Blockchain use cases are growing exponentially, says ConSensys’ APAC MD Charles d’Haussy

April 7, 2022

By Tsering Namgyal

Blockchain firm ConsenSys is betting big on Web3 and metaverse, says its managing director for Asia Pacific region Charles d’Haussy. The company’s digital token wallet Metamask saw a 40% growth over the past four months and such an exponential growth – it currently has 30mn monthly active users (mau) – is a harbinger of more rapid growth for the industry in the coming months. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and GameFI (Game Finance), which are video gaming with blockchain, are seeing the fastest growth in this segment, he told Blockchain Asset Review in an interview. Such growth is typically seen in new technologies which grow steadily at the outset before exploding in popularity as mass adoption begins.

To finance these projects, the company completed a fund-raising round in March. The latest raise values ConsenSys at over $7 billion, more than doubling its valuation since its $200 million Series C raise in November 2021.

With nearly 700 full-time employees at present, ConsenSys’ hiring will surge this year as it is on track to scale to over 1,000 employees by the end of 2022. The company is hiring in Hong Kong, Australia, India and Singapore. “In reality, you don’t necessarily have to be a blockchain expert to join ConsenSys,” he says, adding that the company is hiring people from areas such as Web2 and traditional finance. It is looking for people across the whole spectrum ranging from front and back-end engineers, project management, sales to delivery of services and product marketing.

Amongst ConsenSys’s more high-profile work in Asia Pacific region includes its engagement with major central banks in their issuance of central bank digital currencies (CBDC). It is working on CBDCs with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), People’s Bank of China (PBOC) as well as the central banks of Dubai, Thailand and Korea.

Besides CBDCs, it is also working with stable coins and settlement coins. Stablecoins are backed by dollars, basket of financial instruments or cryptocurrencies. Regulations governing these coins are coming (for instance, Hong Kong government is currently running a public consultation for stablecoin regulations.) “There is a great appetite for stablecoins,” he says. “This maybe a bit unexpected, but we are also involved in developing settlement coins.” Settlement coins are used by organizations in lieu of cash and operate like an internal currency or digital gift card. The difference with other digital coins is that they cannot be traded and it is not speculative. “This is easier to setup and settle,” he says, adding that it functions more like a utility token.

In terms of CBDCs, China is way ahead of the game compared to other central banks, he says. They have been experimenting with digital currency since the establishment of Digital Currency Institute under the PBOC in 2016. China has done enough experimentation with its digital currency – known as ECNY – and it is expected that more retail and wholesale CBDCs will be issued in the next two years by the central banks. “There is no shortcut for CBDCs,” he says, because the infrastructure needs to be in place as are the regulations governing the issue of such sovereign currencies. This is true for big countries like India which has announced that its central bank Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is interested in issuing CBDCs. “It is very ambitious and obviously it would take some time especially because of the size of the population,” d’Haussy says. Central banks are proceeding slowly and step by step to ensure they get things right, especially in terms of regulations and privacy concerns.

ConsenSys is working hard to drive NFT adoption for artists, content creators, brands, intellectual property owners, game publishers, and sports leagues, he says. As a result, It’s Ethereum infrastructure Infura now counts 430,000 developers and in excess of $1 trillion in annualized on-chain ETH transaction volume supported through Infura’s Ethereum API.

On the whole, the rapid growth in metaverse, NFTs, DAOs, DeFi and CBDCs has proven wrong those who have been arguing that blockchain has no credible use cases. The detractors are similar to those arguing that “the Internet has no future and nobody will read newspapers on the Internet,” he says, adding “essentially the naysayers are following the same logic.” The combination of factors such as CBDCs, NFTs and the birth of metaverse should convince people that the world is looking for a decentralized digital infrastructure. The companies like ConsenSys are providing the fundamental blockchain infrastructure to make these innovations flourish through Metamask, which is essentially the most popular digital token wallet in the world.

“Metamask is the gateway to the metaverse,” he says.

About the author

Tsering Namgyal is the chief content officer of Blockchain Asset Review.

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