In January 2022, Singaporean entrepreneurs Elroy Cheo and Kiat Lim announced their plans to launch ARC.
The duo are both sons of Singaporean business tycoons. Cheo hails from the family behind edible oil company Mewah International. His father Dr. Tong Choon Cheo currently runs the company, which is now valued at over half a billion US dollars.
On the other hand, Lim is the son of billionaire Peter Lim, who is currently the 15th richest man in Singapore. Peter accumulated his wealth as one of Singapore’s leading stockbrokers and now has a net worth exceeding US$2.5 billion.
Venturing into a business of their own, Lim and Cheo looked to leverage on the rise of Web 3. They aimed to create an exclusive community in the metaverse called ARC. It’d be a place for “thrivers and dreamers”, where Asia’s brightest entrepreneurs, artists, and influencers could network and collaborate.
Community members will be able to access ARC with their NFTs. This is a model being adopted widely today, with NFTs being used as access keys for a variety of events, from virtual dance parties to physical festivals such as Coachella.
“We are a private community that is app-based, with NFTs as proof of membership,” explains Cheo. Although it isn’t apparent at first glance, their approach is quite different from established NFT collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Cool Cats.
What sets ARC apart?
The big difference is that we are concerned about the curation of our community, first and foremost. Our community is made up of a collection of people who represent Asia’s dynamic and purpose-driven generation.
– Elroy Cheo, co-founder of ARC
This includes people from a variety of fields, from influencers and content creators, to developers and venture capitalists.
While projects such as BAYC built their community around their NFTs, ARC is doing it the other way around. They’re using NFTs as a way to instil a greater sense of belonging among members.
“NFTs are a critical way to coordinate our community’s interests towards shared goals,” says Cheo.
As such, it’s integral that those who are a part of ARC bring value to the space. Their NFTs aren’t meant for speculators simply looking to resell at higher prices.
“ARC members get access to exclusive events and experiences, as well as offline locations such as partner merchants or establishments owned by other members.”
Along with this, members will also receive a passport to the ARC metaverse and early access to other projects and artists’ works.
Can’t this be done without NFTs?
It’s a question which has been posed to many projects in the space. Often times, NFTs can come off as a gimmick used to monetise a glorified group chat. Why use NFTs instead of a conventional payment or subscription model?
ARC chose to use NFTs as it creates a higher sense of ownership and identity among people. We think that tokenisation is an eventuality, not a ‘nice-to-have’ feature. NFTs are an enabler which will fundamentally change the way people interact and share value.
– Elroy Cheo, co-founder of ARC
That being said, NFTs won’t be the only way to be a part of ARC. Although they’re becoming an integral part of the Web 3 space, the team understands that they aren’t widely accepted in the traditional world yet.
For ARC to live up to its intentions, it needs to cater to both sides. As such, the project aims to be a bridge between the virtual and real worlds.
“We want to connect the Web 2 and Web 3 people and communities,” he adds.
Navigating an uncertain future
As they look to make their mark on the metaverse, the ARC founders are careful not to put all their eggs into one basket, as seen from their decision to use NFTs in conjunction with other enabling tools.
ARC already exists as a Web 2 application where users can sign up as they would on traditional social media platforms, with their name and email.
This lends to an interesting idea wherein Web 3 isn’t treated as a successor to Web 2. Rather, the two forms co-exist and users are free to operate where they feel most comfortable.
“At ARC, NFTs are used to enable access to exclusive experiences and shared ownership of projects,” says Cheo. Along with that, he also acknowledges that there are other vehicles which can be used, in conjunction, to serve the same purpose.
With this project, both Cheo and Lim are excited to explore a space which is dynamic and ever-changing.
“That is why ARC is such an exciting project. Each challenge spurs us to continue to innovate and strengthen our platform and community.”
Besides ARC, Lim has also launched another Web3 project called CO92 DAO. It was created to allow football fans to own a stake in the sport. The project is back by renowned football players such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Gary Neville.
The future of Web3, at the very least, promises to be exciting. And for those looking to be a part of it, Singapore seems just the place to be.
Featured Image Credit: ARC