Guest Post: Local Perceptions And Bitcoin's Future In Singapore

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Keith Hilden, Squawkonomics

Squawk Walk Singapore: Local Perceptions and Bitcoin's Future in Singapore

I have just returned from a very enjoyable trip to Singapore, in which our goal was to determine the sentiments and level of knowledge people had about Bitcoin in order to better determine Bitcoin's future in Singapore. That journey took me to the pulsating central business district of a vibrant Singapore, traditional neighborhoods completely recast in the face of new immigration and rigorous central planning, and the newcomer immigrants and permanent residents where languages like Thai and Japanese punctuate the linguistic air of Singapore accentuated English. What we found out about Bitcoin sharply contrasted with that of what we learned about Bitcoin in Taiwan.


Bitcoin has a future here in Singapore, but it is a future that inevitably will be co-opted by central planning and control. The majority of locals who did not have the best sentiments regarding Bitcoin cited the lack of central control, ironically the reason in other countries why Bitcoin enjoyed its meteoric rise. Bitcoin is expected to be pilloried with payment gateways and other payment process implementation mechanisms to streamline the Bitcoin protocol into a fashion that the locals are familiarized to and prefer- a robust payment method with savings applications that is guaranteed by an actual organization against loss. Look no further than this lagging indicator, taken around the Promenade of the central business district overlooking the Marina Bay Sands casino, that Bitcoin's future in Singapore is a co-opted system run on the familiar rails of global multinational corporations.

Source: Squawkonomics

Bitcoin's culture in Singapore seems set in the trajectory of government involvement and control, far different than the cryptophile tech savvy liberty proponents calling for a much different future of decentralization, individualism, and confidence through peer-reviewed transaction confirmations. Indeed, it appears that Bitcoin is headed for a schism in how governments and populations in different countries wish to administer and implement Bitcoin in their own countries, resulting in strange family gatherings of statism and libertarianism driving Bitcoin's future across various countries in the world. The big picture is an unfolding dynamic of converging discordant forces of libertarianism and statism at the crux of a grand showdown, as the battle lines for control of Bitcoin are drawn in places like Singapore, Germany, and China.

Singaporeans we talked to seemed to prefer government control over Bitcoin due to their perception of government being able to control price fluctuations and guarantee against loss. However, when asked if they would accept an independent organization guaranteeing Bitcoin transactions, most of the Singaporeans we talked to would also be fine with that. Almost all Singaporeans we talked to were not satisfied with the current Wild West status quo they perceived as a downfall to Bitcoin's development.

Singaporeans we talked to as a whole expressed a rock-solid confidence in their government's ability to guarantee the financial system, banking system, and the stability in the Singapore dollar. Singaporeans also questioned the need for Bitcoin when there was a plentiful array of payment methods around Singapore. Very few Singaporeans saw Bitcoin in the light of an advantageous vehicle in which to store savings, and most cited volatile fluctuations in the Bitcoin price for that reason.

Singaporeans further were not clear what was backing Bitcoin and thus were not clear as to how Bitcoin's price could be so high. However, when the US came into conversation, the conversation veered many a times to the US money printing by Ben Bernanke, and the inflation and debt arising from that. Some of them had even likened Bitcoin to the US dollar, in the sense they felt nothing was backing either of them, and had no guarantee behind it. However, many Singaporeans spoke of US monetary and economic problems as if from a different part of the world that didn't impact them in the slightest.

In comparison between what we learned in Singapore and Taiwan:

#1 People in Singapore had a drastically lower concern about cyber security with Bitcoin than did people in Taiwan.

#2 People in Singapore trusted the government to guarantee the financial and monetary system much more than people in Taiwan did. No one in Taiwan explicitly said they didn't need Bitcoin due to confidence in their government.

#3 People in Singapore were at the same time more willing to try Bitcoin out, while people in Taiwan were much more conservative and cited the need to limit their exposure in Bitcoin and use it from arm's length.

#4 Knowledge about Bitcoin in Singapore was remarkably higher than it was in Taiwan.

And for a fascinating insight on how people in Taiwan view Bitcoin, check out our Squawk Walk Taipei from last week:

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Dear Infinity's picture

Singapore, the last bastion of Freedom... ha! Bitcoin on the rise.

Dear Infinity's picture

Bitcoin is an evolving codebase. It can be refined and adapted as the need arises. If the NSA builds a quantum computer to "crack" all encryption, and that technology is somehow leaked to any adversaries, you might as well consider all internet banking and secure services dead as well. Sorry, back to the sand dunes. The spice must flow.

SWRichmond's picture

Sure looks familiar: Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish.  Microsoft's playbook, and I am sure MS didn't invent it.

Stackers's picture

There is no need to "beak the encyrption" of Bitcoin. All you have to do is out compute 51% of the rest of the network and you can rewrite the blockchain at will. Anyone that wants to spend about $1 billion on the necessary hardware can do it any time they want.

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Talking to Asians about Bitcoin Vapourware is like talking to a brick wall. Try sticking a gold bar in front of their eyes and watch the conversation run ALL NIGHT LONG!

One World Mafia's picture

It doesn't even bother them that the NSA built its mining cryptography, from designing sha256 (which can't be replaced in a backwards compatible way) to using hackable ripemd160.  Too much $$$ in it.


Musashi Miyamoto's picture

Hash Rate: 10,624,958 GH/s

TwoShortPlanks's picture

If the public want cryptocurrencies, the public will have cryptocurrencies. But they will be official cryptocurrencies in the physical form of a Credit Card. Bitcoin will be a distant memory of something which got crushed under the wheels of something far more powerful.

fonestar's picture

What a stupid argument.  Does anyone really think that the people buying Bitcoin are suddenly going to decide a statist, centralized currency is better?

webbie's picture

Exactly! People and their unacceptance to change... smh

BabyShoes's picture

You mean, the Fed can buy Bitcoins...with fresh dollars.

fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

Why would you have a picture of a physical coin representing a crypto currency?

The only reason I can think of is to lie.

fonestar's picture

While the Casascius coins were a novel idea, it kind of defeats the purpose.  And if this guy is forced to shutdown shop... again, it has no effect on Bitcoin as a whole.

Mad Mohel's picture

Not if he closes shop. He is already shutdown and back to knitting alpaca socks. They offered him a cockmeat sandwich that he had to refuse.

fonestar's picture

.....which has zero effect on Bitcoin.

Exponere Mendaces's picture

Shame Tyler doesn't jump in to refute the other accusations against Bitcoin. Nice one.

One World Mafia's picture

Looks like Typing Typer found the answer to that:

Well I dug around on the Internet and this came up, seems it's easy to crack the code on these physical coins:

"...Anyone can do this with a few dollars and a trip to home depot and even checking the balance at the time of purchase offers little to no added security since an attacker could merely sweep the private key moments after selling off exploited coins...."

Maybe it's not such a great product and that has something to do with the oversight. Or else the Feds just want to stamp out Bitcoins. Could go either way!

q99x2's picture

The article did not mention that most asians beleive Bitcoin is slang for pigeon shit.

Ignatius's picture

Hmmm.  Anyway, pigeon shit, as you call it, is currently $867/btc.

Unpopular Truth's picture


I saw this which is probably useful to you:

Michigander's picture

and in Asia, I believe q99x2 is slang for smegma.

Colonel Klink's picture

Unpossible, those honorable bankers would never meddle in anything which threatened their fiat ponzi!

overqualified's picture

wait that they start selling btc paper derivatives by the tons like they did with pm.

r3phl0x's picture

Exactly. And it's unlikely that a BTC ETF will be 100% backed by real Bitcoins, they are going to rehypothecate the hell out of it, so they can create worthless paper BTC for the price of a real BTC, thereby suppressing the price of real BTC. Anyone who thinks that's not the plan after understanding the modern gold/silver market must be naive or slow. Every Wall St product can be reduced to promising something for nothing (here: a speculative rise in BTCUSD), while giving you nothing (unbacked paper "Bitcoins") for something (USD).

fonestar's picture

Supposing they try, their ETFs will have zero effect on Bitcoin's value.

r3phl0x's picture

It will absolutely affect the BTCUSD, since there are many dumb/lazy/naive investors who still trust Wall St and will just buy the BTC ETF, instead of buying actual (blockchain-backed) Bitcoins through one of the current (amateur-hour) exchanges. The ETF can create a near infinite-supply of "Bitcoin shares" to siphon demand away from actual Bitcoins, similar to what GLD/SLV are doing to the phyzz PM market.

TheHound73's picture

Cheaper coins for me and fake coins for the dumb/lazy/naive. Not saying it will happen but I could live with it (ETFs will probably be close to 100% reserve).  

Sudden Debt's picture

it's their wet dream!!!


ctrl-p gets a totally different meaning!

yogibear's picture

The central banksters will destroy bitcoin because it interferes with their game. It's just a matter of time.

Dealer's picture

Yes they will try.  But you cannot destroy an idea.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Are there any ''cypto-currencies'' that predate the collapse of the credit/debt-based monetary/banking system that happened in 2007/2008?.........I might add a credit/debt-based monetary/banking system that was designed to collapse upon itself, which when it collapsed took out around 500 banks with it....

IOW......did these cypto-currencies show up by accident or by design?

Bindar Dundat's picture

Eddison started it with Ford's support.  Go figure it has taken us this long to get it going for real.

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

CryptoCurrency will grow ever more popular among people who care not about laws. I personally hope they make it illegal so that pesky goldman startups and wankervoss's of the world exit.
How is the multi-billion war on drugs panning out? Sometimes smuggling drug money out of the US is as hard as smuggling drugs in. An anonymous currency starts to look appealing all of a sudden.
Its only a matter of time before ZeroCoin is implemented. Hedge accordingly.

Stoploss's picture

History dictates lives are lost during currency implementations.

Just sayin.

All for it, but we all know what has to happen first for it to take off.

Johnny Cocknballs's picture

I thought I'd use my first post to ask where in the world is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Although, in particular, I'm wondering where the ignorant, unremitting cunt who posted here under that name has gone to. 

I'm fascinated by Bitcoin although, I must say I can't claim to really understand how it works or will work at all.  It seems like it's been possible to get rich quick so far, but I don't think you need to be an alarmist of conspiracy nut to think that those who have the issuing power of the major world currencies, i.e. the central bank owners, esp. the Fed would use every tool in their disposal to dispose of an alternative.

Then again, Bitcoin could be useful controlled monetary opposition... I mean controlling bitcoin might be better than dealing with tax payments.


I do wonder what's going on with Bitcoin and the Rial as to the US Treasury enforcers right about now... that might give some clue as to Bitcoin's mid-term prospects.


Whew, glad I got that first post over.  They say you always remember your first time...  but we're sheltering in place up here in Boston, and that has called for the opening of some booze.  To keep warm, you see.




Skateboarder's picture

Hey, great first comment Johnny - the chartgirl link was very educational and your take on Bitcoin is rational.

How do you take a digital arcade currency seriously when a little less than 1000 people own more thatn half of it, and its origin is as unclear as its future? You don't.

Keep on stacking amigos. If you can't hold it, it aint real. If you can hold it, and it says "note" on it, it still aint real.

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

To quip.

"If you can't hold it it ain't real"

Does this website exist?

Skateboarder's picture

I was talking about wealth. Software is real, but it requires energy to work, so software can be wealth, but it is not guaranteed to be wealth. For example, I consider the UNIX operating system great wealth, but it is not standalone. PMs on the other hand...

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

Gold is Shiny and doesn't rust. I would buy gold if my life was quiet. These days you would be surprised how often you get detained and searched at border crossings. It leaves bile in my mouth. Bitcoin is one of the least risky way for me to hold liquid assets. I don't expect everyone to live life the way I do but when you are constantly on the move and must carry all your possessions on your person digital wealth starts appealing.

True. Bitcoins are risky. I have made some decent calls and have been trading green. It serves a need for me. I think there are lots of people who have abandoned the system completely that think like me. Widespread acceptance not crucial.
I think Cryptocurrency enables people to stop participating and leave this corrupt, broken and oppressive economy. It will continue to serve me and i hope it helps others.

Skateboarder's picture

Your words are wise my friend, (like fonestar's) - I certainly do not overlook the ease of transporting wealth digitally across borders so that thugs don't have anything to hassle you for. It leaves bile in my mouth as well. I also don't think widespread acceptance of virtual cryptocurrencies will take off; there are too many people living cash lives without powerful personal computers for it to ever take off. However, it does help folks like you make a quick buck and also move everything you own in an instant.

"I'm just an honest man trying to take my wealth with me."
"No you're not, you fucking terriss bastard. Gold is for terriss. *TAZE*"

I am not wealthy. In fact, I'm quite poor, but I feel like even 1 oz of gold or silver will guarantee me something after USD is no more. Good that you are trading in the green, but one day BTC will stop serving your need when it has been compromised in full. I hope you get all your digital wealth converted to physical by then. Can't say what the price of Au/Ag might be at that point. It's a crazy manipulated world.

Musashi Miyamoto's picture

You'd be surprised.

homeland security "sir were going to have to step over here you while we verify your passport."

Me: "whats wrong officer"

Them: "it appears to be recently issued a couple days ago"

Next thing you know i am handcuffed to a chair.

Me: "am i being detained?"

Them: "no you are not being detained we are in a secure area so we t just need to keep you safe."

they search my bag.

Them: "What are those" pointing to a dangle of usb thumb drives.

Me: "There some documents and IT software"

then they sit in front of a monitor and watch youtube videos for several hours while i am instructed to wait still handcuffed till they confirm with the consulate.

The next shift lets me go.

One was a Backtrack Live Disk. If they bothered plugging it in i would have been seriously fucked.

Skateboarder's picture

That is fucked. I wish you safe passage in your journeys Musashi, may probability work in your favor always.

Kina's picture

It would be nice if they made them out of gold......


AND there is nothing free about Singapore. Just try and buck any part of their internal systems and see what happens. Its a giant ant colony...unless you are an expat.


TacticalTrading's picture

Once BTC is widely accecpted by the porn industry.... That is when we will know it is here to stay


A year ago, no one had even heard of Bitcoin. It rockets from 100 to 1,000, and now people are talking about it. Most people don't really know anything about it. These answers tell us people have heard of it and are talking about it. 

With a total market cap of ~$12 Billion, where does it have to go before you put effort into understanding it the way you would want to understand a new deravitive contract or HFT order type?