Interview: Web3 is crumbling, but what is it like to be leading a company in this market?

I have written plenty about my doubts surrounding the value within web3 and the metaverse, and the hype around the space. 

While some disagree with this, there is no doubt that the last year or so has been very tough on the space at large. Scandals such as LUNA’s death spiral and Celsius’ collapse last summer served to crater the cryptocurrency market as a whole. And that is without even mentioning FTX’s demise. 

But activity continues within in the space. To get an insight into how founders remain defiant and determined to plough ahead, we interviewed CEO of web3 company VUCA Digital, Pan Lorattawut. 

Invezz (IZ): Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

Pan Lorattawut (PL): My name is Pan Lorattawut, and I serve as CEO of VUCA Digital, which powers the CROWN Token Project. I got involved with VUCA when I joined its parent company, T&B Media Global, in 2019. 

My background is in financial services – I was formerly at a full-service investment consulting and advisory firm – and so I oversee VUCA’s investments, digital assets, strategy, and business development. My work in trad-fi and fintech has drawn me naturally into the orbit of DeFi and Web3.

IZ: In your experience, how have views of the metaverse/web3 space changed over the past year?

PL: Some institutions have pointed to the problems the Web3 space has experienced in the past year as a reason not to trust it or to consider it a scam. But a lot of individual users and prospective customers are still very interested in the blockchain, the metaverse, and cryptocurrency, and new adopters are coming into the space every day. 

People believe in the potential of the virtual world and how it will impact our lives and our businesses. Some might be reluctant to be the first adopter but do not want to be left behind. The question now is not ‘is this a real thing?’ but ‘how are we going to adopt this technology in our business model?’ and ‘will widespread adoption come sooner than we originally thought?’

IZ: Is it a challenge to innovate in a tough macroeconomic environment?

PL: It’s actually no more of a challenge than in more prosperous times. Either way, as an entrepreneur you have to be tenacious, have an original idea that stands out from the competition, and know how to connect with the right people. 

There may be less funding available than in a more optimistic market, but you would still be competing for those resources either way. A tough market is a time for a company to build, develop, and assess the way its capital is managed.

IZ: How will a bear market affect the crypto industry going forward?

PL: Crypto is in its boom-and-bust cycle. As more misconduct is exposed and the market reaches a low point, prices will bottom out. Investors should then be able to better separate good projects and platforms with fundamentals and credibility from the weaker ones. 

On a wider scale, a bear market affects people’s confidence in cryptocurrencies. They think an asset whose value fluctuates dramatically is too volatile to be viable in the long term and to build into the economy. 

What we’re learning is that we have to employ these currencies and assets in the right way at the right time. Figuring out what industries to incorporate them into, and which demographics to appeal to, will ensure the long-term credibility and stability of crypto whether the market is bear or bull.

IZ: What is the general attitude toward crypto in Asia?

PL: Crypto is widely adopted in Asia and is still growing. The large youth population is a tech-native, tech-savvy group, very open to trying new things. The older generations are also becoming more open-minded and willing to experiment with crypto and digital assets. 

In the beginning, the speculative aspect dominated the market. And even after a couple of storms, crypto is still here, entrepreneurs are still developing projects, and VCs are still investing in them. The view toward crypto is now more about its real business and growth opportunities.

Web3 projects in Asia are driven by demand from end users and various business sectors – financial services, entertainment, healthcare, retail, and e-commerce, for example. These are fast-growing industries that also seek to use blockchain technology in their business. 

The distribution of power, participation of the community, greater utility, and rewards and benefits are all attributes that support the growth of the Web3 industry.