Sailing to the moon (and back) 29th April 2023

It’s been exactly 5 years, 10 months and 34 days – for a total of 2,164 days since I set-out on my personal journey to obtain regulatory approval for the custody of digital assets in Malaysia. I could’ve sailed to the moon and back in less time, and to be honest, it sometimes felt as though I did. Drowning in the purgatory depths of isolated committee review, communication with the outside world was cut-off. This prevented me from publicly discussing our ongoing adventures across the ever-changing sea of regulatory approval and political rearrangements. 

Stranded on an island of limbo left to launch and operate a business for the past two years that does not have approval from the regulators to actually conduct business certainly helps to emphasize the importance of patience. It also serves as a stark reminder regarding the prickly barriers to entry that have been put-up for those entering the regulated financial space.

Nonetheless… It’s with relief beyond suitable words to not only be the first to announce that CoKeeps has been granted conditional approval to provide custody for digital assets in Malaysia, but that to the best of my knowledge they are also the first and only regulated DAC (digital asset custodian) to have been authorized to serve the country’s capital markets.

However, whilst being stranded on the moon, three important changes took place at R1.

The first of those is to officially announce the investment partnership from Sinegy (a regulated Digital Asset Exchange in Malaysia) that has provided us with the necessary environment to develop regulatory compliant products. Their invaluable partnership has led to more focused product growth and both ourselves and Sinegy owning equity in each other.

Secondly, our Cortex product line is now in the process of transitioning from being labeled as just another blockchain infrastructure service to being more capable of providing suitable analytics, KYC and AML services designed to support businesses such as CoKeeps and Sinegy.

Lastly, on a personal note, I’ve been fortunate enough to re-kindle lost connections and continue funding R1 by starting work with CakeDeFi, a company based out of Singapore whose CTO and co-founder I have known for many years. It’s been exciting to get back to the world of Bitcoin after spending so long with Ethereum – and designing a new protocol for the decentralized trade of ordinals and inscriptions was definitely an interesting way to get started again. We’re now developing a host of tools and services surrounding this protocol, and as a result; I’ve also gotten to work with an old school friend and watch his Jim Morrison art evolve on-chain.

What’s most exciting for me as an investor and adviser to CoKeeps is that I have known those that are leading the company longer than I have been chasing any personal dreams with the SC, so could not be more confident in their ability to propel the business in the right direction.

— Mark Smalley | CEO

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