As cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, Gibraltar-headquartered IOVLabs has launched various initiatives to further accelerate cryptocurrency adoption in emerging markets in Asia and around the world.
Vietnam and the Philippines are among the countries with the most active cryptocurrency users globally.
“IOVLabs has a growing team in Asia, both with technical and commercial skills, and has engaged with potential partners across Asia, including payment processors, fintech firms, and cryptocurrency exchanges to facilitate the adoption of the RIF (RSK Infrastructure Framework) token and RSK-based stablecoins such as RDOC,” IOVLabs Regional Director for Asia Pacific Eddy Travia told Digital Life Asia.
Cryptocurrency and financial inclusion
Travia, a pioneer blockchain investor since 2013, said the IOVLabs Asia team members also participate in regular regional events. These include educational sessions about blockchain and cryptocurrencies for company executives and entrepreneurs.
IOVLabs believes in developing low-cost, high-quality, easy-to-use platforms for everyone, in order to help democratize knowledge and strengthen financial equality. For instance, RSK, the first open-source smart contract platform, allows businesses to easily scale and secure operations with the use of blockchain technology.
By creating this RSK sidechain, IOVLabs has revamped the way users swap Bitcoin for RBTC, its network’s tokenized version of the cryptocurrency. Through RSK, Bitcoin transactions on its blockchain no longer have to be approved by a multi-signature wallet address (as is typical of many blockchains).
Instead, RSK’s new Powpeg system makes it so that when users transact, a proof of transaction is automatically generated and vetted by a special hardware security module. Once these modules receive the proof, they distribute the RBTC to the corresponding user.
Additionally, smart contracts on the RSK platform enabled the launch of its non-custodial, non-KYC (know your customer) lending and borrowing DeFi (decentralized finance) platform called Tropykus. Though largely focused on South America for now, Tropykus serves as an alternative to the traditional financial system by giving people an opportunity to earn Bitcoin yield/lending cryptocurrency to earn off the interest.
El Salvador and Bitcoin
In September, El Salvador became the first country to officially accept Bitcoin as legal tender. Since then, more Salvadorans have been experimenting with Bitcoin, with NBC News reporting that migrants are using the cryptocurrency to send a couple of million dollars sent daily.
Thousands of protesters in the country, however, have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the government of President Nayib Bukele.
While Bukele was very much the focus of the protests, grievances of those gathered ranged from his effort to supplant the Supreme Court justices with judges more to his liking and the move to make bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador.
Feminist groups, human rights organizations, environmentalists, and opposition political parties were among those who gathered in the capital carrying signs that read, ‘Bitcoin is fraud,’ and, ‘Democracy is not up for negotiation, it is defended,’ along with numerous anti-authoritarian messages.
Asked to comment on the protests against Bitcoin and what other markets could learn from the challenges El Salvador is facing in making Bitcoin legal tender, Travia replied: “It is important for nations to make sure accepting Bitcoin is a choice that has the support of the people. Not everyone may be aware of the benefits of Bitcoin for countries like El Salvador where the population relies heavily on remittances, for example. In this sense, IOVLabs is a strong supporter of various educational initiatives including LaBitConf, the longest-running blockchain conference with a focus on Latin America Bitcoin adoption, and ‘La Bitcoineta’, a non-profit project where volunteers travel around Latin America to inform anyone who is interested about Bitcoin and blockchain.”
Is cryptocurrency the future? It’s up to each country’s leaders and citizens to decide.