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AirAsia may become the first airline and biggest company in the South East of Asia to launch its own digital currency and token sale.

The Airline Industry’s First ICO

The CEO of AirAsia Group, Tony Fernandes, confirmed at the Money 20/20 Asia on March 15th that the operator is developing a payment system to link its Big Point Loyalty program to the blockchain.

“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,” said ICO Fernandes about the ICO.

Fernandes, one of Malaysia’s richest people with a net wealth of $745 million, recognizes the advantages of crypto payments as South East Asia has a huge number of overseas workers who make cross-border payments to send money back home.

Plans for Future Developments

The company intends to open new airlines that will cater to Myanmar and Vietnam flyers as well as adding a small loans service. Fernandes notes that these developments would benefit from a blockchain based network that easily shifts currency and data between countries. While Fernandes seems to be very positive about the company’s future plans to implement emerging technologies, the country has a confused mixture of cryptocurrency regulations.

Singapore has embraced fintech and experienced a $3.3 billion increase among 200 ICO’s last year. On the other side, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia have all blocked these rising technologies while Thailand still encounters difficulties with regulating what already exists and planning to use this technology for government control and taxing.

AirAsia is the second significant company that has announced its ICO launch in the past few months. Telegram, has already completed two pre-sale stages of its ICO, and reportedly raised over two billion dollars for their TON network.

Fernandes did not give any exact figures when it came to how much AirAsia was set on raising with their own ICO, but as one of Malaysia’s most noteworthy companies, their development could steer how government regulation will treat blockchain technology in the country. Referring to airlines, Fernandes talked about government regulation stating that “We’re in the most regulated industry in the world, so we know how to deal with regulators and regulations,”.

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