Asian Startup Scene – Making Its Mark in a Global Scale

Asian StartupsAsia is home to more than 4 billion people. Roughly 2 of every 3 people on the planet call the continent home. In order to deal with that kind of population density, Asian nations increasingly look to cutting edge technology to solve social, logistical, and financial issues. It should come as no surprise then, that cryptocurrency and blockchain related businesses are fast becoming mainstream, both in emerging economies and the traditional heavy hitters.

Let’s take a look at three Bitcoin related startups that are poised to make a huge impact, both in their home countries and the world at large.

Bitcoin Asia

First on the list is the Philippine startup coins.ph. Veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Hose co-founded coins.ph in 2014 with the goal of serving the chronically underbanked population in the Philippines. Due to the small transaction amounts common in emerging markets traditional banking options are not financially feasible. Coins.ph aims to fill the gap by providing users of their mobile wallet with remittance and ATM services using bitcoin as the exchange medium.

They also intend to make the online economy more accessible for the roughly 95% of Philippine residents without a credit or debit card. Through their mobile app and merchant services any user or business can act as a 2-way atm. Users simply look up the nearest location with either cash or bitcoin on hand and make the transaction in person instantly. Then remitting money or making online purchases is only a few simple steps away.

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Next up on this tour of the Asian cryptocurrency world is Bifubao.com.  This Chinese startup, co-founded by American tech lawyer Jack Wang and Li Xiao Lai, may have found the solution to one of the crypto-economy’s biggest challenges. Trust. Since the high profile Mt. Gox debacle, many people have been hesitant to trust any company with holding the large amounts the digital currency necessary to operate things like a real-time exchange. The problem lies in being able to verify that the coins users deposit are actually being retained.

Coinsph Bitfoo

The Bifubao team have implemented a proof-of-trust system which allows users to confirm the company’s reserve of Bitcoin, while also being able to keep the coins safely in offline storage. This is accomplished by using a system known as the Merkle Tree. This is basically a smaller version of bitcoin’s block chain which verifies all transactions within the company. The advantage to this approach over simply publishing a full hash tree is the ability to confirm the reserves exist without having to expose the entire ledger to the public. If their system works out as planned it could be a huge step toward legitimacy for bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general.

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Last, but by no means least is the Korean company Coinplug. After raising $3.3 million USD in funding by the end of 2014, Coinplug made headlines partnering with Nautilus Hyosung to bring Bitcoin ATMs to Seoul. Now in 2015 they have picked up two new partners in making BTC available to the masses. Coinplug and 7/11 have made it possible for consumers to purchase BTC at the register of any the convenience store’s locations in Korea. They have plans to offer prepaid BTC cards for sale in the near future. Visa is also on board to offer a BTC backed Coinplug debit card which allows users to purchase goods and services anywhere Visa is accepted.

These three startups each have their own unique way through which they can help the residents of their respective countries. Their innovations may end up having effects that reach beyond borders and affecting the way we do banking and finance on a global scale.

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  • coinplug

    Coinplug added some new services lately. Now you can send bitcoins to your buddies using Kakao Talk, WeChat and LINE. This is pretty awesome.Please checkout at https://www.coinplug.com/main.do

  • namor49

    There are many innovative projects coming out of Asia that focus on decentralization of technology using traditional start-ups as a means to get the technology created. It will only be through a combination of decentralized technology and government compliance that any sort of technological evolution will happen.

    Many people want to have some semblance of knowing who established a digital currency, who updates it, and who accepts it. As of now, bitcoin has not earned the trust of most of the globe concerning those issues, and while adoption is speeding up, major financial institutions have started to put billions toward digital currency research and development. While many bitcoin evangelists are upset with big players getting into digital currency, this is really the market at work.

    The market is meant to adopt the best solutions to the problems that arise, and while bitcoin enthusiasts may believe that “bitcoin” is the best digital currency for the globe, the market may dictate otherwise. One of the more forward thinking startups out of Asia is Amilabs Ltd. operating out of Bangkok. They have already successfully created a digital currency that is backed by decentralized gold reserves, and are looking to use their model to create more decentralized-commodity-reserve backed currencies.