Unblock Bangkok: Decoding Libra

Asia Blockchain Review
August 10, 2019

Asia Blockchain Review and Bitcoin Addict welcomed crypto experts, enthusiasts, investors, and everyone from community leaders to new players to its Unblock Bangkok event, “Decoding Libra – Understanding the Libra Coin and Blockchain Adoption.” The meetup was organized on August 7th, 2019 at WeWork Thonglor, T-One Building in Bangkok.

Stablecoins and Financial Inclusion for All

Even if Facebook overcomes the regulatory hurdles of various countries around the world, the Libra would be far from the only stablecoin on the market. The first session of the meetup focused on the topic, “MakerDAO: An Inclusive Platform for Economic Empowerment” led by speaker Jocelyn Chang, APAC Community Lead of MakerDAO, one of the oldest projects in the blockchain space. 

Chang revealed that the decentralized lending platform allows users to borrow its USD-pegged stablecoin, DAI, against their token assets to achieve price stability, creating social and business value for users. 

“Users can borrow DAI through locking up collateral, then repaying DAI and fees to retrieve their collateral, in order to get safe, over-collateralized contracts for difference (CDFs) that acts as a buffer in the system to maintain stability,” she said.

According to Chang, MakerDAO also hosts a weekly open governance call where anyone can join to discuss issues relating to the governance of the token. 

Today, there is over 77 million USD’s worth of DAI in circulation supply, with use cases ranging from social projects, financial inclusion projects, DApps and DeFi, to business applications.

MakerDAO has engaged in numerous partnerships, including a project with Wyre to provide international remittance and cross-border transfer services, as well as another with supply chain management startup TradeShift to unlock liquidity across supply chains.

Chang revealed that future projects for the company include the launch of Multi Collateral DAI, SAI Savings Rate, and the development of Synthetic Assets in currencies such as the euro or yen.

Libra: Regulations and Future Possibilities

In the second session, speaker Bhume Bhumiratana, Technology Advisor of the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand (SEC), gave a talk on the topic of “Decoding Libra – Understanding the Libra Coin and Blockchain Adoption.” Bhume had recently met the Libra team in Thailand and discussed the possible adoption of the cryptocurrency in the country. He stated that

Libra is a brand new project by Facebook, and practically every major economy has said something about Libra. Many have said that Libra will become a destroyer of the world financial system or offer a free and open financial system that will unbank the banked.

The SEC advisor also said he understood the concerns of regulators that Libra will “ruin regulatory space.” However, he added that it will be very difficult for regulators to stop Libra. 

According to Bhume, “There are also concerns about Facebook privacy issues. If Facebook launches [its cryptocurrency development subsidiary] Calibra, they will gain more data on citizens around the world, and the privacy of their users may be violated even more.”

Moreover, as the SEC advisor discovered that Libra will be an open ecosystem, he cautioned that issues concerning Know-Your-Customer (KYC) processes may arise. Still, the stablecoin is an intriguing concept with great financial implications for both the private and public sectors.

Libra is interesting because it is an avatar of what’s to come. It’s the first big guys that gained attention from around the world,

Bhume asserted. “I think that there are lots of big companies, like Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft that may move into this space. They’re keeping an eye on difficulties that regulators make Facebook go through, and if [the process] is easy, others will follow. Libra is signifying a change in the global infrastructure.”

Libra: Hype vs Truth  

To further address challenges that Libra could face entering the Thai and international markets, regulatory hurdles, and what the future holds, a panel discussion was held with Chang, Bhume, and Akaradet Diawpanich, CEO at Cryptomind and Thailand’s ‘Coinman’, moderated by Sanjay Popli, CSO at Cryptomind, on the topic of “Libra’s Hype vs Truth.”

Chang stated that if Libra launches in 2020, it could lead to a global impact on the world economy. She also mentioned that

It’s going to be game-changing if everyone using Facebook use Libra for transactions […] people can send money to friends, family, and businesses. If 2.38 billion users join in [the value of Libra] may surpass the Bitcoin market.

Meanwhile, Bhume reminded the audience that it will take time for people to warm up to the currency, saying that Facebook needs to go through regulations and comply with the rules in every country that they aim to enter. 

“Libra will have to comply with rules and regulations wherever they go to. Until then, traditional systems will have more networks. For me, [this currency] will make it very convenient to convert from fiat to Libra, and it will be much more convenient than banks,” he said.

On the bright side, Akaradet said that one benefit is that the introduction of Libra will help educate the masses about cryptocurrencies and its possibilities. Akaradet said

Libra is a good thing. Bitcoin used to live in a dark world, but with Libra, people are learning more about cryptocurrency. One day they will also realize that Libra is controlled by companies, then, they may want to turn to a decentralized cryptocurrency.

After the talks, the speakers and participants joined in a lively networking session, rounding out another successful event in the Unblock series. 

Unblock is a monthly meetup series discussing the hottest topics in blockchain, held in three cities: Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) to bring together key stakeholders and leading blockchain players for an eventful night of sharing and networking. We hope to continue fostering a strong community focusing on blockchain education and spreading awareness of how blockchain technology can positively impact our society.

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Asia Blockchain Review

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Asia Blockchain Review is the largest initiative for media and community building in Asia for blockchain technology. We aim to connect all blockchain enthusiasts on a regional scale and facilitate the technological foundation of blockchain through a range of group discussions, technical workshops, conferences, and consulting programs.

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