Asia Bitcoin Opportunities and Potential. There is great potential for bitcoin in several Asian countries. The potential and benefits that bitcoin offers are unprecedented. Remittance platforms are a hit since most of the populace are unbanked (meaning they don’t have a bank account). Besides price volatility, there aren’t really downsides to accepting bitcoin. All it takes is good engagement and you may very well see measured growth in the cryptocurrency business in Asia. Local regulators and the Asian governments need to embrace bitcoin as opposed to running away from it. If market makers and gateways are allowed to establish themselves completely legally and run ethically, properly and professionally in the region, then bitcoin has a huge potential.
Asia Bitcoin Landscape in Major Countries
China has become the largest market for bitcoin users and miners as Chinese regulators have largely adopted a hands off approach to bitcoin businesses and exchanges. This has been surprising given China’s otherwise conservative controls on its financial markets. Indeed four of the five largest exchanges (based on trade volume) are based in China: Huobi, OkCoin, BTCC, and lakeBTC. Japan also has stated that it will be implementing new cryptocurrency regulations. These include the registration of exchanges with the Financial Services Agency, regular auditing, minimum capital requirements, and identity verification for customers. These regulations are in response to the fallout from the Mt.Gox scandal. Founded in Tokyo in 2010, Mt.Gox was one of the first bitcoin exchanges. The exchange grew rapidly to become the world’s largest, handling 70 percent of all bitcoin transactions by 2013. This meteoric rise came to a crashing halt in 2014, when Mt.Gox filed for bankruptcy following the alleged theft of 750,000 customer bitcoins and an additional 100,000 firm owned bitcoins due to a security software malfunction.
South Koreans are interested in bitcoin for investment purposes. They do not care about the central bank of Korea’s policy. Because they think that the South Korean government will follow the international trend of bitcoin. South Korea has seen a major effort to promote digital currency use, with 7,000 regular ATMs now allowing bitcoin purchases. This is the result of a partnership between Coinplug, a Korean bitcoin exchange, and Nautilus Hyosung, the world’s fourth largest ATM hardware producer. In December 2013 the Bank of Korea moderated its hitherto negative stance, musing on their eventual usage by the general public. While not a seemingly big announcement, it marked a shift in the Korean cryptocurrency landscape. During the same period, Korean bakery chain Paris Baguettes, became the first physical store to accept bitcoin payments.
In India, Bitcoin adoption has had a slow start but awareness is growing rapidly. Bitcoin trade in India grew exponentially and is at an estimated Rs 500 crores per year (A crore is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to ten million). There are around 50,000 Bitcoin wallets in India and around 700-800 Bitcoins are traded everyday. India’s leading law firm Nishith Desai Associates and the Center for Internet and Society, both have published white papers stating that Bitcoins is legal in India under all existing laws. After early adopters, Bitcoins is attracting a new class of users like professionals, HNIs (High Net Worth Individuals) and all institutions. As the Bitcoin community matures, we shall see an increase in the quality of analysis of Bitcoins price. Users are now using bitcoin for eCommerce, airtime top up, paying bills, buying gift vouchers from popular online retail sites.