Last year, we saw the highest amount of investment made to the financial technology space in the past half-decade. At the same time, it was more than double what it was in 2017. This huge growth was due to a few giant-sized deals and startup acquisitions by big players, as well as new technology entering the sector such as blockchain.
In 2017 there was a huge mania surrounding cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings that had pushed up investments in the sector. However, since then, cryptocurrencies have declined sharply due to regulatory scrutiny, leading to the extinction of many. Despite this, the aggregate deal value in the space last year only saw a slight decrease over 2017. This was due to a higher number of smaller sized deals by soberer institutional investors who saw opportunities for more efficacious utilization of blockchain technology.
Experts explained that many of the blockchain deals we saw in 2018 were all focused on crypto infrastructure and services. Following this train of thought, it is safe to assume that we will see more and more investments in companies that are dedicated to building specific blockchain products and solution this year.
Within Asia, the Asia-Pacific region is quickly becoming the center stage for many blockchain startups and the aforementioned investments. The reasons behind APAC’s superiority as a place for blockchain companies lie in several unique features. First, it is home to a tenth of the global population and ranks as the fifth largest economic bloc. At this same time, this massive market still suffers from highly inadequate traditional banking services. What this means however is that countries from this region are perfect for alternative financial solutions based on advanced technology like blockchain. Seeing this, it is not surprising that the fintech sector is a major driving force behind the Southeast Asian startup scene.
With the benefits that blockchain companies in this region have over the rest of the world, many promising startups have appeared.
TenX is a Singapore company specializing in cryptocurrency payments. It provides cards and wallets to enable the spending of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin in real situations even if the teller only accepts fiat currency via credit card. Just launched in January 2019 to the Singaporean market, the TenX Pay cards caused a surge in the token’s prices.
Located in Vietnam, TomoChain is a blockchain platform that allows developers to efficiently create stable and secure decentralized applications (DApps) that can be easily scaled. The goal of the platform is to give app developers everywhere around the world access to a global infrastructure, opening up opportunities.
Coins.ph is a digital wallet and mobile payments app company in the Philippines that was founded in 2014, and is one of the first local fintech firms that received a virtual currency (VC) license from the Philippine Central Bank. The company recently announced that they reached over five million customers on its blockchain-powered platform.
Bitkub is a digital asset and cryptocurrency exchange platform based in Bangkok. With a goal of bringing both blockchain and cryptocurrency mainstream, Bitkub provides multi-cryptocurrency wallets, user-friendly technical analysis tools, and alternative cash-out options for businesses that would like to utilize the system.
Considering all of the above, it is safe to say that there is a unique synergy at play in the South East Asian startup scene at the moment. The combination of an untapped market and a favorable regulatory climate has created a paradise for blockchain-based startups. While most markets support ICOs, in Southeast Asia, we are seeing the technology being applied to new frontiers like fintech, payments, banking, rideshare, home share, and even the energy sector.
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Asia Blockchain Review is the largest initiative for media and community building in Asia for blockchain technology. It aims to connect all blockchain enthusiasts on a regional scale and facilitate the technological foundation of blockchain through a range of group discussions, technical workshops, conferences, and consulting programs.
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