Dash Thailand was launched and DAO funded in October and has been focusing on getting merchant and user integration by focusing on the tourism industry.

Dash Force News caught up with Dash Thailand to find out more about their venture and how they are increasing Dash adoption by users and merchants in Southeast Asia. Dash Thailand told DFN that they have been cryptocurrency, blockchain, and Dash enthusiasts for years, had already been working with other community building and educational blockchain groups before. They soon recognized the tourism sector in Thailand is a market opportunity for Dash since “the tourism and hospitality sector has a GDP of around 20% tourism (455 billion USD in 2017)”, and is expected to grow “4.1 per cent in 2018”.

It’s quite clear that Thailand represents another use case compared e.g. to hyperinflation countries. This is why we decided to put our initial focus on the travel and hospitality industry (e.g. restaurants, hotels, activities).

They have been working with their peers at the Dash Embassy D-A-CH to help get off the ground and get past hurdles, such as language barriers so they offer services both in English and Thai and sometimes offer services exclusively in Thai. They also are aware of cultural differences between locals and tourists and attempt to accommodate both parties.

Since October they have hosted 5 meetups, totaling 143 attendees, and got 8 merchants to accept Dash, according to the Dash Watch report. They also have 1,261 subscribers on Facebook and to 213 followers on the Dash Thailand Embassy Group on Telegram.

Utilizing meetups to enable adoption

Dash Thailand has been utilizing a multitude of different events to maximize added value for attendees and increase the chances of Dash adoption and repetitive usage. Their most popular event has become Dash Tuesdays where they “managed to attract a diverse crowd of relevant stakeholders: merchants and customers, locals, expats, tourists and investors”. During the event, they focus on “Cryptocurrency from high level to street level”, which “has gotten very positive feedback, esp. [their] hands-on approach to show and implement Dash as a valid payment option”. They also host “after-parties to [their] meetups and co-hosted Dash events with exclusive Dash payments such as board game competitions, parties and sports events have been a big success to drive user adoption and merchant happiness at the same time”.

The questions they get from consumers and merchants vary, such as “how to install Dash wallets to advanced questions of legal nature and integration into merchant’s existing POS and accounting systems”. They “even had one philosophical session on the future of DAOs followed by a very interactive discussion on governance in Blockchain”. The Dash Thailand team has adapted as needed to consumers’ demands by scheduling educational meetups as needed. For the legal questions, they hosted a “dedicated event ‘Cryptocurrency as Legal Tender in Thailand’ with guest speaker and lawyer Prungsak Chaowachart”.

Overall, the Dash Thailand team noticed that the most difficult part is ensuring that merchants continue to use Dash payments in their daily business since otherwise “it will be forgotten soon”. They drew an analogy to how many merchants claimed online to accept Bitcoin, but “once you go there and ask[ed], it turns out they don’t really accept it”. So the Dash Embassy team wants to solve this by retraining new employees and expanding their ambassador program faster than expected to “ensure ongoing support of on-boarded merchants to increase sustainability” in addition to driving new consumers to the merchants through meetups and advertising campaigns.

“The Dash Embassy Thailand wants to drive the growth of a healthy Dash ecosystem. We aim to increase customer and merchant adoption by a mix of approaches of educational, marketing, support & training and partnership efforts.”

Dash spreading throughout Southeast Asia

Dash is seeing increasing interest in Southeast Asia as more individuals recognize its potential for fast, inexpensive, and secure transactions. This can play a vital role for individuals traveling internationally or workers sending remittances. Dash is being integrated into the POS solution Slithex and the MBAex exchange to increase adoption, usability, and liquidity. Not exactly Southeast Asia, but Dash is seeing usage in the tourism industry by TravelbyBit in Australia, CheapAir.com, and More Stamps. Focusing on the tourism industry allows individuals to avoid costly exchange rate fees and hassling around with different denominations, which will simplify the process. It also stands to benefit merchants and employees by saving them money on fees for payment processing and possible remittances. Dash does not currently have massive adoption in Thailand, but it is making significant progress in a short period of time, which bodes well for future adoption and continued usage of Dash.