for every person to purchase his ICO and mitigate risks in the exchange.
Fernandes is one of the most reputable businessmen, and he doesn’t shy away from risks and always tries to incorporate new ideas in business. He is the owner of QPR a football club in England. AirAsia pioneered the low-cost airline model in Southeast Asia where it is alleged that 65 million customers have registered.
With most ICO’s being primarily initiated by smaller companies, if AirAsia does indeed launch an ICO, it will arguably be the first high valued business to take this chance. Apart from this proposed platform payment system, AirAsia is also hoping to get into the financial market. The CEO announced that they would be offering insurance services as well as loans to its consumers, in a bid to empower SMEs and other entrepreneurs. He has, however, not been forthcoming with the total amount the airline hopes to raise with this ICO.
In the recent past, AirAsia is the second major company to announce they are getting into ICO. The first was the messaging app, Telegraph, which has closed on a multi-million dollar initial funding that is estimated will raise funds to the tune of 2 billion dollars.
Many governments across the globe are still investigating the legalities applying to initial coin offerings. In Southeast Asia, there hasn’t’ been any regulations enforced on the Cryptocurrency sphere. However, even if regulations will come in the near future, Fernandes has reiterated that being in the airline business, they are used to strict regulations and will, therefore, be able to deal with the regulators and regulations in the Cryptocurrency sphere.
AirAsia boasts of a 65 million customer base. Through this ICO, Fernandez hopes to expand into the financial market and grow its market share from the sixty-five to a hundred million customers.
Opposition From Governments
Most countries in Asia have had different views in Cryptocurrency trading with varying approaches in jurisdiction applying to it. Countries such as China have been seen to be most intolerant and are setting ever increasing rigid restrictions as compared to its counterparts. China has even gone as far as recently announcing a nationwide ban on Cryptocurrency trading on the Internet and via mobile. In previous months it had kicked out miners, frozen bank accounts that were associated with Cryptocurrency trading platforms. This was after initially banning ICOs.
In contradiction to China, Japan continues to be the most permissive when it comes to Cryptocurrency trading. Being the second largest jurisdiction when it comes to Bitcoin trading, it accounts for up to 37% of the global Bitcoin trading market. This is according to a report from Cryptocompare. Japan is, however, dealing with public backlash about its leniency coming in the wake of a recent hacking attack on Coincheck, Japan’s Cryptocurrency exchange.