Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map 21H1: a Pivotal Moment towards Mass Adoption

Original file for download: Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2021

Jack An, Analyst (安良方 / 分析師)

Jack is an Analyst covering AppWorks Accelerator. Before joining the team, he was a co-founder and early team member at two InsurTech startups, where he developed a passion in user experience and product development. Previous to his startup journey he worked as a commercial property underwriter at Chubb Insurance in New Zealand. Jack graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Waikato University where he studied classical piano. He loves to cook, read and is a practicing stoic.

During the first half of 2021, public interest in blockchain reached an all-time high. Towards the end of last year, we saw an upswing in the number of organizations and enterprises buying and holding cryptocurrencies, causing the price of Bitcoin to cross US$60,000 for the very first time in March. Talk of crypto quickly made its way into dinner table conversations, and it seemed as if everybody on the block was eager to dive into the world of blockchain.

For those that have been in crypto for a while, this bull run finally let them exit many of their alt-coin investments from the 2017 ICO wave, as the wider market price sentiment rallied alongside the mainstream coins to reach an all time high. The other worthwhile trend over the past six months has been the mainstream adoption of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), a technology that provides true ownership capabilities and authenticity over digital assets. We saw hoards of multinational brands, intellectual property owners, celebrities, and individual creators quickly embrace this new technology and flock to various platforms to either buy NFTs or mint some of their own. 

It’s certainly been an exciting ride since AppWorks Accelerator started publishing Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map two years ago. In line with previous editions, we’ve observed several notable trends that have defined the blockchain industry this past half year. 

1. Branded drops accelerated end-user adoption of NFTs

The NFT standard was formulated in 2017, so why did it only catch on this past year? It really came down to two key driving forces. First, mainstream brands and IPs started employing NFTs as a vehicle to interact with their fans, such as the NBA through NBA Topshot, Taco Bell, and even the band Kings of Leon. By creating a virtual experience through NFTs, brands were able to engage and create a unique bond with their loyal fans despite physical restrictions under COVID-19, allowing them to also generate alternative revenue streams from the sales of NFTs.

Second, NFTs are becoming an alternative asset class for yield-driven crypto holders and investors. During the ICO era in 2017, most developers and investors were either busy issuing coins or trying to find the next cryptocurrency with hundred-fold growth potential; it wasn’t long until this model became monotonous and out of fashion. Fast forward to 2021, decentralized finance (DeFi) hit a US$100B market cap and drove crypto prices to all-time highs. As NFTs started emerging, crypto holders were naturally drawn to their consumer appeal and accretive potential, propelling NFTs into the limelight for mass adoption. Much of this adoption is supported by advancements in the underlying infrastructure, including a growing ecosystem of protocols, marketplaces, games, developers, creators, and of course, buyers. 

Evidently, a lot of moving parts have come together in the last few years to catapult NFTs into stardom. In Taiwan, the NFT landscape has also evolved significantly compared to the second half of 2020. For example, Lootex, an alumnus of AW#20, and Oursong, a subsidiary of KKBox, both established NFT products long before the recent bull run. All the effort they put in during previous cycles are now bearing fruit, with both companies receiving an influx of new partnerships and commercial opportunities. During this time, we also saw a proliferation of new NFT players, such as JCard and Fansi, effectively creating a diverse selection of platforms for creators to choose from.

With Beeple’s First 5000 Days selling for US$69 million, celebrity engagement, and primetime media including even SNL releasing NFT coverage, all the major signs of a bubble were there. And surely enough, monthly transaction volume experienced a significant decline of 90% shortly after its record high in May. Nevertheless, as witnessed with previous blockchain hype cycles, where there is money, there will be talent, and where there is talent, there will be development. Ultimately, NFTs are still in the early innings, and while collectibles have served as the primary use case so far, this new technology will eventually extend across any product, service, or application that needs to use a digital ID. 

2. Taiwan’s regulation catching up to the world 

Up to recently in Taiwan, the laws and regulations related to cryptocurrency have been very vague. And for those trying to stay compliant, they could only follow the existing but outdated mandate, or hope for the best by following foreign regulations. This was changed in April this year, as the Executive Yuan aligned their stance with the rest of the world by implementing strict AML/KYC requirements when dealing with cryptocurrencies. 

Existing players like MaiCoin—the primary fiat-to-crypto exchange in Taiwan—faced minimal impact as stern KYC controls were already in place. However, teams working on DeFi, lending, and investing may face greater obstacles, as it is challenging to design a user experience in a decentralized manner that complies with regulations while still adhering to the spirit of decentralization—a faux pas that many blockchain founders and evangelists are becoming increasingly critical of. Going forward, we expect decision makers to implement more comprehensive and tailored regulations for DeFi to prevent bad actors from gaming the system and taking advantage of everyday consumers; this will ultimately encourage more users and wider adoption, benefitting the ecosystem as a whole. 

3. Influx of funding and talent set to accelerate development

With the price of bitcoin hitting an all-time high in H1 2021, investors around the world are taking note of the industry’s activities. For example, in May this year, DApp Pocket (AW#19) announced that they had been acquired by Turn Capital, a family office run by 17LIVE co-founder Joseph Phua. It also merged its two products, DApp Pocket & Cappuu, into Coinomo, with the aim of bringing crypto to mainstream users in Southeast Asia. 

At the same time, another blockchain wallet developer in Taiwan Portto (AW#19, AppWorks is an investor), whose product Blocto serves as one of the earliest wallets supporting Flow and the largest delegated node by user count to stake Flow tokens, recently announced the completion of a US$8.8 million fundraising round. Primary investors include top blockchain VCs from Silicon Valley and Taiwan, as well as participation from a notable crypto exchange, public chain foundations, NBA players, and well-known American entrepreneurs, among others. 

Despite a significant price correction in cryptocurrencies since May, the momentum that has been brewing over the past six months will likely pay off in the second half of the year, whether through DeFi, NFT, or blockchain applications at both the consumer and enterprise level. We’ve also started to observe more international companies such as Animoca Brands (AppWorks is an investor) enter Taiwan to recruit top-tier blockchain talent, which is expected to further accelerate the development of the country’s blockchain ecosystem. 

Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2021 is created by AppWorks, Co-produced by Blockchain Media – Blockcast (AW#14), BlockTempo (AW#16), Zombit (AW#21). This map is updated every six months, if you have any comments or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact us at a@appworks.tw.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI, Blockchain, and NFT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map 21H1: Deepening Synergies between Startups and Corporates

Original file for download: Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021

Natalie Lin, Analyst (林楓 / 分析師)

Natalie is an Analyst covering AppWorks Accelerator and Greater Southeast Asia. Before joining the team, she worked in the search engine marketing and email marketing teams at Zappos, America’s leading shoes and fashion online retailer, where she primarily focused on KPI management, campaign optimization, and project management. Born in Canada and raised in the Middle East, Natalie returned to Taiwan for high school before moving to the US for college and work. She received her Bachelors of Marketing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Outside of work she likes to read, travel, and play video games.

The world has been living with the pandemic for over a year now. Although vaccinations are already underway worldwide, many dramatic changes that businesses have adopted during Covid-19 are irreversible. Both startups and corporates have increasingly turned to AI, cloud, and digital transformation to streamline operations and survive under the new normal, permanently altering the way we do business.

During the first half of 2021, the Taiwanese AI ecosystem reached a significant milestone with Appier’s public listing in Japan, becoming the first Taiwanese startup to officially achieve unicorn status. Additionally, AI chip startup Kneron received funding and resources from major electronics manufacturers Hon Hai and Winbond at the beginning of the year, signaling a continuing demand for increasingly higher-efficiency computing capabilities from major technology companies. 

AppWorks Accelerator has updated Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021 with our learnings over the past six months. With the breakneck pace of digital adoption, some applications are no longer limited to a specific industry and have thus been reclassified as cross-industry solutions or technologies, which we believe is more reflective of the AI ecosystem in Taiwan. In reviewing the changes in the overall ecosystem, we have observed several notable trends for the first half of 2021:

New perspectives and opportunities in AI

According to Hive Ventures’ AI report for Taiwanese enterprises released in the first quarter of 2021, 25% of companies have deployed relatively mature AI applications in their organizations. In addition, 53% of interviewed companies believed that there was a need to introduce AI to their organizations, with learning how to deploy and apply AI more effectively becoming a top priority for many leaders. We noticed that companies have gone from directly seeking external solutions to building an internal team to sort integrated data, define application fields, develop and deploy AI models, and finally realize the assimilation of AI in their organizations.

It is precisely because of this trend that we see a number of AI enablers gaining significant momentum in the market.  ProfetAI, an automated machine learning engine aimed at assisting companies to introduce AI with the best efficiency, received pre-A funding from AU Optronics, Hive Ventures, and other investors in early 2021. In addition, Infuse AI received a US$ 4.3M Series A round of fundraising led by Wistron in the first quarter of 2021 to continue to develop their MLOps (Machine Learning Operations) platform. Model development, management, and monitoring are optimized this year to assist more companies in deploying and managing AI models.

The next step in MarTech

As the penetration rate of e-commerce in Taiwan continues to rise, the concept of online-merge-offline (OMO) fusing virtual and physical sales and marketing is demonstrating powerful potential. The effect of Google’s announcement of phasing out third-party cookies continues to ferment, forcing companies to reassess how they manage their scattered online and offline data pockets. Specifically, companies are now left to contend with the challenge of effectively accumulating, integrating, and drawing insights from fragmented customer data, and using that to make agile marketing decisions.  Such issues have created new development opportunities for AI innovation within MarTech.

In the face of making increasingly complex marketing decisions, the data required is more difficult than ever to integrate by yourself. We noticed MarTech startups have begun to actively seek alliance opportunities with other companies, jointly form teams to share data, improve product content together, or even derive new service models. Whether it’s teaming up between new ventures or seeking cooperation in different industries, you can find clues of these synergies happening throughout the first half of 2021. For example, two conversational AI startups, GoSky and Crescendo Labs, cooperated with iKALA’s KOL Radar to collect the data they needed to launch social commerce solutions.

Another MarTech startup, Accuhit, collaborated with key media players in early 2021 to establish a joint venture in AI and big data called DaEX. Through cross-industry alliances, the media’s advertising data will be integrated with CDP (Customer Data Platform) to create a comprehensive marketing ecosystem. In addition to its aforementioned fundraising news, Appier also acquired BotBonnie, an omnichannel social commerce platform to enrich their services and data analysis. With this wave of MarTech teams building strong networks, more AI applications will be born through such synergies.

Roles for large companies in the AI ecosystem

In the development of the overall AI ecosystem, whether in Taiwan or internationally, the participation rate of integrating AI in organizations and processes is increasing. In terms of startup accelerators, AppWorks Accelerator, established in 2010 and focusing on founders working in AI and Blockchain since August 2018 (AW#17), has graduated over 100 AI teams so far and continues to build up Taiwan’s AI ecosystem. In April 2021, AppWorks also announced a partnership with Wistron, an active player in the AI ecosystem, to launch the first batch of the new Wistron Accelerator powered by AppWorks to focus on startups in the fields of AI, IoT, cloud computing, and information security. Various business units of Wistron Group will collaborate with these startups to propose solutions for their departments and seek more growth opportunities within the overall AI/IoT ecosystem.

Leading AI chip maker NVIDIA also announced that it will establish Asia’s first NVIDIA Inception AI startup base in Linkou’s innovation park, supplemented by the NVIDIA Inception AI accelerator program to inject talent and innovative technology into Taiwan. In addition, startup accelerators that support AI startup teams, including SparkLabs Taipei, Taiwan AI x Robotics Accelerator, and the CIAT Accelerator, are all recruiting AI startups to join them.

Taiwan AI Academy Foundation and Taiwan AI Labs are Taiwan’s representative institutions in AI education and research, respectively. The former, a consortium, combines industry and academia to promote the implementation of AI in various industries. It promotes services for AI project evaluation and transformation strategies. Taiwan’s smart driving test lab and Taoyuan’s innovation park connect government and corporate resources to provide an R&D environment for self-driving cars to test. With organizations now banding together to push the AI agenda forward, we will continue to see the demand for integrating AI rise.

Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021 is jointly produced by AppWorks and Taiwan’s Artificial Intelligence Foundation (AIF), and is updated every six months. If you have any questions or suggestions, you may reach out to AppWorks at a@appworks.tw.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI, Blockchain, and NFT, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

2021 上半年台灣 AI 生態系地圖,企業與新創的共舞

原始檔案下載:Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021

Norman Chi, Analyst (紀泳瑜 / 分析師)

負責投資與基金管理。在加入 AppWorks 之前,曾於勤業眾信審計部門服務近兩年,參與過的財務報表查核案件橫跨多個產業。畢業於台大會計系,學生時期曾擔任台大學生會活動部部長與會計系系學會公關長。喜愛品嚐美食、棒球與推理懸疑類影集。期許自己成為理性,但不失熱血與溫度的創投分析師。


站在這樣的大趨勢之下,2021 上半年對所有台灣 AI 新創來說,最令人振奮的消息,莫過於 Appier 赴日上市並達成獨角獸 (10 億美元) 市值里程碑,為有志於國際市場的台灣新創,起到了很大的激勵作用。此外,當各科技大廠不斷追求更高效能的運算能力,半導體產業持續將重本投入晶片研發與製程的情況下,AI 晶片新創 Kneron 也於年初獲得來自鴻海、華邦電等電子大廠的策略投資,並支援鴻海領導的 MIH 電動車開放平台。

AppWorks Accelerator 每半年更新一次的「2021 H1 台灣 AI 生態系地圖」(Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021) ,和以往有所不同的是,在這次發佈的版本中,隨著部分 AI 新創開發的服務或應用,不再限縮於某一特定產業,而是跨產業的解決方案或技術,所以這次 AppWorks 將新創區域拆分成兩部分:特定產業應用、跨產業技術。希望讓這份地圖,更真實反映台灣最新的 AI 產業樣貌。檢視整體生態系變化的過程中,我們觀察到 2021 上半年幾個值得注意的趨勢如下:

新創機會:企業急需更有效率導入 AI

依據 Hive Ventures 2021 年第一季發布的台灣企業 AI 趨勢報告中指出,25% 的企業已於組織內部署相對成熟的 AI 落地應用。另外也有 53% 的受訪企業,認為導入 AI 是有急迫需求的,如何在企業內部更快速地部署並應用 AI 實現數位轉型,成了不少企業急需解決的難題。在這過程中,也可以發現企業從直接尋求外部購入解決方案,到開始自建團隊梳理整合資料、定義應用場域並開發部署 AI 模型,最終實現導入 AI。這中間企業的心態,猶如從直接購買解答,逐漸轉向尋求一個服務或幫手,讓企業可以自行找到答案。

也正因為這樣的趨勢,新創的機會應運而生。在企業導入 AI 需求提升之下,可以看到在這領域深耕的新創逐漸崛起。其中,打造自動化機器學習引擎,旨在協助企業以最佳效率導入 AI 的杰倫智能 (ProfetAI),就在 2021 年初獲得友達光電、Hive Ventures 等投資人的 Pre-A 輪資金挹注。此外,由 g0v 零時政府發起人高嘉良參與共同創辦的 Infuse AI,也在 2021 年第一季獲得由緯創領投的 430 萬美元 A 輪募資,持續開發 MLOps (Machine Learning Operations) 平台,力求模型開發、管理與監控的最佳化,以協助更多企業導入 AI 模型的部署管理。

MarTech 下一步:從單打獨鬥走向報隊組團?

隨著電商在台灣的滲透率持續攀升,OMO (Online Merge Offline) 虛實融合行銷觀念當道,以及科技巨頭 Google 宣布逐步淘汰第三方 cookie 的效應持續發酵之下,面對四散各處的線上、線下通路的數據,企業要如何從線上消費者碎裂的數位足跡中,更快速、有效地累積並整合第一手數據,進而洞察顧客輪廓與足跡,做到真正的行銷決策敏捷化,成了各大電商、零售品牌必須面對的課題,也為 MarTech 領域的 AI 新創,帶來許多發展的機會。

面對日趨複雜的精準行銷,企業所需的數據更為龐雜、也更難整合。因此,我們也可以發現, MarTech 新創開始積極尋求結盟機會,共同組隊分享數據、完善產品內容或衍生新的服務模式。不管是新創間彼此組隊,或是向外尋求異業合作,在 2021 上半年皆可發現端倪。例如兩間對話式商務 AI 新創 GoSky 與漸強實驗室,就與 iKala 旗下 KOL Radar 累積的數據資料合作,推出社群電商導流解決方案,進入社群電商戰場。 

另一間 MarTech 新創 Accuhit,則在 2021 年初協同關鍵評論網媒體集團,合資成立 AI 與大數據事業 DaEX 達思智能。透過異業結盟,將媒體自有廣告數據與 CDP (Customer Data Platform) 進行整合,打造更完整的行銷生態系。Appier 2021 上半年另一件重要的新聞,則是購併全通路對話行銷平台 BotBonnie,充實對話式行銷服務與數據分析的產品線。在可預期的未來,MarTech 新創組隊擴張的風潮,應會更加興盛,也期待透過彼此的結盟,產生更多 AI 應用的火花。

大企業持續共築 AI 生態系發展

在整個 AI 生態系發展過程中,可以發現不論是台灣還是國際大企業,在整個 AI 生態系參與的份量日益增加。在創業加速器方面,2010 年成立、自 2018 年 8 月 (AW#17) 起限定招募 AI  與 Blockchain 新創的 AppWorks Accelerator,目前為止已經累積畢業超過 100 家 AI 新創,持續為台灣 AI 生態系挹注新能量。AppWorks 也在 2021 年 4 月宣布與同樣於 AI 新創生態系活躍的緯創資通,合作啟動 Wistron Accelerator 垂直加速器,集中招募 AI、物聯網、雲端與資安領域的新創,並得以直接和緯創集團各個事業單位合作,提出解決方案,尋求更多成長機會。

此外,AI 晶片龍頭 NVIDIA 也宣佈,將在林口新創園區成立全亞洲首座「NVIDIA Inception AI 新創基地」,輔以本身推動的 NVIDIA Inception 加速器計畫,爲台灣挹注 AI 人才與創新技術的能量。此外,包括 Sparklabs TaipeiTaiwan AI x Robotics Accelerator台灣雲谷雲豹育成計畫等以 AI 新創團隊為主要招募對象的創業加速器,仍在持續招募新創團隊。

台灣人工智慧學校、台灣人工智慧實驗室,則分別仍是台灣在 AI 教育與研究領域的代表性機構。財團法人人工智慧科技基金會則結合產學能量,持續推動 AI 在各產業落地,藉由提供企業訓練課程、導入 AI 專案評估與轉型策略的顧問諮詢服務,促進台灣產業升級。台灣智駕測試實驗室與桃園虎頭山創新園區,則是串連政府與企業資源,提供智慧駕駛及自駕車研發環境及測試場域,注入自駕開發技術所需的能量。

Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2021 由 AppWorks 與財團法人人工智慧科技基金會 (AIF)  聯合製作,每半年更新一次,有任何指教與建議,請 email 至 a@appworks.tw

【歡迎所有 AI、Blockchain、NFT 與目標東南亞市場的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator

2021 上半年台灣 Blockchain 生態系地圖,開啟大眾市場的關鍵一刻

原始檔案下載:Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2021

Ching Tseng, Associate (曾意晴 / 投資經理)

負責區塊鏈投資,尤其專注東南亞市場。學生時期曾於 AppWorks 實習一年半,2015 年政大企管系畢業後正式加入擔任分析師,主要參與投資案相關業務,最得意的案例是協助 CHOCO TV 從 A 輪一路到被 LINE 併入。是我們的年輕人趨勢專家,2019 正式升任經理。平常熱愛嚐鮮、美食以及旅遊。

2021 上半年,大眾對區塊鏈發展的關注度,達到了歷來的高點。隨著去年底,越來越多機構與企業進場持有比特幣,以及在新聞媒體接力報導下,比特幣幣價在今年三月,首度突破 6 萬美元,對於區塊鏈圈的創業者,今年以來,肯定對於來自親友們的問候與請教不陌生,因為大眾迫不及待的想了解區塊鏈究竟是什麼。

區塊鏈圈自身更不用多說,除了整個牛市把主流幣推升到高點後,也把 2017 年那段 ICO 發的多數非主流加密貨幣,再次拉抬起來;另外一個重要焦點,則肯定是在 NFT (非同質代幣) 身上,各種百花齊放的 NFT 應用,從大型品牌、IP、明星到個人創作者,紛紛湧上各路平台發行 NFT 參與盛況,連帶為區塊鏈的普及發展,另創一波浪潮。

AppWorks Accelerator 每半年更新一次「2021 H1 台灣 Blockchain 生態系地圖」(Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2021) 的過程中,我們觀察到 2021 上半年三個值得注意的趨勢:

1. 品牌加速終端用戶進場 NFT

NFT 協議從 2017 年就被制定以來,究竟為何在最近一年可以帶起這麼大的風潮?主要來自兩個關鍵原因。第一個原因,是有越來越多自帶粉絲的主流品牌與 IP,開始透過 NFT 與粉絲互動,在疫情之下,許多知名的 IP,都少了很多實體機會與粉絲互動,而透過 NFT 打造虛擬體驗,是一種維持粉絲黏性同時又能變現的應用。

第二個原因,則是 NFT 成為建構在加密貨幣上資產的重要出口。在 2017 年那一波 ICO 的浪潮中,多數區塊鏈的參與者或投資人,不是忙著發幣,就是忙著發掘下一個會有數百倍成長潛力的加密貨幣,在開發端的餘裕,相對並不如現在充足,而到了 2020 年,在經歷一波 DeFi 熱潮後,則再次提升人們手中的加密貨幣資產,NFT 在此時登場,為大眾提供一個消費新管道,再加上不少 NFT 擁有增值空間,兼具消費與投資功能,是人性中對於追求財富增值的動機,加上大品牌加持,共同推升了 NFT 升空。

在台灣,NFT 也較上季有所進展。例如,AW#20 校友 Lootex 和 KKBox 旗下的 Oursong ,算是起步相對早期的團隊,早在這波熱潮以前,就已經在 NFT 以及區塊鏈領域有ㄧ定經驗,並在經歷幾輪牛熊市後仍然繼續堅持,讓過去累積的能量終於開花結果,成功拿下了不少合作機會。在這段時間,我們也看到許多新的 NFT 平台崛起,如 Jcard 以及 Fansi 等,為創作者提供更多元的平台選擇。

或許有很多人會認為現在不少 NFT 價格炒得很高,有泡沫化的趨勢。但還是老話一句,有錢的地方就有人才,有人才的地方就有發展。如今多數 NFT 還是以數位收藏品為主,未來任何需要使用數位 ID 的產品、服務或應用,都有機會透過 NFT 來使用,未來發展仍大有可期,期望台灣團隊,能抓住 NFT 相關的發展機會,在這個近乎沒有地域限制的市場裡,跟緊國際腳步。

2. 遊戲規則逐漸明朗

在台灣,過去幾年來對於加密貨幣相關的法規,一直尚未明朗,大家只能依循著原本的法規,或者國外的案例來參考。今年四月,行政院頒布的院臺法字第 1100167722 號令裡,為更加完善洗錢防制法,關於加密貨幣交易的規則明朗許多,面對新的規範,多數台灣的法幣出入金交易所,本身就有做嚴格的 KYC,影響應該不大,不過其他耕耘 DeFi、借貸及投資的區塊鏈團隊,或許會面臨比較大的挑戰,尤其 DeFi 相關的服務,要如何在去中心化的服務裡,設計出符合法規卻有不違背原本精神的用戶體驗,確實有難度。期待未來有更完善的法令規範與執行,能在保護終端用戶的情況下,不阻礙台灣區塊鏈產業的發展。

3. 人財湧進,醞釀未來發展

乘著比特幣的價格達到歷史新高,整個產業的活躍程度也受到投資人關注。例如今年五月,台灣創業已四年的 AW#19 校友 Dapp Pocket,宣布被 17LIVE 共同創辦人潘杰賢的 家族投資辦公室 Turn Capital 收購,也已將旗下兩款產品 Dapp Pocket & Cappuu 合併為 Coinomo,目標前進東南亞市場,為主流族群打造進入加密貨幣的入口。同時,另一個台灣開發錢包的新創、AW#19 校友 Portto,旗下產品 Blocto 為最早支援 Flow 的錢包之一,也是當今最多用戶 Stake Flow Token 的節點,成長速度飛快的他們,也在近期宣布完成一輪 880 萬美元的募資,投資人包括頂級區塊鏈創投、矽谷科技創投、台灣科技創投、加密貨幣交易所、公鏈團隊、NBA 球星、知名美國企業家等。

此外,即將於 8 月開始的 AppWorks Accelerator #23,也宣布新增 Flow 為平台夥伴。將結合 Flow 生態系的資源,協助運用區塊鏈、NFT、DeFi 技術的創業者與新創,能更快速、順利在 Flow 上建構新的去中心化世界。 

在 2021 年上半年的尾聲,儘管幣價從五月開始進入明顯回檔,但過去這半年所累積與醞釀的能量,在下半年無論是 DeFi、NFT 或者企業端的區塊鏈產品、服務與應用,都值得可期。同時,也陸續有國外的區塊鏈新創,開始在台灣招募團隊,例如 Animoca Brands,亦可望為台灣區塊鏈產業培養出更多人才以及發展機會。

Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2021 由 AppWorks,以及 Blockchain 媒體 Blockcast 區塊客 (AW#14)、BlockTempo 動區 (AW#16)、Zombit 桑幣筆記 (AW#21) 聯合製作,每半年更新一次,有任何指教與建議,請 email 至 a@appworks.tw

【歡迎所有 AI、Blockchain、NFT 與目標東南亞市場的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator

你的創作就是你的!NFT 為 Creator 帶來的新世界

Jessica Liu, Partner (劉侊縈 / 合夥人)

主導東南亞市場以及區塊鏈領域的投資,擅長激發創業者的潛能,熱愛與他們討論商業模式。2010 年進入渣打銀行負責數位行銷和產品線上跨售,讓她燃起對 Consumer Internet 的熱情,2014 加入 AppWorks 擔任經理,先後負責加速器、東南亞投資案等,2019 年升任合夥人。畢業於南加州大學 (USC) 商學系,談到美食和旅行時,眼睛會發亮。

NFT 在 2021 上半年經歷了雲霄飛車般的歷程。根據 NonFungible.com 的統計,全球 NFT 的成交金額,從二月份開始持續攀升,並在五月初月成交金額來到這波熱潮的巔峰 3.2 億美元 ,再回到近期的 5,000 至 6,000 萬美元之間。這段期間,包括 Beeple 的「Everydays: The First 5,000 Days」作品,以 NFT 賣了 6,900 萬美元;LeBron James 的一個灌籃動作,以 NFT 賣了 20 萬美元等令人瞠目結舌的交易。在這短時間內的巨大震盪,令人不禁懷疑,這會不會又是繼 2018 年 ICO 後,另一個區塊鏈的泡沫?

Source: NonFungible.com

事實上,若我們回顧過往的歷史,當每一個泡沫過後,其實都能將產業發展推升到另一個高峰。例如,在 21 世紀初期的 Dot-com 泡沫後,仍然留下了 Amazon、Google、Netflix、PayPal 等創新不斷的偉大企業,甚至開啟了之後 Mobile Internet 典範轉移下 Facebook、Uber、Square、Snap 相繼崛起的美好年代。 

而 2018 ICO 浪潮退燒後,雖然加密貨幣走入熊市,但區塊鏈產業的長期價值,仍在持續提升,根據 CoinMarketCap.com 的統計,全球加密貨幣的整體市值,從 2018 年初高點的 8,300 億美元,繼續成長到 2021 年一度突破 2.4 兆美元,儘管資產價格上上下下,但區塊鏈產業的整體價值成長,並未隨著 ICO 退潮而結束。

Source: CoinMarketCap.com

與其探討 NFT 是否為另一個泡沫,我倒覺得,探討 NFT 實質上創造哪些價值、解鎖哪些成就,將更有意義。

從最基礎的來看,NFT 讓 Creator (創作者) / Curator (策展人) 開啟了另一個市場。不管名氣高或低的藝術家甚至是品牌,過去近一年來,都競相發行 NFT。有趣的是,實體世界的藝術品,對一般大眾來說,單純只有收藏、買賣兩個功能,但在 NFT 的世界,應用可說是百花齊放。以純數位的 NFT 而言,購買的方式則十分多元,例如要先解題或擁有某些東西,購買者本身也有機會成為藝術創作的一部分 (Programmable),就像藝術品收藏項目 Hashmask,購買者能為藝術品命名。

這類在 NFT 發展初期,出現的各種原生消費行為,與其說是購買單一數位藝術品,這些行為更像是買了這個社群的會員資格,可說是數位身份的象徵。當人人都把 Twitter 上的個人頭像,換成自己擁有的 Bored Ape 時,另一種數位身份 (Digital Identity) 的認同與價值也就此展開。而在數位當道的時代,數位身份比現實世界的身份地位來得更重要。如同 Hashmask 在自己的 Blog 寫道:

Sometimes I feel that our digital sense of identity has already surpassed our physical sense of identity in terms of importance. This holds true, particularly among younger generations. Nowadays, having an Instagram-worthy photo of a moment seems to be more important than the moment itself. And the trend will only accelerate, not go back. In the near future, our identity will most likely be fully digital. Who you are online will be more important than who you are at home and in the physical world.

Source: Twitter

而 NFT 防偽造和紀錄永遠寫在鏈上的特性,也使得它的應用,可以延伸到真實世界中。例如,某場 NBA 比賽的主場球隊,透過球隊 App 直接販售 88 張 NFT 紀念球票,除了迅速銷售一空外,不難想像這些 NFT 擁有者,未來將有他們專屬的活動,而這些 NFT 除了是球票外,也可能成為 Backstage Pass 等。

更進一步想要探討的是 NFT 開啟的 Creator Economy。如何讓創作者能夠直接享受到流量帶來的收益算是老掉牙的議題了,訂閱或直播打賞都是 Internet 下的產物。但直到 NFT 的出現,才找到每個產業環節的平衡。

時間往回推 10 年,Internet 下放了獲取知識的成本,社群媒體打開了媒體與創作者面對大眾的管道,造就出人人都可以是網紅或 YouTuber。當人們每天在社群媒體發文,上傳照片、音樂甚至是影片,也將這些檔案複製到 Facebook、YouTube、TikTok 等平台,在複製貼上的同時,也等於把內容的擁有權轉給了平台,當社群平台運用這些內容變現,賺取巨大的財富後,這背後的反撲,便是你我熟知的個資、反壟斷等問題。

我們看過很多新創團隊試圖要解決這個問題,例如推出訂閱制,讓做出好內容的人,也可以享受到應得的經濟價值。然而,這存在著一個本質矛盾,想像一位歌手創作出一首歌,當然會希望越多人聽到甚至是喜歡才會是最大的滿足,但設一個付費或訂閱的門檻在前面,直接就限制了能接觸到這首歌的聽眾,經典好歌的定義應該為何?究竟是讓最多人翻唱、欣賞,還是創造更多訂閱、銷售?Internet 現行的數位內容機制,並無法解決這個本質矛盾。

另一個更本質的問題是,不管哪種商業模式,都仍然會被各種數位、社群平台掐著脖子。今天 Instagram 封鎖了你的帳戶,或 App Store 下架了你的 App,甚至 Facebook 降低觸及率,你都可以向平台反映,但最後決定權仍然在不在你的手裡。遊戲玩家在某個遊戲裡買了一個虛寶,這個物件表面上屬於遊戲玩家了,但他並不能讓遊戲玩家決定是否能在其他平台使用。原因就是,這些數位資產的擁有權,都不屬於創作者或購買者個人,而是由各種平台宰制。

Source: 蘇怡寧醫師愛碎念 FB 粉專

NFT 的特性,讓這些問題有機會被突破。它在大眾都能觸及的情況下,清楚記載這個內容的原始創造者和之後的分潤機制。甚至未來每一次的轉手或再創作,原始創作者也都能持續受惠。當你我有辦法掌握所有權時,創作者與平台間的力量,才有機會平衡,而資產的價值,才能真有機會賦能更多創作者。


【歡迎所有 AI、Blockchain、NFT 與目標東南亞市場的創業者,加入專為你們服務的 AppWorks Accelerator

Photo by Pensive glance from VisualHunt