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Introducing EmergentX

Welcome to EmergentX, home to a global team of innovators, builders, and thinkers – everyday individuals working collectively to enhance everyday realities.Welcome to EmergentX, home to a global team of innovators, builders, and thinkers – everyday individuals working collectively to enhance everyday realities.
Lee Smith
Oct 2023

Welcome to EmergentX, home to a global team of innovators, builders, and thinkers – everyday individuals working collectively to enhance everyday realities.

In the summer of 2019, a significant chapter in my career was coming to an end. My partners and I had recently completed the sale of our company, Wavecell (Singapore), to 8x8 Inc., a NASDAQ-listed entity. Simultaneously, my most ambitious project to date, Paidy (Tokyo), was in the midst of preparing for either a sale or a listing. Both of these endeavors had consumed more than a decade of dedication to build. They followed earlier ventures that I had co-founded in the early 2000s.

During this period, Bitcoin had solidified its position as digital gold, and Ethereum had proven the potential of smart contracts – essential components for constructing entire ecosystems and even economies.

It was evident that Crypto presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revolutionize 'The System' upon which individuals and businesses build their products and services. The last significant system upgrade occurred in the late 90s with the widespread accessibility of the Internet, a technology upon which every business, regardless of its industry, now depends on.

Before exploring specific opportunities for development and investment, I recognized the need to minimize risk. It's evident that many teams face challenges and even failure within their first two years, often due to decisions related to technology and team building. In some cases, they barely have a chance to test their business model. Mistakes can be costly, leading to time constraints, competitors surging ahead, team conflicts and capital depletion.

This is when I began to talk to former colleagues about the concept of EmergentX. The vision was clear: assemble a team comprising individuals with a track record of building successful companies. This team would thrive in the tumultuous realm of early-stage product development, building out tech and leadership recruitment. A key distinction was the integral role of legal considerations from day one, incorporating an in-house 'Legal Innovation' component. Finally, we would have dedicated capital for investment. Through EmergentX, we could explore various challenges, and upon identifying a promising opportunity, deploy resources to establish capable leadership focused on the core business, freeing them from the burden of secondary tasks.

Crypto played a pivotal role in realizing this vision. In the realm of technology, it's a common practice for startup teams to invest significant time and resources in solving similar problems: researching tech stacks, test combinations, assessing what works, and what doesn't. The result is always a unique setup that, as the business grows, becomes increasingly complex. However, blockchain technology emerged as a game-changer, putting an end to much of this repetition and significantly reducing a major cost associated with building and operating companies. With blockchain providing both computing power and storage capacity, the need for large teams of developers and database administrators (DBAs) has diminished. This, in turn, implies that roles such as architects, VPs of engineering and even CTOs may no longer be essential.

Blockchains offer an essential element of standardization for representing information and value, reducing the necessity to create and consume proprietary APIs. With blockchains, information retrieval is straightforward—simply read from the chain, no keys required, and no need for business development efforts to gain access. The most important feature of blockchains is the presence of their native currency, enabling their utilization in a global, remote and decentralized manner. Within the crypto ecosystem, productivity trends an exponential growth pattern and costs to zero.

This wasn't merely theoretical; teams of developers were already in the process of constructing decentralized financial services. Take Uniswap, a service that processes tens of billions of dollars' worth of assets and boasts a valuation of around ten billion dollars. What's remarkable is that they achieved this with a team that, in the legacy financial system, would require hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals to develop and maintain. Uniswap accomplished this feat with just a handful of developers.

Overall, the potential lay in mitigating risks and lowering the expenses tied to building ventures. This goal would be realized through the concerted efforts of a specialized team of startup professionals, harnessing the power of blockchain technology and having the necessary capital ready for deployment.

In 2020 Lee Vidor, Akira Yamamoto and I created EmergentX. Lee and Akira, who were founding team members at Wavecell and Paidy respectively, excel in navigating the intricate and often chaotic realm of startup businesses. Shortly thereafter, David Tan joined our ranks, via his law firm, bringing world-class legal expertise, essential in crypto and global business. More recently, we welcomed Kevin King and Chris Clayton to our growing team.

Since then, we've been steadfastly pursuing our mission to transform lives through technology. Today, we are actively engaged in the development of four projects: 

  • DeSAT, which serves as essential infrastructure for the tokenization of physical assets. 
  • Savea, the inaugural enterprise built upon DeSAT, simplifying access to non-traditional investments, including fine wine funds, at an institutional level. 
  • MetaDock, a versatile platform enabling teams of all sizes to transition their businesses onto the blockchain, covering functions ranging from payroll to fund management to ticketing. 
  • Peak360, our ambitious endeavor to establish Singapore's first homegrown fitness mega brand, where we ultimately plan to tokenize all aspects, including customers, staff, and operations, using MetaDock. 

At EmergentX, our mission is rooted in empowerment, not fueled by vague ideals like altruism. We believe in equipping individuals with the tools to shape their own futures with pride and dignity. Our inspiration draws from a diverse spectrum of figures, including renowned historical figures like Lee Kuan Yew, who founded modern nations, and contemporary visionaries like Elon Musk, pioneering economic viability in space exploration. There are others, closer to the forefront of blockchain innovation, that we admire for their work: Vitalik Buterin, the unassuming visionary behind Ethereum; Caitlin Long, Brian Armstrong, and Hester Peirce, champions of sensibility and advocates for the decentralization of power; and Raoul Pal, Ray Dalio and Arthur Hayes, who unravel the intricacies of complex human systems in a comprehensible manner, making profound insights accessible to the world.