When considering the most interesting regions with respect to cryptocurrency, Asia should rank high on any list. From China’s ICO ban to South Korea’s pullback to Hong Kong’s embrace, the continent exhibits a variety of approaches to it.
Enter Remitano, a Vietnamese startup helping cryptocurrency traders to efficiently transact. Available in Canada, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Cambodia and China, Remitano also provides remittance services.
CEO Dung Huynh said Remitano was founded to provide a safe way for Vietnamese cryptocurrency traders to safely and effectively transact in a country where many scams have occurred. They also wanted to create an international remittance service that accepted Bitcoin.
“The business model is working well in Vietnam,” Mr. Huynh said. “We are expanding the business internationally.”
When designing Remitano the founders had to take extra precautions to protect clients from hacks, a common occurrence in Vietnam, VP Phuong Nguyen said. They also wanted to provide strong transparency as a way to combat criticism that cryptocurrencies were largely a haven for illegal activity.
Remitano ensures participants have both the cash and cryptocurrency before settling transactions. Additional verification layers including documentation provision and address confirmation.
Mr. Nguyen said he believes cryptocurrencies will ultimately replace traditional money. What is needed until then is the ability to easily use crypto for common uses like paying bills.
“We let people go between those worlds,” he said.
In some instances it is easier to use cash while in others cryptocurrency makes more sense, Mr. Nguyen added. That is why providers need to make it easy for users to transact in both. Over time they should consider adding other cryptocurrencies such as Tether, Litecoin and Ethereum should demand rise.
Mr. Nguyen said his general impression is many governments will try and shut down cryptocurrency activity. China has shuttered many exchanges and Vietnam is considering making crypto payments an illegal activity.
“They will try and arrest first but I believe they will shift to regulation,” he predicted. Regulation is a risky step for a cryptocurrency market founded on the principle of deregulation, but the combination of stretched government revenues and cryptocurrency’s increasing use make it inevitable they’ll try and figure out a way to play along, he believes.
“The government will try and suppress cryptocurrency for a while so they can retain control over the money supply, but if (the traditional system) collapses, they’ll take it more seriously and accept it as a currency like Japan has,” Mr.Nguyen said, while suggesting we could see cryptocurrency’s widespread acceptance in five years.
Mr. Nguyen also believes most steps necessary to foster global acceptance have already been taken. Smartphone sophistication and wallet technology are ready for the challenge.
“What is necessary has already been done,” he said. “It just needs growth, which doesn’t come in a linear fashion but exponentially.
“That time will come in one or two years when you will see a whole different game.”
Bitcoin has the potential to revolutionize payments in Africa more than M-Pesa, Mr. Nguyen said. While M-Pesa’s benefits are mostly limited to the African continent, Bitcoin can help people and businesses transact on a global scale.
He also believes Bitcoin has only started its value appreciation, saying he wouldn’t be surprised if its unit price reached $1 million. He acknowledges that such speculation also limits Bitcoin’s potential, as most are using it as a value store and not a currency.
“We need to have a well-liquidated market on both sides.”
Remitano offers remittance services in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Australia and the United States.