Aside from its ups and downs: up in investment, down in price, few would disagree the Digital Currency field had a momentous 2014. Investment poured into dozens of new companies in North America and Europe, and the crash of Mt. Gox and sale of Silk Road bitcoins barely had an effect on the market.
There was also a lot of talk about the need for these Digital Currency companies to go “The Last Mile” and bring their services to the developing world, where mobile phones dispersion far outnumbers bank accounts, and the cost of sending money overseas takes many billions of dollars out of the hands of poor, hard-working migrants, and handicapping local development. We heard very often about how this company or that company is aiming to break into the remittance market in Asia, banking the unbanked in Africa, drop Bitcoins onto an island in Latin America, etc. etc.
Well, I’m standing here somewhere along this Last Mile in Southeast Asia, Bali, Indonesia to be exact, and I can tell you that despite all of the efforts (see below) we, the tight-knit team of Bitcoin/Ripple/Stellar/NXT and other digital currency supporters and promoters have been making across the country, we haven’t yet seen anyone from North America or Europe step up and join hands with us to go the Last Mile to get digital currencies into the hands of ten of millions of Indonesians, let alone Thais, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Burmese, Bangladeshis, etc. etc.
The intention is there, it’s just that nothing concrete has been contributed. I’ve been contacted several times this year by representatives from several different organizations asking me for advice, feedback, picking my brains for useful tidbits from my 17 years of residing in Asia. Not only from small companies producing ATMs or POS Devices, through major coin developers, and right on up to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Bitcoin Indonesia exchange the leading company in the country has been seeking financing the past two years. (If you’re interested, contact me, I’m trying to help them to find financing!) Nobody has contacted them, and it’s not like we can just hop on a plane and fly over to New York or San Francisco or London or Amsterdam, with cap in hand, not on our own meager Rupiah currency which is getting gang-raped by currency speculators as I write this, or over the sky-high visa walls that are keeping Fortress America safe by not letting anyone in that doesn’t have a Christian or European-sounding name.
We have done a lot in Indonesia in 2014 to attract attention and hopefully attract funding. We hope that in 2015, more than one of you reading this will take notice and come and visit us over here, and joining us in reaching the Last Mile.
Short List of Accomplishments in 2014
- I became a member of the Bitcoin Foundation.
- Bitcoin Indonesia gets startup financing, now transacting 100+ BTC/day. (Needs Financing)
- Coin Academy launches, launches and quickly becomes international premier Digital Currency learning site partnering with the Digital Currency Council, College Cryptocurrency Network, BitDrop and others. (Needs Financing)
- Hubud Co-Working Center’s Bitcoin Filter is established, becoming a weekly gathering point and source of learning in Bali.
- Hubud becomes the first location in Bali to host a Bitcoin ATM.
- Ubud hosts the International Bit Film Festival, with 300 participants.
- Some 30 new businesses in Bali list on CoinMap.Org, plus more in the BitIslands Network.
- Receives visit from the CEO and team at ChangeTip.
- Receives personal visits from senior staff at Ripple.
- Receives contact from senior staff at Stellar.
Accomplishments in the Works for 2015:
- Attending Inside Bitcoins Singapore, Inside Bitcoins Hong Kong and Bitcoin 2015.
- Coin Academy Training workshop in Singapore.
So now you can see there is a lot happening over here, all the more reason to plan your next holiday in Bali, Indonesia! Comment below to contact me directly.