Philippine-based startup Coins.ph has launched coins.co.th, a Bitcoin exchange in Thailand. It’s now the second legal exchange in the country.
The expansion from Philippines to Thailand is the first step in Coins’ plan to increase its regional presence.
“We recognise the lack of functional financial services in developing countries, and the growing demand for Bitcoin as a lower barrier alternative to traditional banking. We want to position ourselves as the Coinbase of Southeast Asia, with a platform that is geared specifically towards markets with low bank penetration,” explained Ron Hose, CEO, Coins.
Coins.co.th started accepting Thai Baht for Bitcoin (and vice versa) upon receipt of its e-commerce registration in Thailand from Huay Khwang District Office on June 20, 2014. The exchange currently supports four payment methods for Bitcoin buyers and over 20 payout options for Bitcoin sellers.
“We see a growing demand for Bitcoin, especially in Thailand, and we are excited to address this need. Bitcoin can be an easy alternative to bank accounts and credit cards for people who cannot access those tools which fill a huge gap in financial service needs in emerging markets such as Thailand,” explained Hose.
Coins.co.th allows individuals to purchase Bitcoins either through their bank accounts or simply via walk-in cash deposits at any major Thai bank. Allowing for multiple options to exchange in and out of Bitcoin helps first-time users get adjusted to the process and increases accessibility, said an official statement.
“With Bitcoin, the unbanked around the world get access to finances. This opens up an unprecedented new pool of labour force. Bitcoin can have a tremendous economic impact to the production frontier, to the same extent, that the computer and the internet had on our economy or the “steamengine” had on the rise of Britain during the industrial revolution,” said Topp Jirayut Srupsrisopa, Country Manager, Coins.co.th.
Lack of convenient, yet affordable payment systems is the main challenge that hinders the growth of e-commerce businesses in Southeast Asia, where only five per cent of the population is qualified to avail a credit card. Therefore, majority of sales are facilitated through cash-on-delivery or over-the-counter payments, both of which have high customer drop-off rates.
“We believe that Bitcoin will boost financial inclusions in emerging markets, starting with the Philippines and now in Thailand,” said Hose. “Right now, our focus is to increase our user acquisition efforts and continue to expand our product and service offers. The long-term goal is for Coins to become a significant driver for Bitcoin adoption within the region,” he added.