Amber Group’s Resilience in Crypto
In the ever-evolving realm of cryptocurrency, only a few firms have managed to endure multiple market downturns and secure the trust of both institutional and retail investors. The Amber Group proudly stands among this elite group. Established in 2017, Amber Group has proven its resilience in the turbulent seas of the crypto world. At the forefront of many strategic decisions is Annabelle Huang, a prominent figure in the blockchain space. With a background spanning traditional finance to decentralized platforms, she offers a unique perspective. We had the privilege to sit down with Annabelle and delve into Amber Group’s journey, its vision for the future, and her profound insights into the dynamic crypto landscape.
The Fintech Week Connection
This interview is part of a series of discussions with speakers participating in Hong Kong FinTech Week 2023 (HKFW). Running from October 30 to November 5, this eighth edition of HKFW is themed “Fintech Redefine” and aims to shape the future of financial technology across various dimensions of financial services and beyond.
1. The Path to Blockchain and Crypto
Direct Quote: “What drew me to cryptocurrency was the potential it had to revolutionize our financial system by disrupting long-standing intermediary roles and establishing trust through decentralized networks.”
After a journey through conventional finance, including roles at Deutsche Bank and Nomura, Annabelle found herself captivated by the potential of blockchain technologies. Her attraction to cryptocurrency lay in its capacity to transform the financial landscape by eliminating entrenched intermediaries and instilling trust through decentralized networks.
2. Amber Group’s Evolution
Direct Quote: “The evolution of Amber Group from a cryptocurrency trading company to a comprehensive service provider is a testament to our commitment to innovation, adaptability, and meeting the evolving demands of the crypto space.”
Amber Group commenced its journey in 2017, focusing initially on serving institutional clients with comprehensive trading and financial services. The company evolved over time to address the diverse needs of various investor profiles. Digitizing and platforming services with WhaleFin, an all-in-one mobile application, enabled Amber Group to expand its accessibility. Furthermore, the group ventured into fund and research projects, fostering early-stage projects and nurturing new crypto technologies. Today, Amber Group offers a wide range of services, catering to diverse user requirements.
3. Empowering Women and Underrepresented Groups in Finance
Direct Quote: “Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have huge potential to empower women and underrepresented groups through greater access, control, and opportunities.”
The decentralized and neutral nature of blockchain and cryptocurrencies opens doors to financial inclusion. Many women worldwide, who lack basic banking services, can benefit from the financial accessibility and security that cryptocurrencies offer. Additionally, crypto enables direct payment and financial management, reducing dependence on intermediaries. Annabelle envisions future collaboration with activists and organizations to empower marginalized communities through education, skills development, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
4. Exciting Trends for Amber Group
Direct Quote: “Staking products… Moving forward, we aim to evaluate promising new staking solutions that leverage emerging technologies to further our mission.”
Staking products are at the forefront of Amber Group’s interests. Collaborating with platforms like RockX’s Bedrock, they intend to reshape institutional engagement with digital assets and enhance compliance and transparency. The emergence of innovative features like Distributed Validator Technology and Permissionless Exit is on the horizon. Amber Group’s mission is to empower more institutions with secure, accessible products across the blockchain ecosystem.
5. Enhancing Cybersecurity in Crypto
Direct Quote: “It is imperative, now more than ever, for the community to come together to support and protect each other to ward off these unwarranted threats and attacks to further secure the blockchain.”
Both regulators and crypto firms are committed to safeguarding client funds from cyber threats. Establishing clear and comprehensive guidelines for asset protection is essential on the regulatory side. Implementing stringent security practices, conducting regular security audits, and educating customers about risk management are critical for crypto firms. Collaborative efforts are essential to secure the blockchain ecosystem.
6. Ethereum’s Downward Trend
Direct Quote: “The downward price movement of ETH has primarily been driven by the macro market.”
ETH’s price decline is influenced by macroeconomic factors and its correlation with major assets like BTC. Updates to the Ethereum network, such as the shift to proof-of-stake and new staking products, have also played a role in its performance.
7. Impact of the VATP Framework
Direct Quote: “Amber Group has been preparing proactively to meet the VATP’s high standards, recognizing regulatory adherence is critical for maintaining user trust.”
The Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) framework will bring significant changes to digital asset firms in Hong Kong. Amber Group is actively preparing to meet the high standards set by the VATP regime. Compliance with asset segregation, liquidity, controls, and AML requirements may necessitate substantial operational adjustments.
8. Thriving Digital Asset Market in Hong Kong
Direct Quote: “In my view, Hong Kong’s digital asset market is thriving and solidifying its position as a leading Asian crypto hub.”
Hong Kong’s digital asset market is flourishing and establishing itself as a prominent Asian crypto hub. The region has embraced comprehensive yet innovation-friendly regulation and boasts strengths in capital markets, talent, and start-ups. The landscape is attractive for crypto businesses and well-positioned to capture regional demand.
9. Understanding the Asian Crypto Market
Direct Quote: “The West misses or underappreciates about crypto in Asia: retail adoption rates, regulatory collaboration, and innovation hubs.”
The West often overlooks several facets of the Asian crypto market, including high retail adoption rates, cooperative regulatory approaches, and thriving innovation hubs. The crypto landscape in Asia is characterized by strong grassroots adoption, collaborative regulatory efforts, and an environment where East and West unite to advance blockchain technology.
10. Navigating a Mild Bear Market
Direct Quote: “As more geopolitical uncertainty unravels and economic uncertainty still affects the economic recovery in the US & China, liquidity may return to the crypto market quicker than expected.”
In the midst of a relatively mild bear market, the crypto community is keeping a watchful eye on market conditions. While treasury returns have overshadowed risk assets, the possibility of liquidity returning to the crypto market remains high. Geopolitical and economic uncertainties may prompt a faster return of liquidity than anticipated.