2020 year in review: Bitcoin in the Asia-Pacific region

2020 year in review: Bitcoin in the Asia-Pacific region

Bitcoin is the unboundedly-scaling data ledger for the entire world. Let’s take a look at some of the developments around the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) in 2020, and think about where they might go in the years to come. Some of the projects are grand in scale and ambitious in their aspirations—but all are confident Bitcoin SV (BSV) is the right technology for the job.

APAC pushes forward despite 2020’s setbacks

With 2020’s severe restrictions on social engagement and travel, it has been harder to find out about what’s been going on in BSV development outside our local areas. But BSV builders—developers and entrepreneurs alike—have been busier than ever creating an ecosystem to process and secure the world’s data on an honest blockchain.

APAC (which includes everything from China to New Zealand) has made a huge contribution to this ecosystem, with a variety of projects that can demonstrate (and sell) BSV’s unique capabilities. In 2021, CoinGeek will begin to publish a new weekly video show called “Bitcoin Bridge” that will look specifically at this part of the world.

Big Data processing, nanotransactions, IoT devices, contracts, and tokenization (these are all closely linked) were big themes in APAC in 2020. They will likely continue to be.

International travel might have become a lot more difficult, but that hasn’t stopped Bitcoin Association regional managers like Lise Li and Ella Qiang from advocating for BSV and educating new entrants on its benefits. China manager Li in particular has traveled extensively within her home country to attend seminars, training courses, developer events and BSV portions of more regular technology conferences. Southeast Asia manager Qiang has participated in a number of online webinars and non-blockchain technology events from her base in Singapore. Both have met with a positive response and handled questions from outsiders with a high degree of professional knowledge and experience.

Big data and the Metanet

In Australia, MetaStreme (from Paul Chiari of WeatherSV) launched as a “wallet” interface between internet-of-things (IoT) devices and the Bitcoin blockchain. This provides easier access to BSV’s capabilities to IoT projects that don’t necessarily have the background to build this themselves, and MetaStreme has worked with several agricultural and environmental sustainability projects such as Predict Ecology to build working systems.

MetaStreme has also worked in partnership with Brendan Lee’s new company Elas, a tokenization platform based on the “Elas Ledger”, keeping track of everything from national currencies to land registration and health records (and a lot more; see later in this article).

sCrypt and the ‘Game of Life’

Similarly China’s sCrypt, led by Xiaohui Liu, has been working to create a BSV contract/tokenization platform that goes an extra step: it wants to prove that BSV is “Turing complete“, or capable of maintaining a state across multiple transaction blocks. That Bitcoin cannot do this (note: BTC cannot) has long been an argument against Bitcoin and in favor of platforms like Ethereum for complex on-chain contracts. In late 2020, sCrypt released code for a version of John Horton Conway’s “Life” which runs on the Bitcoin blockchain—a working demonstration that Bitcoin is indeed capable of maintaining state, just as Dr. Craig S. Wright has always said.

Singapore-based Jeff Chen has been working on two interlinked projects that could see Bitcoin start to take over some of the internet’s tasks we now take for granted, forming the Metanet. These are the Maxthon Browser and NBDomain. Maxthon puts Bitcoin microtransactions into a browser interface, redefining the internet economy and giving users more control over their actions and personal data. Later in the year, Chen also launched NBDomain—a domain name system (DNS) that links a new “dot-b” (.b) address permanently to its owner’s Bitcoin wallet. It’s currently compatible with wallets like Maxthon’s Vbox, DotWallet, and Volt Wallet, with a view to onboarding more.

2019 gave us RateSV, an auction market for exchange rate data streams. In March 2020 that morphed into MetaSV, another big data use case with a focus on API interfaces between apps and Metanet services. Ho Tsming’s Japan-based company will allow users to search on-chain data, find the transaction IDs relevant to their needs, and pay in micro-fees for the amount of data they require.

China: gaming, data, wallets and digital ID

Lin Zheming’s DotWallet continued to be one of the most-used BSV services in China, having started as a mini-app for payments on the popular WeChat platform. The company, whose services are available anywhere with an English language version as well, also launched the DotWallet Pro native mobile app with native Paymail support and a “Bitcoin as a service” platform to make it easier for developers to integrate their apps into the BSV ecosystem without worrying about handling fiat currencies.

SatoPlay is a Chinese gaming platform that utilizes micropayments, recording players’ scores and records on-chain (with extra incentives for those who do so). Founder Gu Lu said SatoPlay has also begun using MAPI to broadcast its transactions and now has 30,000 registered users, 10,000 of whom are keeping their game history on the BSV blockchain.

Sunny Fung’s ShowPay, founded in Hong Kong in 2019, has been working on a new on-chain digital identity system called MetaID, as well as a number of other proof-of-concept app demonstrations like ShowBuzz, ShowTalk, ShowMoney, ShowMan, and ShowApp.

BitPing and Relica

Back in Australia, inaugural Bitcoin Association Hackathon winners BitPing (formerly UptimeSV) brought us a new DNS propagation tool and announced it would accept fiat payments and introduce a referral program, broadening its user base. The service has nodes in over 70 countries that monitor internet traffic for website/app administrators to determine if their site is running securely, or is under attack. Co-founder Dean Little has said the service would only be possible on a platform like BSV, which can capture value from transactions worth under a dollar.

Relica (formerly Memento), an Instagram-like image sharing social network, is also completing its beta testing phase. Starting with the basics, the team has added image favoriting, instant actions with Invisible Money Button, and lower prices to create a smooth experience for more creative types.

And now for the big one: Tuvalu

Coming out of the blue (at least for most of us) is perhaps the most significant piece of news for BSV in the APAC region—if not the entire world. Faiā Corporation, (the above-mentioned) Elas Digital and nChain have partnered to build a system that would see an entire country’s vital digital records running on the Bitcoin ledger. Spearheaded by the very local-aware George Siosi Samuels of Faiā, it’s an ambitious project that many in (and outside) BSV will be watching closely. Tuvalu, a small South Pacific archipelago nation famous for its .tv domain name but without much existing digital infrastructure of its own, faces the twin challenges of finding new ways to boost its knowledge economy, and doing it all on a platform that’s being trialed on a national scale for the first time.

APAC has one of the world’s largest development and business technology talent pools, and a market that includes roughly half the world’s population. The cultural and language differences in some of its countries have produced fresh and innovative use-cases for BSV, while even the more Western-oriented ones have used their local environments to best advantage in developing new BSV platforms. With even the smallest and most remote now joining in, APAC is bound to serve up a lot of interesting stories in 2021 and beyond—which we’ll be covering in full.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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