Koji has been committed to the Bitcoin space since 2014 and has a variety of experience in wallet development, tokenized digital collectibles, content creation, market research and community work. His current personal interest is in data aggregation and analysis about Bitcoin to visualize the level of Bitcoin adoption and regional differences.

Q1: Dear Koji – you are one of the speakers at the upcoming 5 Years anniversary event of the local Bitcoin Saigon Community. When did you first time hear about Bitcoin and why did you get interested into it in the first place?

I first heard about Bitcoin right around the Mt.Gox incident which took place in Japan. The local media basically portrayed it as some kind of a scam but the concept of non-governmental, center-less currency caught my attention.

I studied microeconomics and public goods in college, so my initial impression on Bitcoin is a new digital public good sustained by competition and profit maximization, and that sounded very interesting from an intellectual standpoint as well.

Then after a bit of research, it suddenly clicked on me and I’ve gone down the rabbit hole ever since.

Q2: Looking back over the past 5 years – what surprised you most positively, what most negatively in the past half decade of Bitcoin history?

Positive surprises:

1. How far Bitcoin has come already considering all the misunderstanding, scam accusations, and disinterest. For the most parts of the world, there was no Bitcoin industry 5 years ago, few companies, no decent jobs, users, but there are much more people involved and more attention to the space now.

2. Price. Theoretically, some people predicted the current price level (10k USD), but 5 years ago, there was still a lot of doubt even among enthusiasts.

Negative surprises:

1. Popularity of enterprise and centralized blockchains

Although private, centralized “blockchain” technologies apart from Bitcoin and other similar public blockchains might have some merits in certain situations, the attention to more centralized approaches contradicts the original purpose of Bitcoin.

Recently, the Chinese government announced its focus on “blockchain” technology and mainstream media and companies seem to be more enthusiastic about this or something like Libra. It’s understandable but I didn’t really expect people would go this far and the word “blokchain” would turn into something centralized or have nothing to do with Bitcoin.

2. ICOs, scams

2017 was a massive year for Bitcoin but it was more of the year for ICOs and scams. It was obvious what was happening and lots of people were pushing garbage tokens to uninformed investors. The scale of this and the ignorance was pretty surprising and disappointing to be honest 😅

Bitcoin Saigon 5 Years - Interview with Koji Higashi of Coin & Peace
Bitcoin Saigon 5 Years – Interview with Koji Higashi of Coin & Peace.

Q3: What can listeners expect to learn from your talk at the 5 Year anniversary event?

I am going to talk about essential data and media literacy in the space. There are more and more people interested in the space but I’d imagine it’s very difficult for them to distill all the inaccurate or misleading articles and data. As a result, many people are led to believe in something that’s not true or often make bad investment and business decisions.

I will introduce notable cases where you have to be careful about data accuracy and explain what we can do to mitigate the issue and to be better-informed in the space.

Q4: Where do you see Bitcoin, the communities and its general impact on society going within the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, I’d expect

1. Technical improvement and maturity. Lightning Network will be more usable and accessible 5 years from now and there will be more merchants and business that accept Bitcoin payment as a result. It won’t be ubiquitous just yet but we’ll see 10s of thousands of business that accept Bitcoin. The number of users should also triple or quadrapule.

However, the direct impact on society would be still limited in my estimation. That will take another 5 years and only then we’ll see massive change in society, business and user behavior as Bitcoin enables a paradigm shift in society.

2. Bitcoin vs centralized blockchains

The next few years will also see growth of more centralized blockchain technology like PBoC coin or Libra. They are entirely different from Bitcoin’s value proposition but that’s the direction many governments and corporations desire to go. Those centralized blockchains might have bigger social impact(good or bad) before Bitcoin does as it allows centralized parties to have more control.

Koji will be speaking at the Bitcoin Saigon anniversary event on the 29th of November about the Importance of data and media literacy in the Crypto World – you can grab your tickets here!

5 Years Bitcoin Saigon