Interview with Felix Mago, Dash Thailand
I had the privilege to listen and shake hands with Felix Mago while attending the Next Block Asia 2.0 conference in Bangkok in December. Felix is Co-Founder of Dash NEXT & Dash Thailand. Dash is the leading cryptocurrency for real-life payments. Dash Next is focused on biz-dev and partnerships. Dash Thailand has established the first crypto payment ecosystem in Asia. Felix published the “Bitcoin Handbook” and is Co-Founder of FUTERIO and the Blocktech Institute. Felix’s focus is on the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies and decentralized businesses. Enjoy the read!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Thailand?
I have been in the Blockchain space since 2014 and, like most people in that space, fell into the rabbit hole. So many different projects happened since then. After working in Germany for a long time, I was lucky to find a great team in Thailand to start our consulting company FUTERIO. That was in early 2018. Since then, we also established one of the first crypto payment ecosystems in Asia, starting here in Thailand with Dash – digital cash. Anyone who comes here can now have a great holiday using Dash.
When did you first get involved with blockchain?
I started off writing a book on Bitcoin – the Bitcoin Handbook (only available in German). That was in 2014/15, in a time where it was very difficult to get information on Bitcoin or where to buy it from an exchange. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to know. This is why I decided: let’s write a book and take other people on this journey.
What’s your take on the crypto market these days?
I am happy to see the ecosystem maturing. I think we still have a long way to go for mass adoption. One reason is that things are still very complicated, and it is very easy to make mistakes. Also, we are still in a phase where most people get into cryptocurrencies for the speculation and trading aspect of it. In other words, I think we still didn’t reach that AOL or Netscape moment we had in the early 90s internet. But I am positive that during 2020 more projects will be able to drive usage and adoption. We with Dash are contributing to that big-time by giving people options to do something beyond trading.
What do you think about decentralization and “unbanking”?
I think Blockchain and cryptocurrencies will enable a new form of collaboration and work. Dash, the Dash DAO and their unique funding system is a great example. Everyone who has a great idea can ask for a budget. This essentially means that people in Dash are creating their own jobs, rather than applying with HR departments in corporations. In terms of decentralization of everything and banking the unbanked, I love the great ideas and developments in the Blockchain space. Yet, I think we are still far from an easy user experience, which is crucial to drive mass adoption or enable the average user to use alternative banking methods.
How does Dash differ from other projects? What are the benefits and use-cases?
Dash has a simple and straightforward use case – payments. Our approach is to drive mass adoption by partnering up with as many companies on all verticals – retail, travel, remittances, gaming, and so on. As payments are everywhere, essentially every vertical and industry is a great use case. On the other hand, we are trying to give our users a great experience, great options to buy stuff they want, and to increase incentives with many different ideas such as discounts or Dashback programs. I personally try to live as much from Dash as I can. For example, I am using travel sites that accept Dash and – most of the time – save money compared to booking on other non-crypto websites. With Dash evolution now coming soon, we will also make a big step towards usability with things like user names instead of crypto wallet addresses.
What about energy consumption?
This obviously remains an issue, and I am happy to see many new ideas coming out that are more efficient than PoW.
Who is using Dash today, and who do you see as the future consumers?
As described above, we are still in the early adoption phase of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Yet, the number of wallets and users are growing massively year by year. I would be happy to see more and more users are excited beyond the trading aspect. The Dash teams around the world are working hard to provide options to spend crypto in your daily life.
How far would you say the adoption has come as of today?
In Thailand, we have created this great, tourism-focused use case. With our main project, Dash NEXT, we are now focusing more on scaling partnerships around the world. I think it is vital to collaborate with other companies in the space. I already mentioned travel, where users can now book millions of hotels around the world with Dash. I think it’s wise for us to think global and act local – meaning we have to leverage on local opportunities. In the US, cannabis dispensaries are e.g., a great use case. In the Philippines, we are planning cooperation in the remittances sector.
Did the ICO hype and following bear market affect the Dash development in any way?
Obviously the bear market hit almost all projects. As the Dash value directly correlates with the monthly funds available, the operational budget for Dash as a whole was also tight. January 2020 brought significant relief. I am also happy that we were never an ICO and launched Dash way before ICOs were even invented. I wish everyone luck building a great Blockchain business, but I am highly skeptical that all of those 2017 hype projects will survive.
What is the Dash community like, and what are your preferred channels?
The main channel for internal Dash discussion is on Discord. But of course, you need to be on all relevant channels. I am happy to say that we have a great community and lots of followers on virtually all social media channels. One more great thing about the Dash community is that we are able to activate those channels not only for us but also for the partners we work with. We are happy to promote our partners on those and think that this brings great value to them and – in return – to us. Please reach out to me if you want to learn more.