Vincent Choy, the Ecosystem Architect of Oz Finance, tells us how Oz provides individuals and projects the opportunity to operate virtually or physically in tax-free, privacy-protected, DAPP-friendly zones.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Oz Finance?
Vincent Choy: I have been in business for a pretty long time. Our family business is in Oil and Gas, which I was involved in from age 14. Personally, I have started a conference and exhibition company, an import/export business, an energy solutions company, a renewable energy company, a fintech company, and 2 NGOs. I have worked on projects that span 33 countries over the past 20 years. I got involved in the blockchain industry about 7 years ago, starting with mining rigs, and an obsession with applications of the technology in businesses and how it can potentially change the way many businesses operate. It culminated with the establishment of the Blockchain Center of Excellence and Education (BCEE) with KADIN, the state-owned Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Indonesia, as a working group to provide training and thought leadership on how blockchain technology can be incorporated into Indonesian business models and what new opportunities that could bring. I ended up advising several projects around the region, including re-imagining the public transportation system and business for Thailand for a publicly-listed company and the creation of a Carbon Credit Trading system based on integrating Industrial 4.0 technologies and Blockchain.
When Jin shared with me his vision for Oz, I saw its potential to make a real difference and was very excited to be able to join Oz as a co-founder. It was exactly the type of project that I was looking to build—the type of project that can impact lives and disrupt things for future generations. The groundwork that he had put into the regulatory and legislative space to enable the building of Oz to fit in very nicely with the work I had been doing on circular economies and blockchain-based applications, and that allowed us to launch our very first product from Oz—TOTOZ, the world’s first Residency-Enabled Token.
How does Oz Finance innovate?
Vincent Choy: Besides simply focusing on developing technology for technology’s sake, we innovate by taking a more holistic approach to the application of our blockchain technology. There are now thousands of functions and capabilities for blockchain technology and applications. To drive impactful and practical innovation, we ask ourselves the question, “how do we take the capabilities of blockchain applications and create products that can impact the lives of our users and communities today?”
By combining the tokenomics of fixed supply tokens with staking mechanisms, smart contracts, and paradigm-shifting applications of regulations, we were able to create a utility for our cryptocurrency that anyone and everyone can use and benefit from. The value proposition of TOTOZ utility: legally reduce your taxes; gain privacy protections; gain regulatory certainty with respect to your digital assets. Who doesn’t want this? The valuable utility combined with reducing circulating supply through the application of the utility will trigger value creation and growth for everybody in the ecosystem as long as people continue to want to live a tax-free, privacy-protected, wealth-protected life.
TOTOZ is just the beginning. Oz will continue to innovate and build value for our community through more useful applications of blockchain technology and business models.
Why the Philippines? What is so special about the ecozone there?
Vincent Choy: Many people do not know this, but the Philippines is one of the most progressive places in the world when it comes to adopting blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. It’s the only place I know where, as far back as 2019, you can walk into the lobby of a fully-licensed commercial bank and use a bitcoin ATM to purchase bitcoins. This, combined with the fact that the Philippines is the 2nd largest country in the world for special economic zones (SEZs), makes the Philippines the ideal place to host our first collaboration and project. Moreover, SEZs in the Philippines fall directly under the Office of the President, giving us more leeway to negotiate better conditions and terms for our community without going through a huge bureaucratic machine. Our partner ecozone, the Freeport Area of Bataan, is one of the largest and most progressive of all the ecozones in the Philippines. And usually, where they lead, others will follow.
Who is the target audience of Oz Finance? Who can stake a token?
Vincent Choy: Our initial target audience for the residency benefits are mainly 2 groups of people. One group of people are entrepreneurs whose businesses are location independent and would like to reduce their tax bills. Digital entrepreneurs, digital service providers, and digital nomads fit this bill precisely. The other group of people who will immediately benefit from our token is traders and investors who trade in location-independent assets like cryptocurrencies, forex, and bonds.
There are 58 million millionaires in the world, 5.2 million of which were minted just over the past year. Many of these millionaires are looking for opportunities to legally reduce their tax bills and even find alternative places to stay and work. We have a simple solution that is easy to adopt, even easier to use, and offer total asset portability.
But it’s not just for millionaires; that’s the best part of our TOTOZ tokens. Everyone can aspire to a tax-free, privacy-protected, wealth-protected life. They simply need to hold on to their tokens, actively promote the project and ask more people to join Oz, increase demand for residency, and they will soon be able to join the ranks once their token value increases.
Tell us more about the benefits of the TOTOz utility token?
Vincent Choy: TOTOZ’s utility is unlike any other in the world today. There is no other token whose utility will immediately change your life for the better. We are simply offering access to residency benefits through staking your TOTOZ tokens in your own wallet and locking up your tokens, access to residency benefits including the right to live and work in any of our partner countries, tax-free living, and privacy protections and regulatory cover for digital assets and cryptocurrencies. Our first partner country is the Philippines, and we are in talks with over 10 countries to expand our program.
And this is not a theory. Our utility is already practical and live. We have welcomed our first individual resident, Daniel, a Singaporean, and our first corporate resident, Emile, an American, over 2 months ago and ran through the entire process all the way to them getting a stamp on their passport, officially recognizing them as residents of the Freeport Area of Bataan, and the Philippines.
What are the current trends in the industry, and how fast do they change?
Vincent Choy: The industry is still young and growing. I have been in the industry since 2016, and that’s already considered a long time, although it was only 7 years ago! We see more serious projects coming into the market nowadays, and it has developed a certain level of maturity from the ICO boom of 2017-2018. However, I think that the industry still has a long way to go. Unfortunately, too many projects are scamming people for money, rug-pulls, or simply lacking in economic and market fundamentals. And because of this, and also because the industry has grown too big to ignore, there will be an increasing prevalence of regulators wanting to come in and regulate the market. Unfortunately, where regulations are concerned, this is a world of the blind leading the blind. For the near future, regulations surrounding digital assets and cryptocurrencies will be messy, a hodgepodge of theoretical solutions that are not going to be particularly useful, and totally random. Therefore, it is more important than not for Oz to help shape that conversation through cooperation with government entities and experimentation with SEZs. We need sensible, commercially driven regulatory solutions that can not only achieve their function of protecting consumers and investors but also not stifle innovation and growth. In a sandboxed environment, SEZs are perfect for observation and experimentation without fear of destabilizing the broader financial markets. And Oz is key.
How do you see the future of Oz? What are the next steps for the company?
Vincent Choy: There is so much to do for Oz, and the future will be intense! Our company is a lot more than just providing residency to people who want it. TOTOZ is one of Oz’s first products, which has a clear and highly sought-after utility. We are developing our core pillars, focusing on creating a technology platform, refining our regulatory framework, and building a treasury to add value to SEZs around the world. In order to do that, we are transitioning into a DAO, setting up the governance structure, and registering in Switzerland, Dubai, and other major world financial centers.
We are building our network and getting into discussions with multiple countries around the world to join Oz and expand our collaboration to special economic zones in multiple countries. Our target is to have at least 3 countries within the Oz network by the end of this year and at least 5 countries by the end of next.
We are building our community, expanding interest in our project and our residency benefits, promoting our project to the rest of the world, and growing our supporters. So, if this all sounds interesting to you, I would encourage everyone to find us on Telegram (https://t.me/ozfinance) and ask me any questions.
We have several large announcements around partnerships in the next couple of months, so keep your eyes on our project developments!
Your final thoughts?
Vincent Choy: I am very excited to be able to be part of a project that brings real-world utility to the crypto industry, a token that, when used, changes the lives of the user in a significant way. I think there need to be more projects like this in the market for users. The utility is what is going to drive forward the adoption of the blockchain industry, and we must constantly be producing tokens that deliver REAL utility.