Erza Don Harinsut, more commonly known as Don, is one of the masterminds behind Omise, Southeast Asia’s leading innovative online payment platform. Don co-founded this e-commerce venture in 2013 with his lifelong Japanese friend Jun Hasegawa. While e-commerce was a growing trend in Thailand, many aspects of online payment remained problematic. Eventually, what began as an e-commerce website evolved into a quest for creative solutions that would enable effective cashless payment methods for businesses and merchants. “Basically we decided to build our own payment gateway to serve our e-commerce platform,” says Don.
By 2014 the company decided to leverage blockchain technology to enhance payment systems. “That’s how we got involved with the Ethereum Foundation,” he says. “Ethereum is the second largest digital asset in the world. In terms of market cap, it’s just one step behind Bitcoin. Back then, nobody knew about Ethereum. Its price was probably less than a dollar, but last year it went up to 1,200 bucks.” In an attempt to explore how to effectively adopt blockchain and bundle it with the payments, OmiseGO was established last year. Today it has become an Ethereum-based finance technology generating much buzz, offering decentralised exchange and payment platforms. “OmiseGO is building a network that allows people to exchange or use any type of digital asset on the internet to pay or swap, through our network,” explains Don.
In order to incentivise people to help run the network, OMG (OmiseGO) tokens were launched through initial coin offering (ICO) last year. “We raised around US$25 million,” he says. “But the market cap went over US$2.5 billion, which was a game changer for us. We are in the process of building this network and will hopefully roll it out by the end of this year.” Needless to say, Don has his hands full. “My free time is before 5am,” he laughs. But being an early bird allows him to head to the gym before a busy day commences. He also enjoys reading, unsurprisingly much of it related to blockchain. “It is a constant learning curve,” he says.
(See also: The Can-Do Generation: Meet Jainnisa Kuvinichkul)