This practical use of Bitcoin, and its underlying technology, the blockchain, is just one example of how Australian entrepreneurship has managed to emerge relatively unscathed from the violence of the bitcoin bubble crash which has left many investors licking their wounds.
Following the eye-watering price highs of $25,000 at the end of 2017, headlines gleefully lauded the end of cryptocurrency as it sank below $5000, and saw thousands of investors wiped out.
But despite the grief speculative investors felt at the cryptocurrency price collapse, some argue it was a necessary development which has sorted the genuinely innovative businesses from the pump-and-dump schemes.
“The crypto winter has allowed the weeds to die off and good projects to get a bit more attention,” Yeoh says.
Many companies which raised funds through ICOs have found it difficult to deliver on promises in a short amount of time.
— Asher Tan, CEO, CoinJar
He recently rolled out the TravelbyBit units at Brisbane Airport and has built a travel booking platform for hotels and flights. “We’ve seen a fair few blockchain companies come and go, and I think it comes back to the core purpose and what those companies stood for in the first place.”
The ICO slowdown
The mania surrounding Bitcoin and its meteoric rise certainly prompted a wave of unsubstantiated enterprise.
The lack of understanding and guidance around initial coin offerings – a mechanism by which people raised money by issuing crypto-tokens – meant money was changing hands at an incredible rate.
To date, there are around 5400 token projects, which have raised an estimated $US25 billion altogether, according to ICO Bench, a research firm. The average project managed to secure funding of over $US15 million.
Australia has punched well above its weight, becoming the fifth most eager market for ICOs, raising over $US207 million between 2017 and 2018.