Tezos in Asia: Getting to Know TZ APAC

The Tezos ecosystem has made significant inroads in APAC by building important relationships, forging partnerships, and providing much needed grassroots support to those looking to realize their creative vision with blockchain technology.

Originally published at Tezos Commons News

By Stu Elmes


1,700 words, 9 minute read

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According to the Chainalysis Global Crypto Adoption Index, 4 of the top 10 countries in the world for grassroots cryptocurrency adoption (meaning where the most people are putting the biggest share of their money into cryptocurrency) in 2022 are located in the Asia Pacific region.

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2022 Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index — Chainalysis

In recent years, Asia-Pacific has emerged as a hotbed of blockchain innovation, entrepreneurship, and activity. Nowhere is this important truth more apparent than right here in the Tezos Ecosystem.

The Tezos ecosystem has made significant inroads in the APAC region of late, building important relationships, forging partnerships, and providing much needed grassroots support to those looking to realize their creative vision with blockchain technology. The organization leading the Tezos charge in the Asia Pacific region is TZ APAC.

TZ APAC was established to support and develop blockchain strategies for businesses and creators in the Asia-Pacific region. Supported by the Tezos Foundation, its goal is to grow and drive support for the Tezos ecosystem in Asia by deploying capital, aiding resource development, providing strategic advice, managing projects, and providing marketing assistance for those in the growing Tezos community in the region.

Tezos’ technological advantages — low gas fees, effective on-chain governance model, industry-leading ecological footprint, and adaptable self-amending chain — make it an appealing option for those in APAC region looking to bootstrap new blockchain-based projects. TZ APAC has taken a long-term approach to building out Tezos’ presence in the region, supporting projects and the teams behind them from the earliest stages. Such an approach could pay dividends for the Tezos ecosystem and its presence in APAC moving forward. Establishing such relationships and bringing new builders into the Tezos community/ecosystem has long been an important goal for this community and its backers, and it stands to reason that taking the same approach in APAC is an effective approach.

With all indicators point towards Asia-Pacific being a major player in the blockchain industry, anyone paying attention has to believe that Asia Pacific region will play an important role in the evolving future of blockchain technology and its applications. TZ APAC’s efforts to move Tezos’ presence forward in Asia-Pacific will be crucial to the ongoing success of the Tezos ecosystem in the months ahead. That’s why I thought it would be worthwhile to sit down with one of TZ APAC’s key players to learn more about this important organization and what it’s doing to forward the Tezos cause in APAC in 2023 and beyond.

So, that’s exactly what I did…

A Chat with Ivan Larin, Growth Executive, TZ APAC #

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How did you become involved with TZ APAC?

I was interested in entering the world of blockchain and wanted to do something that is community-related. I saw an alignment between how I want to work with communities and how the TZ APAC team approaches developers, creators and enterprises in the region so I decided to give it a shot. The rest is history.

Why is the Asia-Pacific Region such a fertile ground for blockchain innovation, in your opinion?

Almost half of the cryptocurrency trading occurs on exchanges in Asia, making the region a fertile ground for blockchain adoption. It is also home to some of the largest global companies and the fastest-growing blockchain market in the world. Various institutions, including governments, are fueling digital transformation across Asia. For instance, In Indonesia, which is considered to have the most complicated election process in the world with 193 million people spread over 17,000 islands, blockchain technology has successfully improved the transparency and integrity of election results. Vietnam is transforming Ho Chi Minh City into a smart city by using blockchain technology to mitigate risk and streamline processes.

There are also a lot of talents in the region. Earlier this year, we had our first landmark NFT exhibition at Art Basel Hong Kong , where we achieved 50% Asian artist representation at the exhibition. When it comes to developers, we have seen over 10,000 sign-ups in our recent TezAsia Hackathon, a hackathon program that we launched in collaboration with Tezos India. This is a testament to the talent in the region, making it such a fertile ground for blockchain innovation.

What unique regional challenges do those building in the blockchain space have to contend with in the region you’re focused on — South East Asia?

The difference in languages in Southeast Asia (SEA) is definitely a challenge. You need to bridge this gap by providing resources that the developers can understand. Moreover, each country in SEA is unique in terms of culture and the way they utilize and see the blockchain space. These are the nuances that one needs to understand when working with developers and builders in the region.

Also, it is important to find someone on the ground who understands the community and local landscape very well and shares the same objective as yours. This will allow you to create the right programs and activations that work, and community movements that are beneficial to the Tezos ecosystem.

What is TZ APAC doing to help builders and developers overcome these challenges in 2022?

The TZ APAC team has dedicated community managers in China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand that look after builders and developers in their respective countries. We engage them to assist in translating content materials that can be used to learn about the Tezos ecosystem and how to build on the Tezos blockchain.

Our team, together with our community managers, constantly create spaces where builders and developers can ask questions and share their ideas. By constantly listening to the sentiments and ideas on the ground, we are able to supply our community members with the support that they need, such as technical expertise and materials, grants, marketing support, and mentorship.

TZ APAC has already supported a lot of talented teams in Southeast Asia to realize their Tezos-powered visions. What can you tell us about how these relationships begin, and how they evolve over the course of a project’s development?

Our team believes in doing a bottom-up approach when it comes to our communities — we go where our community goes. We do this by constantly listening and talking to the people on the ground. Most of the projects that we work with are people that we encounter during our activations, such as community meetups, hackathons and NFT art exhibitions.

For instance, Find Truman, a gameplay co-creation platform that won the 2022 Fall Wanxiang Hackathon under the Tezos track, is also a participant in our ongoing EGG Web3 Incubator program, which aims to nurture APAC’s next generation of Web3 entrepreneurs. By nurturing relationships with our builders and developers in the community, we are able to go through them in their Web3 journey. This is the case for all of our hackathon events, such as TezAsia, where we foster relationships with participants and assist them in maximizing the potential of their ideas and projects.

What kinds of support can TZ APAC offer to those in the Asia Pacific region who are interested in building a project with Tezos, and how can folks who want to access those supports do so?

We recently launched TZ APAC’s EGG Web3 Incubator, which seeks to nurture APAC’s next generation of Web3 entrepreneurs focusing on gaming/GameFi, Defi, NFTs, SaaS/Tooling and enterprise blockchain applications. Builders and developers get the chance to be mentored by Web3 leaders, pitch their ideas to leading investors and understand how they can launch a successful go-to-market strategy.

We also conduct hackathons all over Asia. For instance, the TezAsia hackathon, which was done in collaboration with Tezos India, was organised to act as a launchpad for start-up teams and developers looking to build game-changing web3 solutions on the Tezos blockchain. This is the largest Tezos hackathon in Asia, with over 11,000 sign-ups.

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We also work with universities and communities to conduct developer workshops. Recently, our team flew to the Philippines to conduct a workshop on how to build smart contracts and gave an introduction to the Tezos blockchain. We also engage university students here in Singapore to talk about the Tezos blockchain and provide them with opportunities to work in the Web3 environment.

What’s next for TZ APAC? Any exciting events or announcements in the works?

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There are a lot of exciting things to look forward to. We just had our Demo Day, where the first batch of the TZ APAC EGG Web3 Incubator Program presented their pitch to some of the industry’s top mentors and investors. These investors will then make their assessment — of the project’s quality and potential, business strategy, and even the founders themselves. Investors included high-profile figures from esteemed organizations like Newman Capital, Draper Startup House, Amber Group, and Samadhi Ventures. We look forward to having these projects make their name in the Tezos ecosystem. And that doesn’t stop there. Right now, we are already working on looking at projects for our second batch of incubatees, to continue supporting projects and builders in the Tezos ecosystem.

For art, we have S.E.A. Focus 2023, a showcase that aims to bring the finest contemporary artists and galleries from Southeast Asia. TZ APAC will be presenting a specially curated Asia-centric NFT and digital art showcase within S.E.A. Focus. Various programmes are also lined-up to grow and empower the developer communities in the region. We are interested in educating and supporting builders in the region and are excited to see more projects built on the Tezos blockchain.

With the Asia Pacific region poised to maintain an important presence in the blockchain-powered digital future to come, positioning Tezos as a key player in Asia’s thriving Blockchain industry and community will be an increasingly important priority moving forward. With folks like Ivan Larin and the amazing team at TZ APAC leading the way, Tezos’ prospects for establishing itself as a key player in Asia Pacific’s transition toward a blockchain-driven Web 3.0 future appears to be in very safe hands indeed.