Asia Blockchain Review recently spoke to Yusho Liu and Gerry Eng, Co-Founders of Coinhako, a leading digital token wallet service in Southeast Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, Coinhako is backed by prominent investors as well as established venture capital firms such as Boost VC. The co-founders talked about the technology behind Coinhako, its expansion to Vietnam, and its roadmap going forward.
Asia Blockchain Review: Can you tell us about the mission of Coinhako and its long-term goals?
Yusho Liu and Gerry Eng: Launched in 2014, Coinhako was founded with the mission of accelerating access to Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology in Asia. The platform is headquartered in Singapore and opened up a full suite of cryptocurrency services for the Vietnamese market in late 2018.
As a company, Coinhako seeks to create an extensive network across Asia, providing market-leading cryptocurrency gateway services that give everyday consumers easy entry and exit from the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Coinhako already enables this in Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia, providing local fiat currency trade pairings with more than 30 supported cryptocurrencies, competitive prices, high liquidity, and one of the simplest platforms in the region.
ABR: What was the inspiration for founding Coinhako?
YL & GE: Coinhako was founded on the principle of making Bitcoin and blockchain technology as easy as possible for everyone.
Back in 2014, there were few options that allowed you to purchase BTC or get a hold of cryptocurrencies, especially in Southeast Asia. Those that were available were either tailored for more tech-savvy individuals or limited in access. For the most part, cryptocurrencies were either mined or purchased using the US Dollar (USD) on foreign platforms.
Coinhako was first set up in Singapore — providing one of the first Bitcoin (BTC) and Singapore Dollar (SGD) pairings — to fill this gap in demand and provide easy access into the cryptocurrency market with local currencies. The platform has since expanded to Vietnam and Indonesia, providing support for more than 30 cryptocurrencies, exchangeable with local currencies such as the Vietnamese Dong (VND) and Indonesian Rupiah (IDR).
In Vietnam, users can deposit VND directly via bank transfers to trade for BTC and multiple other cryptocurrencies on their Coinhako accounts.
Fiat and cryptocurrency trading aside, the platform has also scaled to provide token-to-token trades on the Coinhako web platform and mobile app — supported both on iOS and Android.
ABR: What are some of the biggest pain points for cryptocurrency exchanges and how have you addressed these issues?
YL & GE: Enabling access into the cryptocurrency market, while maintaining a well-balanced approach that keeps pace with the competitive blockchain landscape and aligned with increasing security and regulatory needs. This is a huge dilemma that all cryptocurrency and blockchain related-platforms face in enabling wider adoption of the technology.
Coinhako prides itself on its simple user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, which has made the platform the go-to choice for hundreds of thousands of users to make their first purchases of Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. A purchase of any supported cryptocurrency can be made in just four steps, with guaranteed liquidity and minimal-to-no knowledge about the functionalities of exchanges — all this is available on Coinhako, with processes that are not only fast (verifications do not take more than one day and can be completed on the Coinhako mobile app) but also in compliance with local blockchain regulations.
Security wise, Coinhako ensures the safety of all user funds by implementing industry best practices and strict internal security policies. Ninety percent of all assets under management are kept in cold storage (offline wallet) to hedge against the risk of systemic-level hacks. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is strongly encouraged across the platform for all users, and the platform is subjected to regular third-party security audits.
ABR: Can you tell us about your plans for Vietnam? What will Coinhako bring to the crypto ecosystem in Vietnam?
YL & GE: Coinhako’s service extension to Vietnam reflects the platform’s commitment to accelerating access to blockchain technology in the region. The blockchain platform will be looking to add support for as many cryptocurrencies as legally possible and increase the aggregate amount of access points to blockchain technology in the Vietnamese market.
While the majority of the world trades heavily on centralized exchanges for liquidity, guaranteed pricing, and reliability, Vietnam continues to be heavily reliant on peer-to-peer (P2P) services for access to blockchain tokens. Coinhako’s entry brings to Vietnam a reputable institution, with years of experience in processing blockchain transactions, that the Vietnamese people can trust.
All these will greatly accelerate Vietnam’s development and transformation into a key player in the regional blockchain scene.
ABR: Why did you choose to enter Vietnam, among other Southeast Asian countries?
YL & GE: Coinhako first set up shop in Vietnam in 2017, as the company looks to tap on the country’s budding tech scene for blockchain talent and set up its technological hub.
The company now hosts over 20 Vietnamese employees — ranging from developers, customer service and business management — at its Ho Chi Minh City office. Months of exposure to Vietnamese culture and market research conducted while establishing ourselves in the country has helped Coinhako identify Vietnam as one of the key markets for the Asian blockchain scene.
High interest, the technological know-how of the Vietnamese people, and the changing cultural attitudes of the younger generations were all key factors reflecting the potential of Vietnam as the next high-growth market and a key player in the regional blockchain scene.
Coinhako had decided to extend its market-leading services to its population of over 90 million, in a bid to improve access for everyone in Vietnam.
ABR: What other projects and developments can we expect to see from Coinhako in 2019-2020?
YL & GE: More countries, more local currencies, and support for more cryptocurrencies are already in the works. Coinhako will also be heavily focused on licensing in all jurisdictions that govern our business to ensure we remain a key player in helping develop the regional blockchain scene through knowledge transfers and service extensions.
Last but not least, we will definitely be looking to expand on our product line for the benefit of all Coinhako users!
ABR: In your opinion, how is cryptocurrency transforming the business landscape in Southeast Asia?
YL & GE: In Vietnam, smartphone ownership is already more than 70% in urban areas and more than 50% in rural areas, with Internet penetration over 50%. Meanwhile, the total number of unbanked Vietnamese remains around 70%. This gap, while staggering, does leave a significant amount of room for technologies and companies hinging on bridging financial gaps — most notably blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies — to grow in Vietnam.
With regional neighbor Singapore coming into prominence as arguably the top global city for blockchain companies, all signs point to Southeast Asia becoming one of the highest growth markets for blockchain companies and technology in the next few years.
Singaporean-grown and market-leading platform Coinhako looks to bring a different brand of cryptocurrency trading that is aligned with both global trends as well as blockchain industry best practices, while helping to develop Vietnam into a key player for the regional blockchain scene. The firm plans to do this through knowledge transfers and extension of its market-leading services to the Vietnamese market.
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