Compared to Europe and North America, bitcoin adoption is still a tad slower in Asia, even though a large portion of bitcoin trading volumes are in China. Cryptocurrency payments haven’t gained much traction in the region, despite the increase in bitcoin remittance services.
Countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia stand to benefit from bitcoin transactions, as the former relies heavily on remittances while the latter has shown demand for Islam-approved non-interest financing. Even so, very few merchants accept cryptocurrency payments and there are no bitcoin ATMs available just yet.
Bitcoin in Asia
One of the factors limiting bitcoin adoption in Asia is the lack of regulation, which then makes investors a bit more cautious about investing in the cryptocurrency or using it for regular transactions. Nonetheless, established bitcoin exchange Coinbase has decided to set up shop in Singapore, one of the region’s largest financial hubs.
Price volatility has also been a constraint, as the constant and large fluctuations make it a less reliable medium of exchange. The lack of awareness and education is also a factor, especially since bitcoin has been associated with its prevalent use in underground markets and money laundering operations.
Experts suggested that cryptocurrency companies seeking to tap into the Asian market must first focus on education campaigns in order to share the potential benefits of using bitcoin. These include lower transaction costs compared to traditional payment methods such as credit or debit cards and reduced exposure to forex risks.
As in other regions, cryptocurrency adoption make take much longer to happen. After all, the shift to online payment systems such as PayPal or Skrill as one of the main modes of fund transfer has taken at least a decade to gain traction. Bitcoin may be taking baby steps in terms of mainstream adoption in Asia but cryptocurrency enthusiasts believe that it will happen sooner or later.