Bitcoin is a system “for the real world economy” and “the plumbing of business,” said Ella Qiang, regional manager for Southeast Asia at the Bitcoin Association. Speaking on a fintech panel at Montreal’s online MTL Connect conference, Qiang said Bitcoin is offering something completely new in confusing times: an economic layer for the Internet that fuses data and money. This presents an opportunity with “an explosion of new business models” that many are now seeking.
“The world is going through extraordinarily complex times,” said moderator Anino Emuwa of France’s Avandis Consulting. Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic and its numerous after-effects, Emuwa said our era presented a significant challenge for fintech companies, many of which are still not profitable. In a way, the economic crisis facing the world has “shortened the runway for many fintechs.” They must now seek to become profitable in an even shorter time than they would have otherwise.
Panel members agreed that things would be tough—an economic crisis, especially one that is seeing more commerce rush online, presents opportunities for fintechs. However it has also affected their current operations, as several of their paying clients are also struggling to stay profitable.
Change and opportunity are always welcome things, but not necessarily when it comes suddenly, and continuing company operations depend on income that’s coming in right now.
‘More and more enterprises are approaching us’
Given a large share of the speaking time on the all-female panel, Qiang was also the only member not representing a fintech company. While the others spoke mainly about immediate challenges they faced in their markets, Qiang focused mainly on the future—which is probably apt, given that Bitcoin is answering a lot of questions many businesses are just beginning to ask.
“We’ve seen more and more enterprises approach us” looking for solutions, Qiang said. Part of her work with the Bitcoin Association (and also as organizer of the CambrianSV developer events) is to explore new business models, providing technical support for those curious about how Bitcoin can be “a part of the solution to their digital transformation efforts.”
She listed Bitcoin’s various advantages to enterprise: it’s an open ledger, timestamped—for both payments and data. It also offers greater transparency and auditability, giving users a tamper-proof record of everything that’s happened.
Bitcoin is unlocking liquidity
Refreshingly, there was no talk of the Bitcoin unit price in the discussion, though Emuwa asked if transaction volumes had changed in the past months. Qiang said it was important to look at both data and payment transactions on the blockchain, and Bitcoin had seen increases of activity on its social media and content creation platforms, as people are exploring ways they can make a little more money and monetize their content in new ways.
Interoperability (e.g. between existing data silos) is another area where Bitcoin can shine, and combining value and information in transactions, and tokenized “digital twins,” would see this increase in liquidity being unlocked would see new business models in B2B, B2C, and trades, Qiang said.
Viola Llewellyn of Africa-focused Ovamba Solutions regretted that banks had so far not been able to innovate or partner with fintechs to serve their customers. However, there were also new opportunities in the region, such as a continent-wide free trade agreement that’s soon to be ratified. Africa could “leapfrog across the divide” COVID-19 has created, she said.
Asked about funding, Qiang agreed with Llewellen that new models for that were emerging too, and said the Bitcoin BSV industry had actually seen a steady stream of interest from angel investors and venture capitalists in 2020. Bitcoin offers “real-time distribution of data and money” and is looking to provide answers to businesses of all sizes—whether they’re existing tech giants like Facebook and Google, or brand-new startups.
Whether businesses survive the struggles of 2020 or not, many will be looking for new models and ideas in the coming years. Bitcoin definitely offers those, and there is an abundance of people in the industry ready to offer assistance.
Join Ella Qiang and Lise Li, Bitcoin Association’s Regional Manager for China, on October 20 for the BSV Virtual Meetup – APAC. Register here.
See also: Ella Qiang moderate the CoinGeek Live panel, The Future of Exchanges & Trading in a Tokenized World.
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.