Even before the company was founded in December 2019, Finetoken participated in the Singapore Fintech Festival in November. “Our presence at the Swiss Pavilion also enabled us to test the Asian market,” says Richard F. Zbinden, Co-Founder, Member of the Board of Directors and CTO of Finetoken. “We were able to discuss our business idea – digitizing physical gold using blockchain technology and offering it in new target markets – with potential customers and partners and draw the necessary conclusions in order to optimally align the product with customer needs in the Asian market.”
Digitizing physical gold as tokens
Many investors invest in gold as a strategic hedge against the major systemic risks of the fragile monetary and financial system. However, due to the minimum stake, the gold purchasing modalities and the costs and location of storage, this solution is reserved for wealthy investors. With Finegoldtoken, any investor can invest in physical gold. Finegoldtokens serve as warehouse receipts for the deposited gold, which was produced in a Swiss smeltery to the highest purity level of 999.9. The gold is stored in vaults in a high security repository in the Swiss Alps. “Our company is democratizing access to high-security storage of valuable commodities such as gold,” explains Richard F. Zbinden. “At the same time, we're enabling our customers to use these goods globally as a medium of exchange.”
As a Liechtenstein start-up, the support of Switzerland Global Enterprise enabled us to test the Asian market in good time.
Networking in Singapore
The Singapore Fintech Festival was a great opportunity for Finetoken to network and gain industry knowledge. The festival attracts an international audience of fintech pioneers, start-ups, global companies and investors. The location is ideal as Singapore has become a hotspot for fintech and blockchain technology. The Swiss Pavilion, jointly provided by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) and the Swiss Business Hub ASEAN, offers Swiss and Liechtenstein companies an ideal platform and an effective framework for convincingly presenting their innovative products. “The increased visibility provided by the Swiss Pavilion was extremely valuable for us,” says Richard F. Zbinden. “Thanks to this joint appearance, we were able to welcome many visitors and engage in discussions with them – despite the countless other stands at the festival.”
Valuable support from S-GE
“S-GE supports exhibitors and coordinates the entire process, from the preparation up to and including on-site implementation,” says Richard F. Zbinden. “S-GE has succeeded in bundling many of the key providers of financial innovations in Singapore. In this way, we were able to test the Asian market in only a short time and at manageable cost and showcase the innovative strength of Liechtenstein and Swiss companies.” The event was complemented with visits from H.S.H. Prince Max von und zu Liechtenstein and the Swiss Ambassador Fabrice Filliez.
The challenge of internationalization
Finetoken is not just interested in Asia. Basically, all markets are of interest to the company. However, as a start-up, Finetoken is forced to combine its strengths and tackle the most promising markets first. Asia's affinity for gold and innovative technology means it is particularly attractive in this regard. The biggest challenge for Finetoken is to make its services available globally, while fully respecting local regulations in the different markets. Another hurdle is adoption in the market. As the “mother” of the so-called token economy, blockchain is still in its infancy and it will no doubt take several years, if not decades, before this technology becomes established. Whether or not it is adopted in the market depends heavily on how easy it is to acquire, own, manage, and resell tokens.