Singaporean Bitcoin Startup Seeks Funding for Further Southeast Asian Expansion

Coinhako, a Singapore-based bitcoin wallet service provider and exchange platform, plans to raise a round of funding as the startup eyes further expansion in the Southeast Asian region. The move follows the company’s launch in Malaysia in June, where it has already noticed “expeditious growth,” according to Gerry Eng, CTO of Coinhako.

coinhako-logoWith the launch of its new mobile app earlier this month and an upgraded website, Coinhako aims at expanding to up to five countries in Southeast Asia by 2018, co-founder Yusho Liu told CoinJournal. “We are still in the midst of evaluating and discussing with out local partners for market entries,” Liu said, adding that Indonesia was among the company’s top priorities.

Furthermore, the company is working towards integrating other digital currencies, including Ethereum which it plans to have ready by Q1 2017.

The platform has transacted more than S$100 million (US$72 million) worth of bitcoins so far with “a healthy volume in the millions of dollars each month,” Liu said.

Interest for bitcoin and blockchain technology in Malaysia has significantly increased this year as industry players are eyeing the country’s US$1.5 billion per annum inward remittance market.

In June, Dragonfly Fintech, a blockchain platform provider based in Singapore, signed a deal with Metro Money Exchange to implement a new platform for remittances. It seeks to provide a solution that would allow for meaningful reduction in transaction cost, faster transactions, complete audit trail and reconciliation of balances.

The news was followed a few months later by another partnership this time between Hong Kong-based bitcoin remittance platform Bitspark and Vitaxel, a Malaysian e-commerce and entertainment firm. The collaboration aimed at enabling Bitspark to rollout its remittance services in Malaysia.

“Bank Negara Malaysia [the country’s central bank] is evolving the regulatory framework to foster fintech innovation in Malaysia, Eng said. “Now is the best time to provide more options to the flourishing Malaysian community.”

In Southeast Asia, Singapore has been undoubtedly a front-runner in blockchain technology, one of the biggest trends in fintech along with mobile payments, biometrics, big data, cloud computing and learning machines, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank and financial regulators.

In August, Hitachi and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ announced the start of a proof-of-concept testing for utilizing blockchain technology for check digitalization in Singapore.

The new system aimed at using a blockchain infrastructure to issue, transfer and collect electronic checks. It promises to automate the workloads of intermediaries for checks in financial institutions, to avoid tampering and to speed up settling checks.

Earlier this year, MAS proposed a new regulatory framework for payments providers, a move that would require digital currency exchanges to obtain a license from the authority.

“The scope of currency conversion activities is intended to encompass the business of exchanging of currencies at a rate of exchange,” MAS said. ”

“In addition, it is likely that under the [Proposed Payments Framework], virtual currency intermediaries which buy, sell, or facilitate the exchange of virtual currencies, such as bitcoin, will also be considered to undertake [money transmissions and conversion services].”

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