Major Discount Airline AirAsia Mulls ICO
AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes plans to develop a proprietary cryptocurrency that would replace the current “Big Loyalty” rewards program which would serve as a native currency on the firm’s nascent financial services platform.
“We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, [and] we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely. We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency; there’s no point having a currency that can’t be used. The world is changing so fast but I think we can innovate and think quickly on these things but the ideas are based on our data and based on our ecosystem.”
AirAsia currently having about 65 million customers believes that extending its financial services will allow it to gather the 100 million customer mark. The company also intends to offer loans and insurance services for small business owners in addition to “cashless cabins.”
Fernandes said that expanding this funding through ICO would mitigate the risks and the costs that AirAsia faces as it begins the new service.
“I like [the idea of an ICO] because it just takes cost out of my system. So I’m driven, not by trying to take over the world, but in the first instance, everyone buys in my ICO, and I take out a lot of exchange risk, I take out a lot of settlement risk, etc., etc. So there are many ways of how we are looking at it.”
AirAsia is one among the latest establishment firms to consider launching their own cryptocurrencies.
Japanese e-commerce and tech conglomerate Rakuten also announced that it would launch its own cryptocurrency to replace the current program even though the company has not said whether it will hold an ICO.
The telegram also reportedly collected more than $850 million to build a blockchain ecosystem and may target as much as $2 billion.