Eight Questions: Moses Lee, Head of Asia, Anchorage Digital Singapore
Welcome to Eight Questions, where we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team, diving into their career paths, what brought them to crypto, and what makes them tick. Why eight? Because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into. It’s also the last single digit number in a Fibonacci Sequence, and we like that.
Next in our series, meet Moses Lee, Head of Asia at Anchorage Digital Singapore. Moses comes to Anchorage Digital with over 20 years of experience in digital assets and traditional finance, most recently serving as Head of Asia Futures & Options Electronic Trading at JP Morgan. Educated at UT Austin, Moses is currently based in Singapore. Outside of work, he enjoys snowboarding and scuba diving.
1. After two decades of working in traditional finance, what made you interested in making the jump to the digital asset sector? What excites you the most about leading our Singapore office?
I spent over 20 years in investment banking, and the reason I joined at the time was because there was an acceleration from trading in the pits to electronic trading. Investment banks were adopting tech company practices. As someone with a background in economics and information engineering, it was a really exciting time to help shape a major shift in trading through technology.
Crypto was the natural next step in my professional journey, so I am thrilled to be part of the Asia team at Anchorage Digital. We are filling a critical gap for regulated, safe, and secure digital asset infrastructure for institutions broadly and specifically in Asia. By dropping anchor in Singapore, Anchorage Digital is providing the building blocks for some of the biggest institutional names to build crypto products and engage with the digital asset class in a responsible way.
2. How does your traditional finance experience in electronic futures and options trading translate to your work in the digital asset space?
Futures and options are leveraged products—some might even call them weapons of financial destruction, just to highlight the care needed to use them. When you speed this up with electronic trading, you significantly increase operational risk. Similarly, digital assets move at internet speed as settlement is final, making it more critical to have solid foundations. As the digital asset class becomes more regulated around the world, my experience controlling risk in a regulated way applies directly to my work at Anchorage Digital.
My work involves engaging with regulators in different countries across the region to pave a path forward for clear and consistent digital asset regulation. We also want to make sure our clients can interact with the digital asset class safely and securely on a day-to-day basis. So, our Client Experience team plays a critical role by providing white-glove support for every client, day in and day out.
3. What’s been Anchorage Digital’s main motivation for setting up an entity in Singapore?
Anchorage Digital is the leading force in digital asset infrastructure in the United States, both in terms of technical stack and regulatory certainty. But crypto is global, so it was an easy decision to expand our operations and move into Asia, providing our clients with 24/7/365 support.
Recent market events, including the FTX collapse, highlight precisely why institutions need a trusted partner here in Asia. At Anchorage Digital, we are proud to meet that need for our growing institutional client base.
4. Rates of crypto adoption and approaches to regulation vary between different countries in Asia. How is Anchorage Digital navigating these differences to effectively serve clients across the region?
In general, Asia is the global leader in retail crypto trading and individual adoption, but there has been a critical gap in digital asset infrastructure across the region. When it comes to crypto regulation, Asia is really diverse—there is a mix of more regulated countries, and jurisdictions that are still developing a regulatory framework for the asset class.
Since Anchorage Digital is an institutional-only platform, we are focusing first on engaging with existing regulatory regimes, as well as with countries where regulation is still evolving. With the quickly evolving regulatory landscape, it is important to take a country-by-country approach to ensure our clients have access to safe, secure, and compliant digital asset infrastructure—no matter where they operate.
5. Why is it important for early adopters in Asia to have access to safe, secure, and regulated digital asset custody offered by Anchorage Digital?
Looking back at when I started at Anchorage Digital, I was blown away when I first heard about the design and technology behind our custody offering. Before we entered the Asian market, many institutions in the region did not have access to a custody offering that balances digital asset security and accessibility like our hardware security module (HSM) solution.
For institutions engaging with digital assets, custody is at the core. That’s why safe, secure, and regulated custody is the foundation of everything we do at Anchorage Digital. Our other offerings—like staking, settlement, and on-chain governance—are all built on top of our leading-edge custody product.
6. Last year, Japan fully managed the FTX debacle because of good regulation after the events surrounding the Mt. Gox crypto exchange. Additionally, Hong Kong is revisiting interest in becoming a crypto hub. What can the rest of the world learn from these moves? What other trends are happening right now in the region?
One key lesson: fit-for-purpose regulation for digital assets helps to protect consumers and grow the entire ecosystem.
After Mt. Gox, Japan implemented a really regimented regulatory regime for the orderly shutdown of a crypto exchange, with common sense standards like segregating corporate and client assets. When FTX collapsed late last year, Japanese regulators already had a framework in place for shutting down a crypto exchange in a controlled manner. At the end of the day, Japanese consumers were protected, and the wider fallout in Japan was mitigated. That’s a powerful lesson in regulation that is tailored to a part of the digital asset ecosystem.
Singapore and Japan alike are focused on creating strong regulatory regimes for crypto. Japan is also taking a forward-looking approach to stablecoin regulation. Over the last two or three years, institutions have demonstrated a wide variety of use cases for stablecoins. Last fall, for example, we partnered with GMO-Z.com Trust Company to provide custody for GYEN, the first off-shore regulated Japanese yen stablecoin. The months ahead will be marked by more action on stablecoin regulation across the region and we welcome this leadership from regulators in Singapore and beyond.
7. How do you see institutional participation evolving across Asia in the next year? What’s ahead?
2022 was a difficult year for many institutions participating in the digital asset ecosystem. One key takeaway was the critical need for regulated and compliant digital asset infrastructure. For the leading institutional players, 2023 will be all about going back to the fundamentals—from seeking the highest regulatory standards to improving operational and counterparty risk management.
In many cases, institutions cannot build digital asset products or engage with the asset class on their own. Instead, they will partner with Anchorage Digital, since we provide the infrastructure for safe, secure, and regulated access to the digital asset economy.
8. Outside of the institutional crypto landscape, what do you like about living in Singapore?
Even though most people think of Singapore as an urban landscape, before, it was mostly a jungle. Walking around the city today, you can still see large beautiful trees, including banyan trees which Singapore kept intentionally—making it a true urban jungle!
I also love exploring the food scene in Singapore. The city developed in a very organized way, so there are a number of centers for food hawkers with different specialities. If you ever visit, you have to stop by Old Airport Road for some of the best street food in the city.
Interested in learning more about our global offerings? Please get in touch.
About Anchorage Digital
Anchorage Digital is a regulated crypto platform that provides institutions with integrated financial services and infrastructure solutions. With the only federally chartered crypto bank in the US, as well as Anchorage Digital Singapore, which offers equivalent security and service standards, Anchorage Digital provides institutions an unparalleled combination of secure custody, regulatory compliance, product breadth, and client service. Founded in 2017, Anchorage Digital is valued at over $3 billion with funding from leading institutions including Andreessen Horowitz, GIC—Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Goldman Sachs, KKR, and Visa. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Anchorage Digital is remote-friendly with offices in New York, New York; Porto, Portugal; Singapore; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Learn more at anchorage.com, on Twitter @Anchorage and on LinkedIn.
This post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase any securities in Anchor Labs, Inc., or any of its subsidiaries, and should not be relied upon to make any investment decisions. Furthermore, nothing within this announcement is intended to provide tax, legal, or investment advice and its contents should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security or digital asset or to engage in any transaction therein.