Digital currencies are the future in Asia, declare Gordon Clarke and Emir Hrnjic in an article published on the East Asia Forum. Clarke, Managing Director of Singapore-based payments consulting firm Monetics, and Hrnjic, the Head of FinTech Training at the Asian Institute of Digital Finance, are convinced that digital currencies are the future of money and governments need to embrace it.

This statement from personalities in the field of finance and academe is not necessarily an exaggeration. With the rise of FinTech and the switch to digital methods of making payments and undertaking transactions, it is not impossible for digital currencies to gain mainstream appeal. And cryptocurrency and blockchain are expected to serve key roles.

Many central banks in the Asia-Pacific region have already started embracing digital currencies. Crypto is already legal in Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Australia, and New Zealand. It is being regulated in the Philippines and South Korea. Other APAC countries have not enacted laws to legalize it, but many do not impose strict policies to prohibit its use.

With the relatively welcoming market for cryptocurrency in the APAC region, many have put new business models built around cryptocurrency and blockchain. Featured below are some innovative applications of crypto and blockchain that are already available in the market.

Low-cost money transfers

Asia is home to three of the top five remittance recipient countries of the world—four if the transcontinental country of Egypt is included. As data from the World Economic Forum show, the total remittances sent to India, China, and the Philippines dwarf the amount sent to the next top ten countries combined.

Bitcoin startups are targeting this huge remittance market by offering fund transfer services that involve cryptocurrency in the process. Companies like Bloom,, Bloom, Rebit (of Satoshi Citadel Industries) are building crypto-anchored business models for the remittance service market. They provide individual and corporate customers solutions to transfer funds across borders at lower costs and with greater ease.

Even better, there are cases when the amount of money sent from one country to another becomes worth more than the original amount transferred. This is because of the crypto price difference between countries with varying demand for crypto.

This instance is mentioned in a Reuters article about Asian startups taking aim at the remittances market. “Reduced demand for cryptocurrencies in smaller economies often means bitcoin prices are lower, so sending $100 to Indonesia or the Philippines via bitcoin results in the equivalent of more than $100 at the other end,” the article writes. Add to this the absence of the typical fees charged by traditional financial service companies, and customers enjoy greater value for their money.

Also read: Singapore sets new rules for payment service companies that support crypto

There are cases, though, when this price difference provides little to no advantage to customers. In places like Hong Kong and Singapore, for example, crypto use is quite popular, so the fees are higher and the price variances are not big to provide significant advantages. Still, this does not counteract the viability of the business models crypto startups are offering and the conveniences customers get to enjoy.

Crypto tax filing

It may sound like an oxymoron, but it is not. While the general perception is that people use crypto to avoid operating under regulators or government oversight and control, cryptocurrencies can actually be used for services that are directly involved with government functions.

This is what Tax demonstrates as it helps taxpayers in filing their crypto tax returns. Tax recently announced its expansion into the Australian market. As governments learn to embrace crypto payments, investments, and other applications, it is only reasonable to expect taxation to enter the picture. This is something users and businesses understand and accept, so having a convenient crypto tax solution is something many welcome.

Using cryptocurrency to accept payments, pay for transactions, and invest can become a complicated matter for many. Calculations can go askew, leading to possible legal problems with tax agencies in different countries. This quandary can become more cumbersome for crypto entrepreneurs and investors involved in commercial activities in different markets with different tax policies.

Crypto startups that offer taxation solutions do individual crypto users and businesses a favor by addressing the complicated nature of preparing tax returns for incomes pertaining to the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In some cases, these solutions can also help users avoid overreporting their taxable incomes and making sure that they only pay what they are legally obliged to pay.

In a statement, says that its tax solution “enables users to quickly generate accurate and organized tax reports, including transaction history and records of capital gains and losses, as well as other crypto-related taxable and non-taxable transactions.”

Investing in FinTech and decentralized solutions

The Asia-Pacific region has seen several token-based crowdfunding initiatives, which have helped many startups bring their innovative business ideas to the market or expand their operations. Singapore and Hong Kong are particularly famous for ICOs or “initial coin offerings.”

One of the notable ICO success stories in Asia is NEO, which is formerly known as Antshares. This open-source blockchain project that started in 2015 is often described as the Ethereum of China. It started with an initial token price of $0.032, which rose rapidly to around $180 by January 2018.

In October 2015, NEO raised approximately $550,000 during its first ICO. This number was multiplied several times to reach $4.5 million by the second ICO. It eventually went on to become one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies only a year after its first ICO, which meant massive returns for its early investors. It may not have logged the highest total amount of funds raised, but it is indubitably one of the most successful ICOs as it delivered an outstanding return on investment to many of its early investors.

While ICOs have given way to alternative token-based fundraising, such as Security Token Offerings (STOs) and other derivatives, these remain a viable way to raise non-equity capital when done right.

Also read: FinTech democratizes access to investments as capital shifts toward private markets, says Oi Yee Choo of ADDX [Q&A]

APAC is home to many innovative startups that eventually became massive successes. Unfortunately, investing in them used to be limited to influential and experienced venture capitalists. The growing popularity of cryptocurrency, blockchain-based business models, and decentralized finance is enabling access to the opportunity to invest in such innovative startups to a broader range of investors.

Innovations enabling innovations

Cryptocurrency is one of the most innovative ideas of the 21st Century. It is not only disrupting the financial system. More importantly, it has created new ecosystems not only in the finance sector but in many other markets that are now pursuing more innovations in response to the increasing use of crypto and blockchain.

The crypto and blockchain market inspires many to become innovative in using these innovative FinTech inventions to reach out to customers and investors. At the same time, it is stimulating innovations in other sectors to the benefit of businesses and consumers alike.

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