In an interview with Gulf Business, Juwan Lee, chairman and group CEO of NexChange Group, shared his insights on the current market trends and how blockchain technology will revolutionize the financial sector in the Middle East.
Speaking regarding the ongoing hype around blockchain technology, Juwan Lee mentioned the fact that the world is moving from centralization to decentralization. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway – thanks to many emerging technologies, like blockchain, that see relatively slow, but progressive adoption, said NexChange chairman and CEO in an interview with Gulf Business.
As per Lee, the pricing structure in the centralized world has become too high, and it’s the reason why a blockchain is a great tool for disruption.
Juwan Lee especially noted the pace of blockchain technology evolving in the Middle East region and its opportunity to flourish here. He emphasized that this region has natural entrepreneurial talent, interest in technology application, and regulatory certainty – “those seeds are already in the rich soil of the Middle East.”
“In my opinion, one of the most important building blocks here are the very progressive regulation efforts shown by UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia,” Lee said. “These countries are forward-thinking and tech-friendly jurisdictions. Central banks actively explore digital currencies, while fintech sandboxes support entrepreneurs from across the ecosystem. And of course, Emirates Blockchain Strategy plays a big role in the state-level blockchain adoption not only in the Middle East but globally, too.”
Regarding the industries, which blockchain will impact the most, NexChange CEO pointed at the supply chains and logistics, healthcare records, vaccine credentials, digital identity, land registry, agriculture, education certificates issuance, and voting.
He also mentioned that blockchain has already revolutionized the financial industry, with all types of digital assets, blockchain-based transactions, decentralized tools, and crypto — and it’s all here to stay. Traditional finance will be moved or digitized.
Also, the topic of the latest trends and developments in decentralized finance (DeFi) was not ignored.
“DeFi has grown tremendously over the last few years: Total Value Locked (TVL) grew by 14 times in 2020 and has more than tripled in 2021. Traditional financial primitives also work in the DeFi space, where protocols mimic financial tools,” Lee said.
Juwan Lee also noted the current trend toward the so-called GameFi, an intersection of DeFi and the gaming industry, where protocols let gamers transfer assets within games, earning a return on their game-based cryptocurrencies.
“DEXs, or decentralized exchanges, also fuel industry growth. On DEXs, crypto owners transact with each other directly, as opposed to centralized platforms,” he added.
Also, NexChange chairman claimed that with the emergence of NFTs, he believes the art world will be somewhat disrupted and probably re-built.
“Use cases that impressed me the most recently are in launch pads, gambling, and NFTs,” he noted. “Even though there is a lot of hype in this segment, NFTs are not going away. We continue to evolve and live in a hybrid world, where new tech has a narrative that keeps on building upon old ones.”
Last month, NexChange, together with Evolution Group and EcoX, co-hosted Gulf Blockchain Week – the event that highlighted the development of the Gulf region as a hub for the blockchain ecosystem with a long-term strategic plan. The event showcased and debated important topics such as crypto regulations, the investment landscape, supply chain management, blockchain case studies in real estate as it pertains to the Gulf, to name a few.
“The Gulf region, particularly Dubai, has been the main beneficiary for the way it has dealt with the pandemic,” Lee concluded. “Most importantly, it allows innovative companies to get the message out to the public.”
Co-hosted by NexChange Group, Evolution Group, and EcoX Dubai, Gulf Blockchain Week 2021 took place in JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The week-long event continues from October 8 to October 15, 2021. The week’s core event, set for October 11-12, is the Gulf Blockchain Summit.