While Web3 still remains a burgeoning sector, a bold few have dared to take the leap of faith. Ethlas is a company pioneering the development and growth of Web3 gaming — helmed by tech veterans from Silicon Valley.
Among the Ethlas leadership include Wui Ngiap Foo (CEO and co-founder), Gennady “Ari” Medvinsky (CTO and co-founder), Elston Sam (CPO and co-founder), and Nicholas See Tong (CFO), who boast a wealth of experience from tech giants like Grab, Google, and Airbnb.
Venturing into the unknown
In April 2022, Foo became an integral part of the Ethlas team, bringing with him a wealth of experience from his previous role as the Head of Technology at Southeast Asia’s superapp, Grab.
Foo started out his journey as a Credit Suisse Technical Analyst, where he worked on trading algorithms and tools. However, he soon grew disillusioned with Wall Street and found a new opportunity at Google’s newly established APAC headquarters in Singapore, where he helped to set up the APAC Trust and Safety team for Google’s social products like YouTube and Google+.
His passion for building the tech ecosystem in Southeast Asia to become the Silicon Valley of the Asia Pacific region led him to join Grab, where he aided in establishing the Integrity and Security teams from scratch. Foo has been a key member of the Grab team after contributing to Grab’s journey from its early days to its IPO in 2021. Along the way, Wui has held various leadership positions, overseeing functions ranging from engineering to data science to security, and leading a team of over 600 talented individuals.
As an avid gamer himself, Foo sees the immense potential of blockchain technology to revolutionize the gaming industry. By co-founding Ethlas, he has found the perfect avenue to channel his passion for games, marketplaces, and decentralized technologies into disrupting the ways games interact with gamers in the coming years.
His fellow co-founders include Sam, who leads the Product and Growth Strategy at Ethlas, and Medvinsky, whose technical expertise ensures a secure gaming experience for all.
Sam has a proven track record of driving product growth with Airbnb, Chinese e-commerce platform Jumei.com, and most notably Grab, where he led the expansion of the Grab Daily news feed into major markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
He was instrumental in helping Ethlas garner more than 2.5 million gameplays and over 80,000 unique wallet holders within 10 weeks of its launch.
With over two decades of experience in software engineering and security architecture, Medvinsky brings a wealth of expertise to Ethlas. Throughout his career, he has played instrumental roles in developing innovative products and platforms for tech companies including Microsoft, Grab, and Google.
Some of Medvinsky’s notable achievements include leading the team to onboard and integrate the Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) service with Google Cloud, managing a team to develop GrabID — a proprietary authentication system supporting millions of accounts across Southeast Asia — and co-designing an anti-piracy solution for Microsoft Xbox. With these accomplishments, Medvinsky is poised to play a pivotal role in Ethlas’s pursuit of becoming a leading GameFi platform.
Completing the team is See Tong, who spent seven years in banking at both J.P. Morgan Private Bank and Citi Global Markets before deciding to pursue a Web3 career. “Within the span of a few years, the decentralized finance (DeFi) space has imported and innovated upon what Wall Street took decades to do,” said See Tong. “The speed of innovation was phenomenal.”
Moreover, See Tong was convinced by Foo’s open-mindedness and adaptive leadership style. “I told Foo that I was not completely certain that gaming is the best solution to onboard the next billion users into Web3, and Foo mentioned that they were married to the mission, not necessarily the specific means, and we adapt to suit what the users tell us they need,” said See Tong. “This demonstrated that the team was not afraid to make difficult decisions and navigate through challenging situations.”
The vision of Ethlas
Ethlas has set its sights on engineering the future of gaming, positioning itself as a prominent force within the Web3 gaming industry, similar to the achievements of industry giants like Epic Games and Valve.
“The games industry today surpasses the combined market size of the music and movie industries, showcasing the pervasive impact games have on people’s lives worldwide,” said Foo. “Here at Ethlas, we believe in the disruptive power of games to lead the charge for mass adoption of Web3.”
The company already boasts an extensive game portfolio as they strive to make crypto more inclusive, fun and accessible. This includes the recent acquisition of PokPok, a gamified options trading platform.
“Options is a complex financial product with substantial risks, making it difficult for new traders with little capital to access it,” said CFO See Tong.
“Thanks to the advent of blockchain technology and smart contracts, it’s now possible to execute bite-sized trades that would have been financially impractical for traditional banking systems. At the same time, this presents us an opportunity to educate traders on how to efficiently utilize these sophisticated tools.”
Furthermore, Ethlas has developed Ethlas Web Services (EWS), a suite of infrastructure offerings to facilitate game studios bridging from Web2 to Web3 gaming. Some of these services include SeeTrue, a Web3 solution that protects against bot-related risks, and ReadyNFT, an SDK that allows games to integrate playable NFTs from other communities into any Ethlas game. EWS aims to lower the onboarding friction for developers, and ultimately accelerate mass adoption of Web3.
With a diverse team that encompasses a wealth of experiences, Ethlas aspires to leave a lasting legacy in the Web3 era. The launch of the $ELS governance token is the next milestone in realizing this vision. Token holders can actively participate in decision-making processes that shape the company’s future developments.
Simultaneously, these holders have the opportunity to reap the rewards of the growing Ethlas ecosystem, creating a mutually beneficial relationship between Ethlas and its community. For example, staking the $ELS token allows holders to gain membership tiers, which will give discounted prices to purchase digital goods and services on the Ethlas marketplace. The $ELS token will serve as a catalyst for the thriving economy within Ethlas’s growing ecosystem.
“At Ethlas, all of us are builders at heart,” said See Tong. “I look forward to building products that people love, and solving real problems for real people.”
This article was brought to you in partnership with Ethlas. To learn more about Ethlas and their vision for the future of Web3 gaming, follow them on Twitter and Discord, or visit their website for more information.