There is something about Southeast Asia that makes Bitcoin promising compared to other region. The region, which houses almost 650 million of the world’s population, has an underdeveloped banking and payment system.
Many believe that Bitcoin may fill the gap left by the underdeveloped financial system. Big Southeast Asian economies like Indonesia and the Philippines have already made headways in terms of Bitcoin use as an alternative to fiat currencies.
In March 2014, Bitcoin Indonesia switched to an open order book as daily trading volumes increased. Bitcoin exchanges have sprouted like mushrooms in the Philippines. These exchanges like Bitcoin Pinoy, Coins.ph, BuyBitcoin.ph, and mBTC.ph, however, acts as brokers and not open exchanges.
Oron Barber of CoinPoint agrees that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are rapidly growing in the region but it has yet to reach its full potential. He believes that Bitcoin will easily be used by many in the region once it is totally regulated.
“Bitcoin here in Asia is growing really fast lately, the adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is really fast, by the operators, by the regulators, and by the players,” Barber told CalvinAyre.com. “For Southeast Asia, there is big potential for cryptocurrencies specifically for small countries. I can mention Vietnam and Laos, there is a big adoption of the currency in the region and taking this advantage for the gambling industry, they can push forward the gambling industry in the region.”
The success of Bitcoin in these region, however, depends on how quick the Southeast Asian countries will adapt to the use of Bitcoin, according to Barber. He said that understanding how to handle bitcoin is a common learning curve.
“Actually it has already been accepted specifically in some countries like the Philippines, where it is very popular and very common. Other regions, maybe more difficult to buy some bitcoins. We only need to adopt it better not only for gaming but also for eCommerce. Once you start using bitcoin, it will be easier for the ecosystem to develop,” he said.