Bitcoin Association’s Virtual Meetup series came to the Asia-Pacific region earlier this month, inviting the Bitcoin SV community for an online showcase of the great businesses and projects emerging from the area.
The meetup was chaired by our own Ella Qiang, regional manager for Southeast Asia at Bitcoin Association, who welcomed a selection of guests from across the Bitcoin SV ecosystem.
Aaron Zhou – technical outreach specialist, Bitcoin Association
First up was Aaron Zhou, Bitcoin Association’s first China-based technical outreach specialist, who shared an update on the exciting projects being developed in China using Bitcoin SV, including those which are important, yet lesser-known outside of the country. These include the Mempool Bitcoin-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Badge projects. He also talked about the RUN protocol and RelayX’s adoption of it as their wallet’s token protocol. Lastly, he talked about SatoPlay’s recently launched Sensible Contract, which comprises a collection of developer tools and resources that is billed as the ‘missing piece’ for the ‘pragmatic Bitcoin developer’.
Lin Zheming – founder and CEO, Mempool
Mempool founder and CEO Zheming Lin spoke next. Not only is Mempool one of Bitcoin SV’s best-known transaction processing operations, but it is also a key provider of application infrastructure, giving Lin a unique vantage point from which to assess the contemporary landscape for Bitcoin SV.
‘We need to focus on those users that have not heard about Bitcoin before: how to serve them better, how to make the Bitcoin SV blockchain more friendly to developers that are focusing on normal people,’ Lin said.
This is where Mempool’s BaaS system – the B standing for Bitcoin rather than Blockchain – comes in. The service provides a read and write API for the Bitcoin ledger to application developers without the need to get weighed down by things like fee rates, confirmation times and other technical considerations, while at the same time still allowing them to control the data created in the transactions.
‘In that way, we will only need to convince the developers – not the users – to use the ledger. That is what’s behind the BaaS service provided by Mempool,’ Lin said.
‘We will still need to educate people about how Bitcoin works and how we can achieve much more than permissioned or private blockchains, but most of them are not very concerned about or worried about the public blockchain’s nature in their applications.’
Ian Lee – associate director, Merkle Science
Merkle Science, the Singapore-based blockchain analytics company providing transaction monitoring and forensic solutions, was also on hand. The company was represented by associate director Ian Lee, who began by making an exciting announcement: the soft launch of coverage for Bitcoin SV, meaning that the Merkle Science platform can now be used to monitor Bitcoin SV transactions to flag potential money laundering risks.
Lee talked about the differences between the Merkle Science product suite and those offered by their competitors. As one of the newer players offering these services, he said they noticed that many companies would flag risk using large databases of wallet addresses which had been flagged as being associated with criminal activity.
‘The problem is, as anybody who is listening in this space is probably aware, the thing about cryptocurrency is that we can easily create new wallet addresses,’ Lee said.
‘Relying on a database to flag risk has limitations – if these criminals create new wallets, chances are that none of these tools are going to be able to detect that. We wanted to solve: is there a way to detect risk which moves beyond a traditional database?’
They looked at how traditional banks found success in transaction monitoring without access to the same visibility blockchain provides.
‘The way they do it is to design behaviour-based rules that detect suspicious transactions. We’re one of the first players in the space which combines this database approach with a behavioural rule engine that can actively monitor and flag suspicious transactions based purely on their behaviour.’
Lee also used his compliance expertise to provide a primer on the travel rule. Introduced by FATF in 2019, the rule requires that two different asset service providers transacting with one another must exchange the information as to the identities of the sender and the receiver.
‘One of the biggest problems this has had for the industry is that unlike SWIFT, there hasn’t been much guidance as to who and how these travel rule solutions should be created,’ he said.
‘That has led to dozens of different providers popping up and not all of these may communicate in the same language. What happens if two businesses are using separate providers?’
Another big issue is that the travel rule requires countries to adopt these requirements via law. What happens if transactions are happening between two countries with different implementations of the rule, or if one country has implemented the rule and one has not? Under the travel rule, those transactions can’t take place.
‘This can be very detrimental to the industry because it’s basically siloing countries off until all come on board. Given that blockchain is trying to promote decentralised ecosystems, that goes against the point of blockchain in the first place.’
George Siosi Samuels – managing director, Faiā and Brendan Lee – founder, Elas Digital
George Siosi Samuels and Brendan Lee joined next to speak about the Tuvalu national digital ledger project, which is being built on Bitcoin SV.
Lee opened by summarising the project:
‘The best way to characterise the project is really to make it clear that we’re not coming in to rip, tear, replace, make everything new and change the way everything happens. No. What we’re really doing is taking the existing laws and processes and documents that we use to manage society in Tuvalu and changing the media we use to record and exchange those documents.’
The project hopes to deliver transformative value to Tuvalu without forcing wholesale change. What should result is a system that is much more robust – something which is still needed by every government – but which can also deliver value specific to the country. Lee gives one example in particular: nowhere in the island nation is more than 4m above sea level. Having the processes and systems of government stored permanently on the blockchain opens doors for Tuvalu down the line as they grapple with the risks posed by rising sea levels. From a pragmatic perspective, in a worst-case scenario said Lee, the project would enable the people of Tuvalu to relocate elsewhere far more practically than otherwise might have been possible.
‘One of the things that is most exciting about this is that for a long time, the Bitcoin and digital currency ecosystems were just looking at the price of the tokens and the payment aspect,’ said Samuels.
‘We’re moving more toward the data functionality of Bitcoin, what it can truly do from that standpoint – and not just from a consumer perspective.’
Jack Liu – founder, RelayX
Finally, Jack Liu joined to talk attendees through the RelayX DEX, the first working decentralised exchange on Bitcoin SV.
He spoke in-depth about RelayX and the process of building the DEX, including the lessons they learned in doing so. When one hears talk about exchanges (and at this point, even decentralised exchanges), we tend to all think in the same terms, so hearing Liu speak in high-level terms about this topic as someone who has just gone through trying to build (and innovate with) an exchange is well worth the time.
Another area Liu is interested in is tokenisation. RelayX’s decentralised exchange issued REX1 tokens to their users to achieve a loyalty program, with each token being backed by BSV, which can be redeemed. This move, too, required careful consideration.
‘I always think that you can’t dress up a pig. You can have the best incentive plan – click this once a week and you’ll get X tokens – all that will do is wash your numbers up. I don’t think any Bitcoin company without fundamental user value should deploy things like tokens to juice up numbers and have a short-term squeeze,’ Liu said.
‘You want to use tokens to support certain things you’re trying to do that you can’t target.’
This, he says, is why having the tokens be redeemable was so important.
‘All the traditional airdrops in the crypto world, there’s a lot that are not picked up. That’s actual tokens that are gone. Here, when we airdropped REX1, there is no value to REX1 other than the redeemability. If you don’t redeem, then the BSV it equates to is still around.’
Jack Liu was very open about his experiences and the audience questions covered a lot of interesting ground, so there is little replacement for hearing it directly from him – which you can do by viewing the video below.
Bitcoin SV Virtual Meetups
Watch the full Bitcoin Association Virtual Meetup for APAC here: