Mr Yat SIU - Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Animoca Brands
The Innostars Award 2021 winner：
“Animoca Brands is in a unique position where it is not just riding the trend, it is shaping it.”
Mr Yat SIU
Yat Siu and Animoca Brands are at the forefront of the blockchain and NFT gaming world, working to develop the open metaverse. Since Yat founded the company in 2014, he has turned it into a global leader in blockchain and gamification. Having created hugely successful gaming platforms such as The Sandbox, REVV Racing, Arc8, and Crazy Defense Heroes, the company also holds a growing portfolio of more than 150 investments in various blockchain metaverse companies.
In early 2021, Animoca Brands became Hong Kong’s ninth unicorn after raising nearly USD 140 million at a valuation of USD1 billion. Then, by October 2021, its valuation had more than doubled to USD2.2 billion.
Impactful Business Ventures with a Purpose
Yat is a tech-savvy enthusiast who is no stranger to radical business ventures. When he was in his early 20s during the 1990s, he established Hong Kong Cybercity, the first Asian free webpage and email provider; and started Hong Kong Online, one of the city’s first Internet service providers. In 1998, he launched Outblaze, an award-winning pioneer of multilingual white-label web services provider that was reported to have serviced over 75 million users globally at its peak.
Yat’s entrepreneurial accomplishments have been well recognised with numerous awards and accolades. He was named a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” as well as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, and a “Top 100 Notable People in Blockchain in 2021” by CoinTelegraph.
Bringing Digital Ownership to All
Growing up in Vienna, Austria, Yat used to study music, but soon found out that his preferred outlet for creativity was technology. Teaching himself to code on programmable calculators and home computers in the 1980s, he developed a passion for computing. As a high school student, he distributed his own shareware programmes that attracted the interest of video game and computing giant, Atari, from whom he received a job offer.
In 2017, he began to immerse himself in NFT and blockchain, since he recognised that NFT can enable true ownership—something that was previously unavailable in the digital world. He also envisioned the rise of the open metaverse—a new, inclusive, more equitable virtual society that fairly rewards participation. Yat endeavours to become one of the builders of this grand project, and has pivoted his entire business to pursue this new goal.
Yat’s trailblazing digital vision and his quest for digital equity have become more accessible and familiar to the world nowadays. In fact, in 2018 his vision on NFT as the atomic unit of ownable assets was something that many people did not imagine before. Yat firmly believes that people should own their digital assets, including virtual items and especially the data that people generate online. As he explained: “Data is the most valuable resource of all. In the digital world today, virtual assets are not owned by us. In the long term, you cannot innovate or create as you cannot benefit fully from your creations if you lack ownership.”