Telcoin, a new cryptocurrency startup based in Singapore that promotes financial inclusion through telecom has secured an undisclosed investment from East Ventures Managing Partner and Mixi’s co-founder Batara Eto.
Batara Eto is the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Japan’s first social networking platform Mixi, a predecessor of Facebook which was often regarded as the localized version of MySpace. The startup later moved on to mobile gaming, and was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2006.
In 2009, Eto co-founded East Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm with a focus on consumer internet, mobile, and SaaS startup. To date, it has invested in more than 150 seed and early-stage startups across Asia, including Mercari, Tokopedia, and Traveloka.
Apart from this direct investment in Telcoin, Eto will also invest in Telcoin’s initial coin offering (ICO), which will be held on 30 October 2017.
“There are a lot of ICOs getting funded these days, but Telcoin strikes us as being one of the few to provide a realistic business case,” said Batara. “They have a solid team working on something that can transform people’s lives.”
Despite being based in Singapore, Telcoin has a diverse team operating out of Tokyo, Japan. Its cryptocurrency, Telcoin is based on the popular Ethereum blockchain. It will be issued to national telecom operators and sold to subscribers, allowing it to be used by anyone – including the underbanked.
Telcoin’s co-founder and CEO Claude Eguienta said, “We have the wild ambition to bring financial inclusion to billions of people, and with the unique experience of a successful founder and investor, Batara will clearly add value to Telcoin.”
Telcoin’s inception comes from the disparity between the access to financial services versus access to telecom services. According to the World Bank, only 1.2 billion people have a bank account with payment capabilities, while GSMA data estimates that there is an increasing 5 billion unique mobile phone subscribers.
Through forging partnerships with telecom operators, Telcoin can enable mobile operators to enter the financial space and extend financial inclusion to those who do not have an access to the bank. It will be easily accessible and spend as existing mobile money.
The telcoin will also be protected by a net of telecom security and compliance. The team envisions it as to complement existing mobile money, and in the future, a mainstream driver of cryptocurrency adoption at large.