The Founder and Chief Capitalist at MAS Capital (名资) and MASFi (名资链) and HashBrownSwap(薯饼交易所）, Aaron Tsai (蔡逸群), is well versed in entrepreneurial ventures and experiences. He is known to be a visionary and a pioneer in the financial industry in the mid-1990s and once again in the security token industry and related technical platforms today. In fact, he is so much more than this; it’s perhaps more interesting to learn about his journey — even failures and challenges — when he first started in the technology scene in the early 1990s.
The best way to learn is always through experience. This can be applied in all aspects of life and especially in the world of entrepreneurship. A true entrepreneur knows the value of experience— even failures can contribute to substantial successes in the future. Anything can be a stepping stone, and each block, each hurdle, can lead to increased skills, expanded capabilities, and better decision-making process.
Learnings from the dot-com boom and bust
From 1988 to 1990, Aaron attended the NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business. It was during the dot-com boom when he entered the tech scene by launching two companies in Silicon Valley: American Multimedia, Inc., and Multi Access Systems, Inc. or “MAS”. He also acquired a notebook computer company ACOM, through a reverse-merger via Aimex International Corp., a public shell company.
ACOM went bankrupt during an IPO attempt, and as with many dot-com companies, American Multimedia and MAS were also unsuccessful.
Armed with experiences in innovation and acquisition through a shell company, Aaron continued his next set of ventures, particularly as a successful Wall Street investment banker. He launched MAS Capital Inc. as a holding company, which operated MAS Capital Securities, Inc., a SEC
–registered security broker-dealer.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal Article on October 29, 1999, Aaron “is at the leading edge of a resurgence in “blank check.” or shell companies…”. Aaron had mastered the art and science of establishing public shell companies to taking private companies public through this structure — 101 public shell companies in total, controlling nearly a quarter of the 400+ shell companies on Wall Street, earning him the moniker “King of Shells”.
These profound experiences in securities encouraged Aaron Tsai to found MAS Capital Group, Inc. as a financial advisory business, managed by a team of financial professionals in Asia.
2017 and 2018 have been a critical point for entire industries, as digital token offerings were bringing value to businesses crowdfunding for their capital. Despite billions of dollars being invested into Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), there was a lack of proper due diligence from investors on these ICO projects for raising funds.
After the dotcom bubble burst, Aaron’s first Nasdaq IPO became successful. This is when the Nasdaq Composite Index crashed from a high of 5408 to a low of 1400. In June 2002 he completed a US$10.5 million IPO for BioDelivery Sciences (Nasdaq: BDSI), which merged with MAS Acquisition XXIII Corp., a public shell company that Aaron created. He was able to do this by securing an IPO underwriter and participating in IPO roadshows, while the company was pre-revenue with only patent rights to a new drug delivery technology.
He saw further innovation is necessary in the financial industry, and it was in August 2018 when Aaron formed MASEx (名交所), a global universal exchange for secondary trading of Security Token Offerings (STOs), with a registered representative office in Taipei.
The main challenge of STOs is regulatory compliance and checks of the governments, which are also subject to due diligence by investment banks and investors. This assures investors and regulators of the quality of the equity or asset backed securities offered by the companies.
At a keynote speech at the Security Token Summit in Los Angeles in April 2019, Aaron called for an urgent decentralization and regulation of STOs:
“We are going through a seismic shift that extends across the entire financial industry. This will disrupt the existing oligopoly of financial institutions in banking, securities and fund management sectors. Regulators must rise to the occasion.”
Aaron Tsai highlights how this new STO, tokenization of all asset categories and global trading solutions would bring about a geographic shift in financial power:
“As we enter a new decade, do not be surprised to see the largest STO exchange in the world based in Asia or China.”
Since November 2019, MASEx has gone live and Aaron Tsai aims to grow the financial market and STO ecosystems by engaging emerging economies through MASEx’s AI-driven decentralized financial platform — thus enabling more participation from the underbanked populations. To further its aim to innovate the securities market, MASEx recently acquired a blockchain technology team in Taipei to lead and empower a next generation decentralized exchange with instantaneous digital asset transfers, including assets such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Tether (USDT).
Note: Below is the uncropped version of the newspaper screenshots above