The blockchain technology industry in Asia is continuously thriving. However, in China, the government is still firm in its position against cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, as it debates whether to launch its own homegrown cryptocurrency in the country. Moreover, the country is still relatively new to blockchain and related activities. Many experts have voiced their opinion that China may be considering the use of blockchain, but with the benefits of the government and government control ultimately being the driving force.
This technologically advanced modern nation is considered one of the hubs of cryptocurrency and blockchain. With an economy that is highly focused on the service industry, Singapore is set to become the center of blockchain technology, with its prime geography in the region. Its government has launched measures to promote and support the rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain through many activities, including the Sandbox project offered to blockchain-related startups in the country, where entrepreneurs are provided with the opportunity to carry out their business ideas. Moreover, tax laws in Singapore are business friendly, which is another advantage for the development of the crypto and blockchain industry.
An official from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), better known as Singapore’s central bank, Ravi Menon has stated that up to 50 startups in Singapore are developing numerous blockchain-based technologies. Meanwhile, blockchain-related startups are attracting venture capitalists looking to put their investment in the latest technologies. Research is also being carried out by local universities in the country, and potential use for blockchain is being studied by firms dealing in the technology industry.
The Indonesian government allows its citizens to trade cryptocurrencies in exchanges as well as own cryptocurrencies. However, it has yet to raise the ban on using cryptocurrencies as legal tender. On the other hand, the government has embraced blockchain technology with open arms, as most commercial banks in Indonesia have expressed interest in blockchain technology and indicated that they are seeking ways to put the technology to practical use in their operations. The reason for the embrace of blockchain technology is due to its ability to track down bad loans.
Several startups have already offered services related to blockchain, such as Blockchain Zoo, a blockchain consultant and provider of materials and information about blockchain applications, as well as supply chain management and anti-fraud measures. Groups advocating the awareness of blockchain technology include the homegrown Blockchain Network.
To many, Japan is a powerhouse in the region, with its numerous businesses in various industries. Unsurprisingly, the country is currently one of the pioneers of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency in Asia. In May 2016, the Japanese administration approved a law that recognizes cryptocurrency as another currency on the market, pushing the value of Bitcoin from $22 million in 2014 to $97 billion in 2017. However, the current volume is lower than in previous periods.
Companies across Japan have been proactively developing technology and applications for blockchain and cryptocurrency. It has been reported that the largest bank in Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), has joined hands with Akamai, a technology company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to work on a blockchain system that can bring down the cost of payments while also focusing on increasing the speed of its operations. Also, in early 2018, a financial services and assets group which had previously raised 30 billion yen in funding for a fintech project in December 2015 called SBI Group, announced that it intends to raise $450 million in venture capital funds that would be invested in blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence development. The overall sentiment in Japan is that investors agree that industrial sectors will be able to reap more benefits from the application of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Companies and startups in Thailand have been paying attention to the recent growth in blockchain technology. Traditional companies such as Thailand Post have reportedly applied blockchain technology in identifying expensive items since the beginning of 2018. Moreover, the Thai government has debated amending a resolution to the 2001 Electronic Transactions Act, which would allow blockchain technology to play a bigger role in the country’s economy. Meanwhile, Thailand’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) has been seeking ways to use smart contracts powered by blockchain technology.
Blockchain technology has been embraced in many sectors, including the banking sector. One of the oldest banks in the country, Siam Commercial Bank, has announced the application of a Ripple-powered solution, which will enable the bank’s customers to carry out real-time transactions between Thailand and Japan. One of the largest banks in the country, Kasikorn Bank, has joined hands with IBM Blockchain to deliver a “completely paperless” Letter of Guarantee network. The bank forecast that with this technology, the issuance of electronic Letters of Guarantee will have risen by 35% by the end of 2018, with 5% of all transactions carried out with blockchain issuance.
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