In July 2021, Aegis Custody rolled out DigiQuick, transforming account receivables, artworks, green energy loans, and e-commerce loans into non-fungible tokens (NFT) that could be traded easily. The team secured trust licenses in Hong Kong and South Dakota, aiming to become the best asset custodian in the global market.
One force is flinging down challenges on Wall Street, which is not a thing you see every day, as powerful financial institutions have stood firm for hundreds of years. Earlier this year, “DeFi takes on Wall Street” was all over the headlines of several finance magazines.
Short for decentralized finance, DeFi has been dubbed a “revolution” by a host of mainstream newspapers and finance experts. DeFi is a blockchain-based form of finance that strips away intermediaries like banks and exchange centers, offering digital finance instruments.
In this day and age, physical visits to banks are much reduced. The biggest advantage of DeFi lies in its digital workflow and alternative range of products.
Serra Angel Wei, founder and CEO of Aegis Custody, aimed for her startup to become the go-to digital asset custodian in the U.S., Hong Kong, and Taiwan. “DeFi enables asset transactions to become frictionless. Moreover, assets are made more liquid on blockchain,” she said.
Rolled out in Q3 2021, its latest product, DigiQuick, allows asset owners to create digital representations of any physical or digital assets they hold. DigiQuick transforms accounts receivable artworks, green energy loans, and e-commerce loans into NFTs that can be traded easily.
Fueled passion for the fintech world
Serra previously worked at Goldman Sachs as an equity research analyst. At the time, she saw that the world was changing rapidly, with the supply chain landscape of tech giants shifting.
Serra decided to take herself up a notch by pursuing an MBA at Stanford University. Adjacent to Silicon Valley, where the most innovative ideas in the world are hatched, Stanford is brimming with a creative vibe.
“It almost seemed irregular at Stanford if students hadn’t thought of starting their own business,” said Serra. The fact is, Stanford offers abundant resources and immense opportunities for their students.
Serra reminisced, “At Stanford, I was fortunate to receive mentorship from a Nobel Prize laureate. Even until today, I kept in touch with my mentor, who was of great help on my startup journey.”
Her position as a successful female entrepreneur in the male-dominated fintech world stands out in the crowd. Serra shared with Meet Global her inspiration: “I’ve always admired Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle — who I see as a very successful and inspiring female leader. I was honored to be taught by her during my Stanford MBA program and have always motivated myself to take charge and reach her career accomplishments.”
Serra is an active participant in initiatives that promote female engagement in business. She was selected to join the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs.
“Girls in Tech, Women of the Future, and Women in Technology International are initiatives that I am highly interested in and would love to take part in one day,” said Serra.
Hassle-free digital investment
Investments are traditionally completed through financial intermediaries. The process can be intimidating at times, as bureaucracy and paperwork eat away one’s time. Most recently, the outbreak of the fierce COVID variant Delta has made physical trips to banks a danger-infested move for most people.
Backed by regulated custody services, Aegis Custody’s investment platform offers access to new, alternative asset classes. Investors can diversify their portfolios with a wide variety of assets, from accounts receivable to private debt.
Aegis Custody utilizes smart contracts, which are blockchain-based digital records of any transaction. Any information related to ownership rights, obligations, and entitlement to cash flows is stored and traceable on the Ethereum public blockchain network.
The main type of customers at Aegis Custody are legal entities, many of which are seeking investment opportunities through decentralized finance. “E-commerce giants are coming to us, for example, Walmart and Amazon,” said Serra Angel Wei. DeFi allows businesses to expand their investment portfolio while also making the process time-saving and secure.
Global market from day one
Aegis Custody obtained the Hong Kong Trust License in 2019, and the application for the South Dakota Trust Charter was approved in 2020.
“Securing trust licenses is not easy business. It took Aegis up to 20 months to secure a trust license in the U.S.,” said Serra.
Aegis Custody set up offices in Taiwan, eager to look for engineering talents here. Apart from abundant talents, green debts are also what Aegis has in mind for their new business portfolio.
The Taiwanese government is taking the initiative to promote green energy as a substitute and sits in the top five in terms of green energy investment. “In Taiwan, we are optimistic about incorporating green loans into our asset digitization product,” said Serra.
With green loans, e-commerce loans, and NFT artwork as Aegis Custody’s main services, as well as international markets that span from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the U.S., Aegis Custody is set to bridge traditional and digital asset worlds with DeFi.