China's BitKan Eyes American Expansion
Four months after launching over-the-counter (OTC) trading, and fueled with US$1.6 million in funding from bitcoin mining giant, Bitmain, BitKan is looking to kick off its expansion plans starting with the U.S.
"The U.S. is a large and special market target, so we are doing a lot of preparations focusing on law and localization in these three months," BitKan CEO Liu Yang told Bitcoin Magazine. "We plan to start all-sided layout in America in September."
Shenzhen-based BitKan offers Bitcoin-related tools and services such as aggregated news, mining monitoring and price alerts. In April, it raised US$1.6 million in a Series A funding round from Bitmain, one of the world's largest manufacturers of bitcoin mining hardware.
OTC trading was introduced in May as a solution for peer-to-peer trading. According to Ruby Chan, BitKan's marketing director, the app has grown in popularity, especially over the past two years. The company now serves some "millions of users in total and over one hundred thousand registered users."
In July, the company triggered its global expansion plans, starting with releasing OTC trading functions for overseas markets on its mobile apps. When asked which markets have seen the most notable growth, Yang said that it is still too early to tell, although "we could foresee that Russia is really a large market."
BitKan is now working toward developing its current businesses, including OTC trading and polishing its apps "to offer the perfect service to our users," Yang said. The company plans to launch a brand new, re-designed website. Next week, it will kick off its BitKan OTC Referral Program which will allow registered users to earn bitcoins by referring friends to the trading service.
The next steps for BitKan will include promoting its products in international markets and "[trying] to find the right shoe on the global stage," Yang said.
The company is also exploring the "strategic layout for Bitcoin applications" as well as other possible use cases for the technology. Yang named international payments and micropayments as being two areas "where bitcoin could play a tremendous role."
China and the U.S. — Two Potential Leaders in Digital Currencies
China, the world's largest population and the second largest economy, is already a big player in the Bitcoin space. Although bitcoin mining and market speculation still remain the main focus when it comes to Bitcoin in China, the industry is maturing and "China will become more open and more practical," said Yang.
This year, Chinese corporations and banks have been expressing increasing interest in blockchain technology. In May, Shanghai-based nonprofit research institution, Wanxiang Blockchain Labs, announced a new consortium called the ChinaLedger Alliance. The coalition, consisting of 11 regional financial institutions, aims at creating "an open source blockchain protocol that developers can further build upon in the future."
This was followed by the establishment of a new blockchain working group in August, a three-way strategic alliance among the government, ChinaLedger and the Shenzhen Consortium, seeking to "pool the wisdom of collaborative innovation" to harness blockchain potential and gear up for what could well be the next "technological revolution," according to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Software Services Division Director Xie Shaofeng.
"In the industry of blockchain in China, the research [is] in full swing," Yang said. "Although there are still certain bubbles, all will come out in the wash. Excellent companies and products will emerge after the bubble bursts...It can be predicted that China and America will be two main characters on the stage of cryptocurrency in the near future."