Marcus Swanepoel, CEO and co-founder of BitX joined us for an interesting conversation on the bitcoin and blockchain industry in Asia. Beginning from his background as a banker to his current stint as a startup founder, he discussed the origins of BitX and how it is leading the charge on bitcoin and blockchain in the Southeast Asia markets. We also discussed the technology and regulatory challenges for bitcoin & blockchain to go mainstream in Asia and the current landscape in how the Asia banks will enter the blockchain and bitcoin landscape either through consortiums with the US and European banks or build their own.
Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):
- Marcus Swanepoel (@marcusswanepoel, LinkedIn), CEO and co-founder, BitX.
- How did he get started in your career in banking? [1:07]
- From moving from traditional banking (Morgan Stanley, StanChart) to startup (BitX), what are the interesting lessons that Marcus have drawn from his career so far? [1:58]
- An introduction to the concept of bitcoin and blockchain. (Reference: Bitcoin.org) [5:04]
- Reference: the original bitcoin paper by Satoshi Nakamoto – worth reading.
- What inspired Marcus to start BitX? [8:19]
- What is the mission and vision for BitX? [9:12]
- BitX started with a consumer app in both iOS and Android. How does the BitX app work? [10:10]
- Who are the customers for BitX? [13:00]
- How is the business model for BitX? [14:42]
- What is the footprint for BitX across Southeast Asia? Which countries do you operate in? (Ref: BitX in Indonesia) [15:28]
- BitX have raised financing from Naspers Group (known for their investments in Tencent aka company behind WeChat), Venturra Capital (by the Lippo Group), Barry Silbert (founder of SecondMarket), can you talk about the story on how you have managed to raise funds from these investors? [16:06]
- Before BitX started, their earlier company Switchless focused on building a B2B bitcoin and blockchain for the largest African bank. [19:05]
- Bitcoin / BlockChain Industry in Asia
- What are the general trends for bitcoin and blockchain in Asia? [19:50]
- What are the essential conditions that need to happen in order to take bitcoin and blockchain mainstream? [22:15]
- References: Marcus’ articles on the issues: Beyond the Blockchain, The Future of Finance and Taking Bitcoin Mainstream in 2016
- Is it technology or regulatory challenge that make it difficult for bitcoin and blockchain adoption? [24:47] (Reference: The Resolution of the Bitcoin Experiment, Scaling bitcoin: The Great Block Size Debate)
- In the US, the banks have started to talk about their blockchain strategy and the R3 consortium (focus on blockchain technology with many banks partaking), are the Asian banks doing the same and how do they view the blockchain technology? [26:03]
- Reference: Goldman Sachs bitcoin patent.
- Is there a space between bitcoin/blockchain startups and banks where they can collaborate? [29:57]
- How is Asia compared to US and Europe in terms of blockchain and bitcoin adoption in the near future? [31:40]
The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Aspirus Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.