Where to use bitcoin in Asia

Bitcoin in pocket

Inspired by Alexandra Talty’s excellent The Top 10 Bitcoin Cities in the World piece in Forbes, which looked at cities with the most bitcoin shops and businesses, I looked at doing the same in Asia.

Alexandra’s research showed that the leading 10 locations globally for bitcoin businesses were in Europe and the United States, followed by South America. There was no room in the top 10 for Asia, home to some of the world’s leading financial centres and fastest growing economies.

I used the same tool mentioned in the article, Coinmap, created by SatoshiLabs in the Czech Republic, to display ATMs, cafe, restaurants and other vendors in the form of a heatmap. The results were a little surprising.

The map clearly shows a concentration of services in East Asia, led by Korea, Japan and Taiwan, but bitcoin businesses are also clustered around digital nomad hotspots. Lit up heavily in red are Phuket and Krabi in Thailand, and Bali. Drilling deeper reveals hotels, bars, shops and transport companies, all taking bitcoin.

So yes, the big cities are there, but so are Asia’s holiday hotspots, or those locations traditionally associated with tourism.

It suggests that if you’re a digital nomad, or travelling widely within Asia, you could do worse than carry a few bitcoins in your pocket (virtually of course), which can of course be used irrespective of location.

Bitcoin venues in Asia, generated by Coinmap

However, we might not be seeing the full picture. As Alexandra also pointed out in her article, Coinmap relies on crowdsourcing – so there will almost certainly be gaps in places. There are also regulatory pressures – for example the currency in China.

Flight Network names World’s Best Journeys List for 2018

Road trip

As we head into summer (or winter, depending on your hemisphere), we can allow ourselves a respite from the usual to recharge body and soul.

They say that travel broadens the mind, and the most rewarding travel in my experience is through the trips themselves – hiking, biking, road trips, and boat rides, and whatever else that takes your fancy to get from A to B.

It’s one reason why digital nomads do what they do; you can either work from an office, or mix things up a little and do what you have to do while island-hopping across the Andaman.

Of course, some trips are better than others – anti-clockwise on the M25 isn’t the most inspiring journey in the world – which is why the FlightNetwork and more than 500 travel journalists, agencies, bloggers and editors came together to create the World’s Best Journeys list for 2018.

I consider myself a reasonably well-travelled person, but looking at the list of 50 journeys from around the world, I have a lot of catching up to do. Cruise to Alaska, yep – done that, and it’s a hai to the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo, but I have only completed bits and pieces from the others listed.

It’s tempting to say these are timeless trips. They are not. The world is changing quickly, and destinations such as Greenland, Alaska, Antarctica and Mont Blanc will not be the same with ice in retreat. Better to travel sooner rather than later – other things in life can wait.

Here are FlightNetwork‘s top 20:

  1. Expedition to Antarctica
  2. Cruise the Galapagos Islands
  3. Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway
  4. Trek to Machu Picchu
  5. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway
  6. Drive Iceland’s Ring Road
  7. Cruise to Alaska
  8. Camino de Santiago
  9. Sail the Greek Islands
  10. Drive the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia
  11. Road Trip on Route 66
  12. Fjord Cruise in Norway
  13. Amazon River Cruise
  14. Explore the Italian Countryside
  15. Travel the Silk Road
  16. Drive the Amalfi Coast
  17. French Polynesia Coast
  18. Safari in Kruger National Park
  19. Drive the Great Ocean Road
  20. Hike along Cinque Terre

As for my own favourite journeys, it’s the usual smorgasbord of landscapes and experiences that were more personal than anything.

They included the road trip from Madrid to Almeria when I was a 20 year old student, joining others in drinking red wine as olive groves led to high mountain sierra; driving through the ember-hued Scottish Highlands during twilight having just scaled Ben Nevis; and seeing the jungle-clad Perhentian islands come into view as my buttocks collided repeatedly with the speedboat; among others.

FlightNetwork‘s list of top 50 journeys, that includes galleries and info on how to get to destinations (at the end of the day, FlightNetwork is an online travel agency), can be seen here.

Guest post: How to determine the success of collective workspaces

Two people meeting around a MacBook Pro

Coworking spaces are all the rage, from Bangkok to Bali. But before you start the next digital nomad hotspot, how do you measure their success? Rae Steinbach provides an answer in this guest post.

Coworking spaces are increasing in popularity. Once the domain of small startups and entrepreneurs, major companies like Verizon and IBM are now experimenting with this office layout.

Measuring the performance of these spaces requires an approach that matches their uniqueness. You can’t rely on the same KPIs that you would when measuring the performance of a typical office. Similarly, using traditional enterprise performance management systems will be relatively ineffective in a coworking space. You need to modify your approach to fit this new setting.

To leverage a coworking space to its full potential, apply the following KPIs. They’ll provide you with a clearer understanding of how a space is performing, and what you can do to address potential weaknesses.

Focus on Workstations

In coworking spaces, you don’t want to focus simply on the cost per person. Instead, you should measure the performance of dedicated workstations. Keep track of their usage throughout the day. Specifically, focus on the following KPIs:

  • Daily Peak Utilisation – The highest number of people using a dedicated workstation at the same time on an average day.
  • Daily Peak Utilisation by Business Unit – The maximum number of people from specific business units using a space each day. This makes it easier to determine which companies take advantage of a space in the most efficient way possible.
  • Frequency of Peaks – How often over the course of a month the workstation reaches its monthly peak. By identifying trends, you can better predict how, when, and why certain individuals and groups use a space.

Track Collaborative Uses

There are several different types of spaces within a coworking office. Some merely consist of individual desks. Others include conference rooms and dedicated workstations. These areas allow larger groups to work together on projects.

Understanding how often people and business units take advantage of these collaborative spaces will help you better understand their value. If the collaborative areas appear to be in high demand, you may want to improve the office by making more available. On the other hand, if they’re not being used often, some might be more effective as areas for individuals to work.

These KPIs are relatively easy to track. Every month, review how many times conference rooms were booked. You should also keep track of collaborative workspace usage. If your coworking space offers communication tools, like video-conferencing rooms, find out how often they’re employed as well.

This information will let you know whether your coworking space is more attractive to individuals and small groups or larger teams.

Monitor Tenant Churn

According to a recent survey, 75% of teams using coworking spaces indicate they are likely to continue using the same space for at least another year. That’s an encouraging statistic. Reducing tenant churn should be a key goal of anyone operating a coworking space; the less time spent trying to attract new tenants, the better.

That said, while the 75% average may be impressive, there’s always room for improvement. Tracking the right KPIs will help you identify what steps you can take to further reduce tenant churn. The following are key metrics worth paying attention to:

  • Number of new members per month
  • Member Retention Rate – Percentage of members who renew each month
  • Conversions and Average Member Lifespan per Marketing Channel – Which marketing channel is most effective at getting a tenant to sign up for a space? Which marketing channel boasts the highest average member lifespan?
  • Cost of Acquisition per Marketing Channel – How much it costs to acquire a new tenant per each marketing medium

These KPIs give you a clear view of how successful your marketing efforts are at attracting new tenants. You can use insights gleaned from them to devote your resources to the most effective channels.

Pay attention if your member retention rate drops below 75%. If you’re falling below the average, it means you need to take steps to ensure the coworking space better serves your customers. Along with measuring KPIs, you could simply distribute regular surveys to your customers. Ask them what you can do to improve the space. Their feedback will make it easier to plan an effective strategy and make adjustments to the environment.

Planning Ahead

Recent statistics indicate that the percentage of coworking spaces that make a profit is steadily increasing, while the percentage of coworking spaces that lose money is dropping noticeably. As more and more organizations embrace the collaborative benefits these spaces offer, they’re likely to become even more profitable.

That’s why it’s necessary to track certain KPIs regularly. You need to know how your space is being used in order to maximize your revenue. That said, with major companies giving coworking spaces a try, it’s also important to anticipate how future tenants will use them.

The needs of your current tenants may shift as you attract larger businesses. Monitor KPIs vigilantly, and you’ll be prepared to make the necessary changes to accommodate new clients when they arrive.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.