How will Asia Drive the Cryptocurrency Market in 2020 and Beyond?

Cryptocurrency is significantly a decade old and Asia is taking a leading role in the development of the crypto industry. The nations in the region are competing to become cryptocurrency and blockchain hub, as a number of forward-looking Asian countries have vented their views in this space. Singapore is one such nation that emerged as a top choice for fintech firms to access the fragmented Southeast Asia market of nearly 600 million people.

Considering reports, three of the top five companies running cryptocurrency exchanges are listed in Hong Kong, China. And in the job point of view, Asia has seen about a 50 percent increase in blockchain and cryptocurrency jobs since 2017. Bitcoin may even have started in Japan, and some of the world’s first mining operations were also begun in the country.

In the last few years, the cryptocurrency market has shifted from a Western-dominated industry to an Asian-dominated. So, here is how Asia will dominate the crypto market in years to come.

Bitcoin Mining Pool

According to CoinGencko Co-founder Bobby Ong, there was just one large Asian Bitcoin mining pool in the top 10 Bitcoin mining pools in terms of hashrate distribution, named Discus Fish, now known as F2Pool. But, currently, in that top 10 Bitcoin mining pool, 8 are from Asia, more specifically, from China. Remaining 2 of them are from Slushpool (Czech Republic) and Bitfury (Georgia).

Bitmain, for instance, is a China-based vertically-integrated Bitcoin mining company that has direct control of the 2 largest mining pools, and AntPool. It has also indirect control of the 7th largest mining pool through a significant investment in ViaBTC. In total, Bitmain’s combined hashrate is 40 percent of Bitcoin’s total hashrate.

Rise of New Exchanges

In a CoinGecko report, a 706 percent increase saw in the number of new exchanges added in the last 18 months, amounting to 318 new exchanges, where 40 percent of them were from Asia. The rise of these new exchanges has resulted in intense competition. The exchanges have resorted to leveraging a wide array of methods to expand their reported trading volume to appear to be larger than they are. Some of the methods they have practiced to swell their reported trading volume include trading incentives, wash-trading, trans-fee mining, and outright fake API data.

Global Hub for ICO and IEO Issuance

Singapore is leading the world in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs), CoinGecko report noted. Both ICOs and IEOs are a popular fund-raising technique and have provided an alternative funding route for crypto players. In the year 2018, nearly 228 ICOs were conducted in Singapore, raising a total of US$1.6 billion. And in the first half of 2019, the country led the world in IEO, where 72 IEOs took place, raising a total of US$130 million. There are also several Asian-based exchanges that were most active in facilitating IEOs, including, Bitforex, Binance, Kucoin, and Huobi.

In addition to these, the Payment Services Act, which has been defined as the world’s most comprehensive regulatory framework governing cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses to date, is set to take effect on January 28. This will bridge the island nation’s place as a true industry hub and pave the way to further investment and innovation. According to Xfers CEO Liu Tianwei, 2020 marks the start of crypto assets maturing as an asset class. Clear regulatory frameworks in the ASEAN region will continue to attract blockchain innovation and development.