The expansion from Philippines to Thailand is the first step in Coins’ plan to increase its regional presence.
“We recognize the lack of functional financial services in developing countries, and the growing demand for Bitcoin as a lower barrier alternative to traditional banking. We want to position ourselves as the Coinbase of Southeast Asia, with a platform that is geared specifically towards markets with low bank penetration,” explained Ron Hose, CEO of Coins.
Coins.co.th, started accepting Thai Baht for Bitcoin (and vice versa) upon receipt of their e-commerce registration in Thailand from Huay Khwang District Office on 20 June 2014. The exchange currently supports four payment methods for Bitcoin buyers and over 20 payout options for Bitcoin sellers.
“We see a fastgrowing demand for Bitcoin – especially in Thailand – and we are excited to address this need. Bitcoin can be an easy alternative to bank accounts and credit cards for people who cannot access those tools which fills a huge gap in financial service needs in emerging markets such as Thailand,” explained Ron Hose, CEO of Coins.
Coins.co.th allows individuals to easily purchase bitcoins either through their bank accounts or simply via walkincash deposits at any major Thai bank. Allowing for multiple options to exchange in and out of bitcoin helps first time users get adjusted to the process and increases accessibility.
“With Bitcoin, the unbanked around the world get access to finances. This opens up an unprecedented new pool of labor force. Bitcoin can have a tremendous economic impact to the production frontier, to the same extent, that the computer and the internet had on our economy or the “steamengine” had on the rise of Britain during the industrial revolution,” said Topp Jirayut Srupsrisopa, Country Manager of Coins.co.th.
Lack of convenient yet affordable payment systems is the main challenge that hinders the growth of e-commerce businesses in Southeast Asia, where only 5% of the population are qualified to avail of a credit card. Therefore, majority of sales are facilitated through cash-on-delivery or over-the-counter payments, both of which have high customer drop-off rates.
“We believe that Bitcoin will boost financial inclusions in emerging markets, starting with the Philippines and now in Thailand. Right now, our focus is to increase our user acquisition efforts and continue to expand our product and service offers. The longterm goal is for Coins to become a significant driver for Bitcoin adoption within the region,” said Ron Hose.
Despite lack of regulations, Coins built its foundation and practices following the international standards used by financial service companies around Know Your Customer (KYC) and the AML measures – in addition to adhering to overall consumer protection standards.