A new Bitcoin remittance service has started in Vietnam called Cash2vn. Created by Bitcoin Vietnam Co. Ltd , Vietnamese who have a verified bank account can send funds to contacts anywhere. The transaction is done for a flat fee of US$2, leveraging the use of cryptocurrency in order to “create real advantages for consumers and business.”
“The lowest-hanging fruit here, despite very vivid competition in this market, is the remittance market, since one of Bitcoins core value propositions is the borderless nature of almost free monetary transactions.”
— Dominik Weil, Co-Founder of Bitcoin Vietnam Co., Ltd
The team says it's dedicated to building the necessary foundations to bring access to the Bitcoin economy to the Vietnamese market. Bitcoin Vietnam recently also launched the country’s first live trading platform, VBTC. To continue their efforts, Co-founder Dominik Weil tells us the remittance service was the “first step” in defining Bitcoin’s “core value propositions” in the country.
Launched in March 2014, Bitcoin Vietnam has been introducing the digital currency to locals in the region ever since. Weil says residents have little faith in the Dong (VND) and “don't store their wealth in financial institutions.” This new remittance service aims to give Vietnamese trust in a decentralized currency over their fiat alternative.
Dominik discussed Cash2vn with CoinTelegraph to give our readers insight on the service and how they are using Bitcoin to teach Vietnamese financial independence.
CoinTelegraph: Can you tell us a little about the new service Cash2vn?
Dominik Weil: After launching our broker exchange solution last year, which as a first step to build up the local Bitcoin ecosystem, it allows people to buy and sell Bitcoins against VND, which over time was improved to add several convenient functionalities (e.g., an integrated wallet into the platform or pre-loaded instant purchases). We are now focussing on building solutions by leveraging the advantages of Bitcoin technology. These solutions are creating use cases where people have a real advantage by using Bitcoin over the traditional way of doing things. The lowest-hanging fruit here, despite very vivid competition in this market, is the remittance market, since one of Bitcoins core value propositions is the borderless nature of almost free monetary transactions.
Cash2vn is therefore the logical first step in this direction and we are looking forward to provide other additional services, which are leveraging our existing business model in order to create real advantages for consumers and business inside Vietnam.
"In Vietnam, around 80% of the population is still unbanked.”
CT: Would you consider many in the region underbanked?
DW: That is more or less the case for sure, even if the number of people who are using the legacy financial institutions is still growing on a yearly basis. Talking about Vietnam, around 80% of the population is still unbanked but you have of course a large gap between rural and metropolitan areas as well as intergenerational. The main target group of our existing Bitcoin exchange service (predominantly the well-educated, middle-class population living in the big cities as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang...) is usually in possession of personal bank accounts. Buying Bitcoins works already without the need for a bank account, since you can just make a cash deposit at any bank in the country.
Since with the implementation of Cash2vn, our target group is expanding (the recipients may not necessarily need to know or care about Bitcoin, for them it just counts to receive cash quick and without paying too much fees), we are looking forward to implement additional cash-out possibilities over the coming weeks (e.g., cash-to-ID-withdrawals and cash delivery ). The current financial infrastructure in Vietnam is built to serve also the unbanked population, so there are quite a few options to plug our services into.
CT: Are smart phones accessible for Vietnamese to use Bitcoin technology?
DW: The current smartphone penetration is approximately 25%, covering basically our main target group of customers and rapidly expanding on a yearly basis. It may take another 5 to 10 years until Bitcoin is really an inseparable part of the average Nguyen's daily life, and we fully expect that until then the absolute majority of the Vietnamese population will be owner of a Smartphone. It is in Vietnam, by the way, much more common to surf the Internet with your smartphone or Tablet, than with traditional PCs or laptops.
“The population of Vietnam is very entrepreneurial-minded — everybody is ‘hustling’ and trying to explore new ways in making and/or saving money.”
CT: How do you see adoption going in Vietnam?
DW: Right now, it is still early days in Vietnam. Bitcoin is at this stage far from being a "mainstream product" and the active local communities are still small in numbers. However everywhere we are speaking about Bitcoin, there is a lot of interest from the people. The population of Vietnam is very entrepreneurial minded, everybody is "hustling" and trying to explore new ways in making or saving money. Additionally, people here don't really trust the paper currency, and they also don't store their wealth in financial institutions. If they want to store wealth, they invest in gold or real estate. I found it much easier to talk to the people here about Bitcoin, than in my home country of Germany where people are far from being so open minded.
CT: Can you explain your coalition with Rebittance?
DW: Luis Buenaventura and his team did so far an awesome job in the Philippines, which can be an example for the rest of the region. In my opinion, the Philippines right now are the clear leader in South East Asia regarding their local Bitcoin ecosystem (if you leave out Singapore, which has quite a different socio-economical setup).
Rebittance is the newest product from the team, which basically serves as a central "go-to-point" if you are planning to do some international payments via Bitcoin — and we are happy to participate as Rebittance partners in Vietnam.
CT: Do you think Vietnamese will see Bitcoin as a better method than traditional ways of transferring value?
DW: Well, some Vietnamese people already do. The rest is mostly an education and awareness issue. Most people still don't know (enough) about Bitcoin (yet), but we're working towards change here as well — e.g. as co-organizers of the local Bitcoin Saigon meetup group, workshops at local universities, and working behind the scenes with the regulatory bodies towards our more friendly business environment for Bitcoin startups.
“We are now focussing on building solutions, which by leveraging the advantages of Bitcoin technology are creating use cases, where people have a real advantage by using Bitcoin over the traditional way of doing things.”