Yusho Liu is the Co-founder of Coinhako, a startup that provides Bitcoin wallet service for consumers to buy, sell and secure their Bitcoins. He shares his aspiration to bring Bitcoin and other digital assets to mainstream consumers in Asia.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I’m the co-founder of Coinhako, one of the earliest blockchain companies in Singapore. I started the company together with my army buddy straight out of NTU. It’s been a roller coaster ride of almost 3 years, but still loving it. Today, I’m proud to say Coinhako is the largest wallet service in Singapore & Malaysia.
What is your business venture about?
Coinhako is the easiest way for anybody to get started with digital assets. When people ask me how easy it is, I tell them that our oldest user is close to 70yrs old! We allow users to store, send and receive digital assets like Ethereum and Bitcoin on our platform.
What is your mission at the outset?
To make digital assets easy and accessible across the region, and we are getting there.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Our idea came from having to fix a problem. Back in 2013, my co-founder and I had a hard time looking for outlets to buy bitcoin in Singapore. Each outlet had their own set of issues (including premium pricing, low liquidity, poor UX), so we decided to try fix them all by building Coinhako.
What is unique about your business?
Bitcoin wasn’t, and still isn’t an easy topic to grasp. At Coinhako, we take out the technicalities out of the equation by giving users a clean, simple interface on the front, while maintaining the integrity and security of the platform.
Who do you sell to and how do you get customers?
Our customers are mainly consumers based in the countries we operate in, we also take on corporate customers who use us as an easy on/off ramp point. Coinhako’s user growth is mostly organic for both Singapore and Malaysia. Besides our simple user interface and support efficiency, we offer a much lower service fee compared to other services.
Why will customers stay or do repeat business with you?
I think customers are price sensitive when it comes to purchasing goods, and the same applies to purchasing digital assets. After 3 years, I believe Coinhako is also the local brand trusted by Singaporeans.
What have been the biggest obstacles?
Funding will always be the key survival factor for startups, especially so for the ones founded by fresh graduates. Coinhako’s biggest obstacle was back in 2013 when I had no money nor work experience, just conviction that Bitcoin will someday transform the world. We sent many emails to VCs back then, but i guess most went straight into the thrash. It left us with no choice but to email silicon valley investors since bitcoin was still nascent. In short, we got accepted into Boost.vc, a future tech focused incubator, and we are still thankful till today that they gave us a shot.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Being an entrepreneur is not constant fun. So take time to pick your partner before you take the plunge. Also, there’s no such term as a part-time entrepreneur!
Do you have any final thoughts?
It is never too late to own a piece of the future. This is only the beginning of the digital asset revolution.
What’s next for you and for Coinhako?
Coinhako aims to support 5 more digital assets and currencies by the end of this year. We also have a few major announcements lined up. So stay tuned!
Hock Lai has 18 years of experience in the financial industry, having performed roles in both business and technology. He graduated from the National University of Singapore (Real Estate), Nanyang Technological University (Infocomm Technology) and Nanyang Polytechnic (Fund Management & Administration).
He is also a Fellow of the Singapore University of Social Science, advisor to FinTech Startups and mentor to student FinTech projects.
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