Bitcoin Thailand 2023: Unraveling the Road to Adoption
On 15th July, I attended the Bitcoin Thailand 2023 conference in Bangkok. The event’s theme was the “Road to Adoption,” and many of the first panels of the day focused on the regulatory landscape in Southeast Asia.
Navigating the Regulatory Terrain and Remittance Revolution
The dynamic between Bitcoin’s free, open-source nature and the perceived positive impact on Bitcoin’s adoption by regulatory clarity sparked exciting discussions among the panelists.
On the one hand, one of Bitcoin’s key features is that it can exist and grow independently from any regulatory interference. On the other hand, many experts think that hostile regulation seriously slows Bitcoin’s mass adoption.
For example, using bitcoin as an investment asset is acceptable for Thai regulators, but its use as a payment method is not. Nonetheless, Bitcoin’s emerging 2nd layer payments technology, Lightning, is increasingly used in Thai Bitcoin events, cafes, and bars.
The CEO of the Lightning company Neutronpay, Albert Buu, gave solid examples of how Bitcoin and Lightning work to send close-to-free international payments from one country to another. Southeast Asia receives significant remittance payments from people working in the USA, Europe, and the Middle East.
The prevalent way is to use old-school services, such as Western Union, that can take double-digit margins for these remittance payments. In addition, people often must visit Western Union offices on both ends of the transaction, which adds friction and security risk for the people involved.
With Lightning, sending value from smartphone to smartphone with less than a 1% fee is a game-changer for remittances as the adoption of Lightning-based Bitcoin services increases.
Debating Bitcoin Maximalism and Unveiling Funding Options
The afternoon sessions included an inspiring panel by Bitcoin influencers about the so-called toxic Bitcoin maximalism, which refers to a particular hard-core cohort of Bitcoiners who view everything else than Bitcoin in the digital asset space as an unnecessary distraction at best.
The New Zealand-based Bitcoin rap artist Tip made a strong point on how Bitcoin differs from the so-called altcoins: Bitcoin is the only digital asset that, at its core, cannot be coerced by any powerful entity. Every other project has a team, foundation, or inbuilt technical vulnerabilities that powerful entities can exploit.
Bitcoin has 14 years of history of being attacked by the digital asset community itself, like during the famous blocksize wars, and the world superpowers, such as China, with zero effect on Bitcoin’s core functionality.
One of the insightful panels discussed the funding landscape for Bitcoin-focused companies. While the whole VC-funding market is experiencing a slowdown, Bitcoin builders and companies still have access to several complimentary funding options.
The CEO of Geyser, Mick Morucci, presented his crowdfunding-based model, which allows creative people and teams to post their idea on the Geyser website, and interested users can then send satoshis (One satoshi equals one 100 millionth of one bitcoin) directly to the creatives to fund the project.
The Strategy Associate from the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), Alex L, gave exciting information on how the HRF can give no-strings-attached grants to people and a team focused primarily on expanding Bitcoin’s privacy and censorship resistance.
The Bitcoin-focused VC Louis Liu from Mimesis Capital gave the audience valuable tips on how to get a VC interested in their startup. Unsurprisingly, he emphasized the founding team’s strength and the business idea’s clever positioning as some of the best indicators for future success.
Traditional Businesses Embrace Bitcoin and Closing Reflections
At the exhibition, I was happy to see more traditional businesses, such as craft beer brewing and premium coffee shops, having bitcoin-minded leaders. For example, the Thai craft beer pioneer Chit gave samples of their delicious products to thirsty conference-goers.
Many Bitcoin experts are celebrating the growing institutional adoption of Bitcoin by the world’s most significant asset manager Blackrock.
Still, the increasing grass-roots use of Bitcoin for payments and remittances is an equally exciting aspect of the revolution Bitcoin unleashes on the finance world. The Bitcoin Thailand Conference was a fantastic forum for exploring both aspects.
Would you be interested in knowing more about this topic? Please feel free to contact me.
CEO, Oivan Group