Bitcoin Vietnam Part 2: Asia Is on the Way to Be the Financial Center of the World

Vietnam BitcoinThis is the second part of Coin News Asia’s exclusive three-part interview with Dominik Weil, co-founder of Bitcoin Vietnam. You may read the first part here.

Advantages of Operations

Well – there is a lot of other Bitcoin start-ups out there, so it would be a kind of pretentious to declare that we have this or that killer feature in our team / products, which absolutely nobody else has. Otherwise: I think we have a pretty good mix in the team – with 2 Vietnamese Co-Founders & 2 foreign Co-Founders – while 1 Vietnamese Co-Founder & 1 foreign Co-Founders is based in Vietnam, while the other two Co-Founders are located in the strategically important regional hub in Singapore as well as in Europe. This mix also allows us to build a broad network of partnerships & contacts – as well as in the international Bitcoin community over nearly all continents – as on the ground with the local Vietnamese merchants, media, authorities and regular clients – not to forget the notable expat community in Saigon, which is home of an ever-growing population of digital nomads (naturally due to their tech affinity & borderless lifestyle one of the first groups likely to adopt Bitcoin on a larger scale). The advantages to operate it? Well, it is – despite the usual hardships of running a bootstrapped start-up – definitely more challenging and rewarding, then wasting your lifetime in a normal 9- to-5-office job, where you sell your time  – the most precious asset every one of us has – to realize somebody else’ dreams.

How Bitcoin Can Be Mainstream

Well, we are still in the very early days of this technology. So much more infrastructure has to be build – and it’s happening, but things don’t just happen overnight.

If you look how much the Bitcoin ecosystem and also the broader perception evolved over the last 2 years – I think that’s a very, very positive trend so far. Back in 2013, Bitcoin was for the mainstream still a complete joke; Internet drug money, Ponzi scheme… – now the discussions in the media are much more serious about the topic; the perception has shifted to sth. Like: “Yeah, this Bitcoin thing may really have an impact; it may be really a useful innovation.”

Time is playing here for Bitcoin, since the longer the tech stays around and people hear about it over and over again… – they start to have more trust in it; they start to look into it more seriously.

Especially when it comes to put your own time and money on the line… – that is from absolutely huge importance. Even if Bitcoin is still very risky and nobody knows how this is going to play out in the end… – you need to have some basic trust that the likelihood that it is still around the coming years is high enough, to jump into the Cryptosphere yourself.

Going mainstream? That is a whole different discussions though. For now all it matters is that you get a critical mass of the people behind this project; building the infrastructure and applications in a constant trial-and-error-process… – tinkering around to find ways, how to make this Bitcoin thing more useful for the users.

I still see us quite a few years away from really going mainstream. To take again the comparison regarding the Internet: Even in 1998, just 2% of the world population was online back then… – that not much at all – and this was at a time, when also people outside the geeky tech circles of the very early days realized already, that this thing is going to change the world.

It takes time – and the Bitcoin experience for the mainstream users will have for sure a much nicer UX/UI and much smoother applications & processes, than what is now available on the market. The average people most likely will not even use the current Bitcoin address system to send funds; this will be somewhere hidden inside the backend of the apps they are using by then.

It’s a natural development.

The Asian Market

Asia is big, so it’s hard to make a statement, which matters for the whole continent in the same way.

But some of the favourable points are probably (which are for sure mostly relevant to our current location here in Vietnam):  In opposite to Europe (and the Western World in general) you have a very capitalistic & entrepreneurial mindset of the people; so they are always open to learn new things, if it can help them to make more money.

Furthermore, people here have naturally not much trust in banks and fiat currency; wealth is stored in Gold, Real Estate… – so the set-up is much more favourable for Bitcoin – money you have under your own control – than e.g. in the Western World, where people still pretty much trust other people (corporations) to hold their money for them… – they will have to make the bad experience, that it is not a question IF that trust will be broken, but just a question of WHEN.

Finally: The current infra-structure for cross-border payments in Asia is in need of improvement – for an easier flow of goods & services as well as cheaper remittances across borders.

Cross border transactions are in many countries in Asia a topic for nearly every family – e.g. because they receive monetary support from their relatives working abroad – but also the wealthier families, who send their kids abroad to study. This is quite different from Europe / US, where the average person may not have to do more than a handful of cross border transactions in their whole lifetime.

Asia is on the way to become the economic and financial center of the world in the 21st century, so yeah… – there are quite some favourable circumstances, where Bitcoin could help to make economic processes / transactions cheaper / more efficient in the region.

To be continued… 

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