Yat Siu is no stranger to controversy. Over the years, the serial technology entrepreneur has been kicked off the App Store, delisted from a stock exchange and has clashed with his auditors.
But Siu, through his Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands vehicle, has become the pre-eminent investor in the world of blockchain-based gaming, presented by its promoters as the next big thing in the global games industry.
He has sold his backers a vision of digital property rights in video games, where players can own their in-game items as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) recorded via blockchain, earn as they play, and profit from trading with other players. The collision of crypto and gaming has been one of the most-hyped potential uses for blockchain technology.
As crypto boomed in 2021, the 49-year-old rode the speculative wave as Animoca sold NFTs linked to a portfolio of investments in almost 400 start-ups. A funding round in 2022 featured a $5.9bn valuation and the backing of some of the leading names in the investment world.