Asia is arguably now the strongest blockchain region in the world. Korea represents an estimated 20% of all daily cryptocurrency trading volume. Thailand’s Central Bank is now studying blockchain technology adoption. China is leading the world in innovation and high-profile token sales. Malaysia and Indonesia spun out Pundi X which hit its hard cap of $35 million. Going back to South Korea, this one market is making global headlines for its adoption.
Simply stated, South Korea is one of the world’s biggest markets for bitcoin—so it’s no wonder that more than three out of ten people in the labor force have invested in cryptocurrencies, according to a recent study.
As explained in the study, “Of those who invested in cryptocurrencies, more than 80% made money from it, and about 20% made an average return of 425% on their investment, according to the survey. The average Korean investor-owned some 5.66 million won ($5,260) in virtual currencies.” The country is also home to one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency trading exchanges, Bithumb.
Some estimates put cryptocurrency ownership in the country as high as 33 percent of the adult population. The concept of digital asset ownership is mainstream. Granted, it was speculation, jealousy and competition that drove much of the initial interest in bitcoin. At one point, prices peaked at nearly 40 percent higher than foreign exchanges. The phenomenon is known as the “Kimchi premium.”
Korea is just one of the many Asian countries that are not only more accepting of cryptocurrencies, but where governments are actually pushing programs. For instance, Singapore’s government has started their blockchain experimentation program and provides grants and assistance to blockchain specific companies. These programs promote advanced technology and innovation.
Companies like Fluffar, a startup that mixes blockchain with augmented reality, has the opportunity to thrive in these type of communities. Catching up with the founding team of Fluffar, Ounie and Da Phakousonh, and Dave and Dennis Lee, gave us a unique perspective into how taking their business overseas made more competitive sense. “Doing business in countries that not only push innovation [and blockchain ] but that accept and promote it (versus the U.S.) not only increases our ability to do more faster, but enables us a unique competitive advantage,” explained co-founder Da Phakousonh.
“We have been involved in blockchain and cryptocurrency for a long time, and understand the wide implications. It’s unfortunate that some countries are fighting it versus accepting it. Regardless, we’re building a business that is powered by blockchain, and for us, it makes the most sense to do business in communities that are welcoming to our technology,” explained Ounie.
Another interesting company in the region is DACC (Decentralized Accessible Content Chain). DACC is the world’s first decentralized IAM (identity and access management) based content blockchain with unique blockchain infrastructure and full developer tools and templates to build any content related decentralized application.
With a team in China comprised of MIT and Harvard graduates, DACC is dedicated to solving the issues of unclear and abuse of content and user data rights in the digital media industry. To date, over 15 prominent funds and investors have shared their vision and supported the project. They are hoping to build out a strong community in Asia in their upcoming token sale.
In this industry community is key along with infrastructure. The end goal is that the crypto-infrastructure is in place to handle a large number of customers and that projects can flourish and gain mainstream adoption as more people become part of the blockchain community.
European Adoption: How does it Compare?
On the other hand, Europe has a lot of action happening around cryptocurrency market, too. From countries trying to introduce friendly regulations to an explosion of new cryptocurrencies created launching the ICOs.
In 2017 Europe was “responsible” for more than half of all ICOs launched worldwide. More fascinating is the fact of the blockchain technology enabling the vast number of new ideas, which successful adoption would leave even big U.S. players behind. Let’s take the internet as an example.
The sheer volume of the online content that users are consuming today will outgrow the current internet infrastructure very soon. Currently, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are used for faster load of the cached “heavy” data (3D and 4k videos, gaming, VR and AR). According to CISCO, CDN traffic will carry 71 percent of all Internet traffic by 2021, up from 52 percent in 2016. This means big CDN providers like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, AKAMAI and others will continue expanding their networks. But with innovative solutions, it is not necessary to go big on hardware.
European startup NOIA is employing blockchain technology to create a worldwide CDN layer from the unused bandwidth of home devices and underutilized data centres. Adding Noia Network to content delivery infrastructure the website and application owners will be able to lower their expenses. On the other hand, the personal computer or data center owners can choose to set a free Noia Network Node on their devices and earn rewards in tokens by giving access to their unused bandwidth.
Noia found an environment-friendly solution to an upcoming problem, where all parties have a win-win situation. Instead of building more clutter why not simply optimise the usage of the infrastructure that already exists? The solution will be working in both the current and decentralized internet infrastructure and there is no need to change anything on the backend of the websites. Web business will be able to decrease expenses from simply accessing Noia Network at no additional cost.
This is only one of many samples that could be found on adopting technological advantages. In the past few years, tech-savvy European companies exploded with blockchain based ideas and projects and it does not look like the landscape would change any time soon.
Note: In full disclosure, I am an advisor to DACC and have had a chance to work with the team for a few months.
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