In the ever-evolving digital economy, immediate results and security become the standards for which to exchange goods and services. Blockchain technology offers just that – fast, safe, and eliminating the need for middlemen. As ASEAN’s population grows and interconnectivity improves, this disruptive technology becomes increasingly in demand and relevant.
In a nutshell, a blockchain is an open, digital ledger consisting of blocks of information managed in a peer-to-peer (P2P) network without the use of an intermediary. Encoded using cryptography, it is known to be highly secure and verifiable as data in a block cannot be altered without changing the rest in the chain and alerting the network. As a transparent and decentralized system that is constantly evolving, it continues to redefine how businesses are conducted in the digital ecosystem. Moreover, the subject of blockchain is often associated with cryptocurrency with the most well-known being Bitcoin. There have been many different cryptocurrencies since then with over 1900 recorded so far in 2018 according to Investing.com. Due to the open-source nature, it is relatively easy for anyone to create it. However, blockchain technology do not necessarily require such currencies to function but it is needed for the other way around.
While blockchain continues to be adapted globally across a number of areas such as business management, healthcare, governance, communications and most notably in Fintech, it has witnessed a steady rise in ASEAN startups. The following are 4 notable startups in the region using blockchain technology.
1. TenX [Singapore]
Founded in 2015 and based in Singapore, TenX is arguably one of the most successful blockchain startups in the region. Having recently raised USD80 million in token sale, it is setting the bar for other blockchain startups looking to make an enormous impact. TenX has a debit card as well as an accompanying app that offer users access to multiple cryptocurrencies anywhere and anytime in the world. Their payment platform utilizes an off-chain multi-asset instant transaction network that connects to real-time instant cross-blockchain assets transactions. With a mission to ensure convenience to their digital assets through just one card, users can withdraw from any ATM in the world as well as send and receive funds through the app.
Career opportunities with TenX
TenX offers a number of opportunities to work in a variety of areas including compliance, business development, product development, marketing and communications as well as in research and development. Additionally, they have a ‘Spontaneous Application’ for those who are motivated to work for the startup but cannot find the position on their list. They also have offices in Europe and Australia. To find out more, visit here.
2. Omise [Thailand]
Established in 2013, Omise offers an online payment gateway through blockchain to facilitate seamless digital transactions across multiple devices. Their clientele include major retailers in Thailand such as McDonalds, true (communication conglomerate) and King Power. They also focus on a range of processing solutions tailored to business needs such as automized checkout, social assistance, automated workflow and flexible payment options. Raking in USD50 million in funding from investors such as East Ventures, Ascend Group, Golden Gate Ventures and the likes as well as recording a 1000% transaction growth, Omise is a leading business in their own right with blockchain technology at its helm. Recently this year, they announced a momentous partnership with ShinhanCard of the Shinhan Financial Group from South Korea to further advance the digital economy between both businesses.
Career Opportunities from Omise
Omise has offices not only in Thailand but in Indonesia, Singapore and Japan as well. They’re looking for people interested in front end development, UI design, sales operation, digital marketing, business intelligence, and consultancy to name a few. To find out more, visit here.
3. Coins.ph [the Philippines]
According to the World Bank, the remittance industry in the East Asia and Pacific region is expected to grow to USD132 billion in 2018. Remittance in the Philippines alone amounts to USD33 billion making it the third largest in the world. As such, remittance services using blockchain technology becomes increasingly relevant and needed such as Coins.ph. Based in Manila and founded in 2014, it is a financial services platform operating on Bitcoins and Ethereum that provides peer-to-peer wallet transfers, mobile top-ups, bill payments, game credits, online transactions and remittance services. It provides a low cost gateway to banking services reaching the over 300 million who are unbanked in the Philippines and the region. In fact, users don’t even need a bank account to access their services. It boasts over 5 million users nationwide and according to their website, their platform has saved users from 57,070 weeks of standing in line. Moreover, Coins.ph connects to a vast network of banks, payment outlets, pawnshops and door-to-door delivery across the region.
Career Opportunities with Coins.ph
With benefits in career development, flexible vacation as well as free food, Coins.ph is currently on the lookout for people in finance, operations and engineering to name a few. Besides their Manila office, they have since expanded their operations in Thailand. To find out more, visit here.
4. Pundi X [Indonesia]
Founded in 2017 and based in Jakarta, Pundi X may be a relatively new player in the list but they have a comparable ambition as their counterparts. They are working towards building the world’s largest decentralized, offline cryptocurrency network most notably in retail through their all-in-one XPOS or point-of-sale devices installed in physical outlets. According to their website, they aim to make buying virtual currencies as easy as buying bottled water from convenience stores. Besides facilitating multiple cryptocurrency transactions, they also accept payments through mobile wallets and bank cards.
Career Opportunities with Pundi X
Besides Jakarta, Pundi X has operations in London, Taipei, Shenzhen, Singapore, São Paulo, Seoul and Tokyo. Job seekers can expect to find positions in data science, web design, technical writing, community management, and blockchain research assistant among others. The startup is also deeply involved in research and development with half of their staff dedicated to it. To find out more, visit here.
Future of Blockchain in ASEAN
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP) will be stored on blockchain by 2025. The future of not only businesses but of other sectors such as the government is expected to shift towards blockchain technology. Whilst it isn’t entirely fool-proof and there are indeed associated risks to information breach, security remains a major priority. A complex, integrated technology requires equally robust security countermeasures. In ASEAN, Singapore leads the pack with the most startups using blockchain technology but other Member States are following suit. This suggests a correlation between ease of business in the digital realm and internet connectivity. Essentially borderless, users can additionally be from all over the world however ASEAN startups are additionally leveraging on their own populous nations to ensure even greater numbers.
Despite initial reservations, blockchain is gaining a steady foothold particularly in the financial sector in Southeast Asia. The region is known to have one of the largest unbanked population in the world with only 27% with a bank account. This means that over 400 million people are unbanked. Blockchain in the banking sector as seen in Bank Indonesia and Bangkok Bank and fintech startups can bridge this divide. In a way, blockchain technology in ASEAN can be considered an element of regional integration and inclusivity.