Bubble Or Not, Bitcoin’s Price Surge Is A Boon To Southeast Asia’s Startups // Forbes Asia
Bitcoin has taken its investors on a wild ride in recent months. Just this week, prices soared to more than $11,300, then fell back to around $9,000. Some experts speculate that the Bitcoin boom is a bubble, while others predict that its value could continue to rise. Whatever happens, there are those in the Southeast Asian tech scene who predict that cryptocurrency startups will be winners either way.
“Bitcoin appearing in the headlines due to its price has definitely driven a lot of attention and awareness to the space, even if it’s just simple curiosity about what Bitcoin is and how it can be used,” says Justin Leow, head of business operations at the Manila-based Coins.ph. “At Coins, it’s definitely a starting point for many new customers who come to our platform to learn more about the technology, and soon thereafter, how they can use it [to] save time and money on their everyday financial errands.”
Leow sees the Bitcoin frenzy as an opportunity to introduce the concept of cryptocurrencies to developing markets such as the Philippines, though he notes that the developed world is still in need of an education as well. “Cryptocurrencies still remain fairly niche even in the most developed countries, so to the extent that the general public can become more aware of them is a good thing,” Leow says. “However, I believe that it is also worth spending the extra effort in communicating that there are many uses and [a] much larger story behind Bitcoin aside from just a rapidly appreciating asset price, which I think people tend to focus solely on.”