Telum Talks To... Samantha Yap, Founder and CEO of YAP Global
This week, Telum caught up with Samantha Yap, a former Journalist in Southeast Asia who is now the founder of, YAP Global, a FinTech, blockchain and cryptocurrency focused PR firm based in London. Samantha tells us why she made the switch to PR and shares insights into the FinTech industry.
You started your career as a journalist before making the switch to do PR. Can you tell us more about your background and what attracted you to FinTech PR?
It was a childhood dream of mine to work as a foreign correspondent in Indonesia. I was thrilled when I got my first full-time job in journalism at Channel NewsAsia in Singapore. Two years later, I left to fulfil my goals by freelance reporting in Indonesia. It was only a short stint because several months later I was poached by a PR agency in Melbourne to join their FinTech team.
I knew very little about finance before entering that role, but after a few weeks I started getting used to some of the jargon and I’m still learning today. It was in that role where I began working with clients in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry and fell down “the rabbit hole” learning about the wonderful world of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. That was in 2017 too, around the time the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) craze took off and the Bitcoin price rallied to reach an ‘all-time-high’ gaining mainstream media attention.
Tell us more about YAP Global, what kinds of clients do you work with and where?
YAP Global is an international PR agency specialising in helping meaningful FinTech, blockchain technology and cryptocurrency companies tell their stories. Our mission is to build a bridge between quality journalism and emerging technology startups. We take time to not only fully grasp the complexities of blockchain technology & cryptocurrencies but also educate the media about how it and highlight its power to change the world.
We work with major leaders in the FinTech, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry around the world. Notable clients we’ve worked with include, CoinDesk, Bitmain, FTX, Band Protocol and more.
Our team is remote and global with team members in Australia, London, Berlin and Paris. We like to say we essentially offer PR 24 / 7 coverage.
You are now based in London - how connected is the FinTech, blockchain & cryptocurrency community between Singapore and Southeast Asia and markets like the UK and US?
The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is quite interconnected regardless of geographic location due to the way company organisations work. By nature, Bitcoin is distributed and decentralised, and companies in this industry have developed this way too. Even crypto media publications have remote organisational structures so there really are no borders in terms of community building across Singapore, Southeast Asia, UK and US.
The only thing that the industry lacked in 2020 were physical events. Thanks to virtual conferences and online community groups, mainly on Twitter and Telegram, the industry has still remained connected throughout this global pandemic.
Fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency are seen as disruptors - what are the challenges in doing PR & marketing for companies in those spaces?
The main challenge is addressing the knowledge gap of blockchain technology between companies and journalists. We see ourselves as the translators and messengers about this technology that is still so nascent. I’m particularly proud of my team’s skills and abilities to truly spend time researching, learning and breaking down really complex technical concepts then make it easy for the media to understand.
The other challenge is the relatively small, niche, yet developing media landscape for blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Currently, we regard the top tier crypto media publications to be CoinDesk, The Block, CoinTelegraph and Decrypt Media among a few others. All of these publications are still young and have the incredibly difficult task of keeping up with this rapidly evolving industry which means sometimes the quality of journalism is undermined. Navigating around the speed vs accuracy is the great dilemma of crypto media today.
We have the Singapore Fintech Festival this week - what trends are you expecting to see from the festival and in the FinTech blockchain & cryptocurrency space going into 2021?
With Bitcoin gaining traction from large players such as Paypal and Square in 2020 and the rise of interest in Central Backed Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and Stablecoins, we will see more talk of these topics going into 2021.
Decentralised Finance (DeFi) tools exploded in 2020, and while it’s still relatively complex to understand to the average user, we’ll see this evolve and further mature in 2021.
Bitcoin price reaching an all-time high towards the end of 2020 indicates that the long hoped for mass adaption of the crypto industry is closer than we think. It's best for PRs and journalists in the technology or FinTech industry to start learning more about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies if they haven't delved into it yet.